First versus Second Pregnancy

I know that this is a bit clichéd and everyone laughs at the differences between your first and subsequent pregnancies. But, now that I’m at the end of this pregnancy, I feel like I can actually draw some conclusions about what has been the same and what has been different between my two pregnancies. So you’ll just have to suffer through another first versus second pregnancy post!

On the idea of miscarriage:
First: I knew that it was a scary possibility but the idea of losing a baby was very nebulous to me.
Second: The thought of losing a baby was 100 times more terrifying to me this go round. I feel like since I’ve had a child, the thought of losing one was more real and frightening.
~This may not be the case with everyone and I’m certainly not discounting the pain of losing a pregnancy before you have a child at home. We went through an ectopic pregnancy before the Littlest Brewster and it was hard. But for some reason, I was way more scared of miscarriage this pregnancy than I was during my pregnancy with LB which I found surprising.

On the taboos of pregnancy:
First: I was all, “OMG, I can’t have sushi or a sip of wine or lunch meat or caffeine AT ALL!!!!”
Second: I was all, “Bring it on! My OB says it’s fine in moderation and from reputable sources!” And anyone who thinks that they can simultaneously grow a baby and raise a toddler without morning coffee is out of their ever-lovin’ mind.
~ I’m not saying I went crazy and ate gas station tuna rolls while swigging a Bud Lite. But once I reached about 16 weeks or so, I had a half a glass of beer or wine about twice a week. And while I switched to the low-mercury, terrible tasting chunk light tuna versus the delicious, high-mercury albacore, I never gave up my salmon nigiri. I did cut down to just one (fairly large) cup of coffee in the morning, which is remarkable restraint if you knew just how much I love my coffee.

On the bump:
First: “I’m 16 weeks- you can totally tell I’m pregnant, right?” as I tried to wear maternity clothes that I probably didn’t need to bust out for another 12 weeks.
Second: “I’m 16 weeks – I don’t look pregnant, right?” as I tried in vain to wear my normal clothes despite having needed maternity ones for at least 4 weeks.
~ It’s so true that you start to show sooner with subsequent pregnancies. I figure that if I ever have another child, I’ll have to bust out the maternity wear as soon as I get my BFP.

On analyzing your pregnancy:
First: Every single symptom, twitch, and stretch mark was researched ad nauseam and debated and reported to the DreadBrewer, my friends, my mom, my sister, and my pregnancy journal. I could (and wanted to) talk and think about my pregnancy all the time.
Second: For the most part, if something out of the ordinary happened, I was pretty calm and certain it had happened before. I can still discuss my pregnancy in great detail and with great relish, but now I a) know that not everyone is as interested in hearing about my pregnancy symptoms as I am and b) no longer have as much free time in which to analyze and discuss said pregnancy. The kid that’s already here demands crazy things like food and love and actual parenting.

On being tired:
First: “I had a really hard, long day today and I’m tired. I think I’ll just put my feet up when I get home. Maybe I’ll take a long hot bath and go to bed early.”
Second: “I had a really hard, long day today and I’m tired. I’d love to put my feet up. Maybe after the Littlest Brewster is fed and bathed and put to bed herself and I get lunches ready for school tomorrow and try to help DB stay on top of the laundry and I manage to eat something myself, I can relax for 10 minutes before collapsing from exhaustion.”
~ I can’t even begin to really describe how much more tired I was this pregnancy. It boggled my mind. The thought of finding the energy to go through another pregnancy with two small children to take care of is enough to make me ask for an IUD to be inserted in the hospital.

On Getting Ready for Baby:
First: We had the nursery completely set up by 20 weeks. I spent hours analyzing which bedding set to buy and debating traditional versus breathable versus no bumpers. My hospital bag was packed and waiting at the start of my third trimester and contained such necessary items as make up and matching outfits. The car seat was in the car for a good four or five weeks before I ever went into labor.
Second: We finally unpacked a box of size 1 Pampers and washed some onesies around 35 weeks. The “nursery” is LB’s old crib stuck in the bonus room with her old sheets; there is no decor to speak of, as a) the baby doesn’t give a shit if he or she is sleeping on polka dot versus stripe sheets and b) I have more important things to spend money on? Like more diapers. My hospital bag, which I just recently packed, contains such essentials as snacks, snacks, and more snacks. ‘Cuz I was starving last hospital stay and those little packages of graham crackers don’t cut it. Oh, and I threw in some pajama pants and a tank top or two. We got the infant car seat in my car recently but haven’t made a move to get the DreadBrewer’s car ready to accommodate a little one. I figure as long as we have somewhere for the kid to sleep and some diapers, we’re doing just fine.

On My Ideas About Labor:
First: “I am going to have an all natural, med-free birth. It is going to be amazing. I’ve done a ton of research so I am prepared, unlike those weak willed women how get morphine or nubain at the first sign of a contraction. I’ll breast feed immediately, which is going to be amazing and will start us happily down the road to exclusive breast feeding.”
Second: “I am going to try my damnedest to have an all natural, med-free birth. I am going to try to breast feed. But having been through this before, I will be happy as long as I get to take my baby home with me.”
~Seriously though, for never having birthed a baby, I had an awful lot of opinions on what I did and did not want to happen during the Littlest Brewster’s birth and immediately after. I did end up with an epidural despite all my preparation and zen thoughts (I’ll post her birth story sometime soon, I swear), which made me feel like a failure for a long time. And breast feeding didn’t go exactly according to plan. (Which is another post I need to work on, but I think I’ll wait and see how it goes with this kid first.) But LB’s birth made me realize that the best you can do is try your best and be grateful when things work out anyway.

On Some Things That Have Been The Same:
~Both pregnancies I filled out the What To Expect Pregnancy Journal for posterity. It was harder to keep up with this time, but I know it will be a nice keepsake for the kids and I didn’t want LB to be the only one who had one.
~Symptom-wise, both pregnancies have been almost exactly the same. I had 2 weeks of mild nausea with this one versus 2 days with the last one (and yes, I know that’s super obnoxious to my poor friends who suffered with nausea for months) – but other than that, exactly the same.
~Both pregnancies I tried really, really hard not to be a pregnant princess. The women who use pregnancy as an excuse to get out of everything drive me crazy. And both times I got to the end of pregnancy and was like, “Damn! I should have played the pregnancy card more while I had the chance!!!”

What about you? I know most of you have more than one kid – what was the biggest difference between your first and second (or third or fourth) pregnancy?

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