Nothing more clearly illustrates the fact that no two pregnancies are alike than comparing my second to my first pregnancy. The two gestation periods have been such contrasting experiences.
The Stats at 36 Weeks
Right now, I am 36 weeks pregnant with my second child (dubbed “Sprout”). That means I’ve got 3-6 weeks until this baby arrives, although one could argue that labor and delivery could happen any time now. Seriously. We are in “go time”.
From yesterday’s regular prenatal appointment:
Weight: 155 lbs
My bp: 100/68
Height of fundus: 35 cm
Circumference of waist: 37”
Fetal heart rate: 130
You may not think this should matter so much, which season a woman becomes pregnant, but it has made a huge difference in my experiences. Angel Baby was born in July, meaning I found out I was pregnant the previous October. During those early months of extreme exhaustion, it was winter when I spent most of my time indoors. I was at my biggest with her right before true Summer hit here in the Midwest. For some reason or another, not once during my 40 weeks of pregnancy with Angel Baby did I suffer from any of my usual allergies. In fact, I was the healthiest I’ve ever been in my whole life. It was fabulous.
We learned we were pregnant with Sprout in February of this year. The months of extreme exhaustion: yeah, during Spring when I like to deep clean the house and do some major yardwork before Nature starts getting serious. My allergies: They’ve been HELL. Here I am at my most pregnant, right smack in the middle of harvest season. Have I mentioned we live in rural Indiana? What about the fact that we’re about a half-mile downhill from a major co-op and surrounded by corn and bean fields?
I’m telling you, what seasons you experience your trimesters during really alters the experience.
- Beginning Weight and Other Measurements
Oh, my goodness, this is a big one. I weighed 10 lbs more when I found out I was pregnant with Angel Baby than I did when I found out I was pregnant with Sprout. At the mid-way point, the 20-week ultrasound, I was 142 lbs the first pregnancy and 133 lbs the second one. Now I’m almost 20 lbs less at 36 weeks with Sprout than I was with Angel Baby.
Yet I’m bigger! I’m not kidding. My blood pressure is roughly the same, the height of the fundus is 2 cm less, the fetal heart rate is almost 20 bpm less, and yet I can’t fit the same maternity clothes I was wearing at this stage last time. The belly is just BIGGER. (I haven’t consistently measured my circumference during either pregnancy but I’m roughly 4” more around this time than last time.)
The shirt I was wearing the morning Angel Baby was born? I packed that away weeks ago when it no longer covered my belly.
W. T. F. This has been CRAZY this time. I had some weepy moments and some panicky ones during my last pregnancy. I never really had weird food cravings (or any, come to think of it). There were the weird-ass dreams during the first trimester and the scary ones during the last trimester*. But overall, I was on an even keel, enjoying my vitality and the growing life within me.
This time? THIS TIME?! Dear God, I don’t know where to start. Let’s just sum it up in two words: Prenatal Depression. I shit you not, I still have “PMS” or it’s equivalent. About every 28-32 days, I go through some immense emotions that make me a raging psychotic for 3-5 days. Looking back through texts to friends and notes I made for myself, I can see a pattern of where I treated the BHE like shit. Where I blew up over and over. Where I was uncontrollably crying or had a terrible day with Angel Baby or questioned why I was married or why I was pregnant. Where I thought I could no longer be a decent human and was a shitty SAHM so started actually job-hunting. Yeah. I was looking for a job at 7 months pregnant while a SAHM with a sweet toddler. Wtf is wrong with me.
I honest-to-God have had temper tantrums this pregnancy, about once a month. To all and every one of you , my family and friends, I am sorry. I will blame the hormones as a trigger but I accept full responsibility for not handling those hormones like an intelligent adult. I am sorry. I love you.
My first pregnancy: anything and everything but preferably fruit. And at all times. I was always hungry. I was always prepared with some food on me. I loved fruit: dried, frozen, smoothies, juice, fresh, in pie. I had a horrible aversion to meat the entire pregnancy.
My second pregnancy: I’m rarely “hungry” and would prefer junk food when I am hungry. My desires for chocolate, pop, chips, fauxmage (fake cheese, ie American slices), lunchmeat, and pizza.
5. Overall Feeling
Like I said above, I really felt wonderful when pregnant with Angel Baby. It was the best I’d ever felt. I was energetic (minus those exhaustion waves during the first trimester), I had lush hair and dewy skin, I felt like I could do anything and be anywhere, I was alive and loving it. This time? I feel like crap. I’m always tired, I’m always dumpy, I am not enjoying a good portion of Sprout’s kicks and jumps, I walked hunched a lot because my back, hips, knees, and feet hurt. What gives?
I was never “sick” with Angel Baby yet I spent a good portion of the first half of Sprout’s pregnancy feeling nauseated. Yet I never got the satisfaction of vomiting. You know what I’m talking about, right? Where you feel so evilly ill that you want to vomit but don’t and then you feel even worse.
Angel Baby’s kicks were a miracle and made me smile. Sprout likes to pound against the inside of my nether region until I must lay down in the fetal position to achieve relief. My goodness, what next, little babe?
Misery Loves Company
All this negativity is not to say I am upset that I’m pregnant or “over it” or even thinking that this may be the last time I get pregnant. All I am saying here is that my two pregnancies have been vastly different experiences. Has this been the most pleasant 9 or so months of my life? No, not really. Do I regret getting pregnant or wish for this to be over now? No, not at all. I’m happy I’m pregnant. I have joy that we’ve created another life and will be soon welcoming Sprout into the world.
I know the majority of the negative feelings are really my mind poorly handling the hormones and bodily changes. I know that I need to get my head back on my thoughtfully sought path rather than letting the bad run rampant over me. I know this is an uphill struggle, this portion of my path, and that I must work diligently to make sure it does not adversely affect the months following my second child’s birth.
What I need is my village. Misery loves company… to come pick it up, dust it off, and remind it that it is actually joy that’s been crumpled and tossed in the trash. Much love and thanks to those who have been with me on this bumpy part of my path, whether just as an ear or as some serious uplifting advice. I’m counting on my whole village to keep reminding me to look up at what is light and what is ahead.
*If you are new to pregnancy or haven’t come across this before, yes, the dreams are effed up. The types of dreams I have had during each pregnancy are similar. The first trimester ones are so filthy and erotic that I woke up blushing. The third trimester ones are the kind of shit people don’t like to talk about unless it was some awful scene in a horrible movie. For instance, I had a lot of dismembered baby dreams last time and a few horribly realistic ones where I had a stillbirth. This time includes a lot of zombies and things that fly that shouldn’t fly. Oh, and ones where the only person I can reach when I go into labor is my mother. *shudder*