My first pregnancy was pretty perfect. I was 31. We were in a very stable, happy place in our lives, careers and marriage. In fact, she was conceived on our fifth wedding anniversary trip. We were planning to have children, so it was no giant surprise when we came home with a little unexpected surprise.
I basked in every single second of my pregnancy. I didn’t show until I was almost eight months, and not very much. I could still sleep on my stomach and paint my toenails and shave my legs. Morning sickness wasn’t too bad. Mostly I was tired and when I was tired, I’d nap. Everyone was very compliant. It was my first baby. She was due in March, so in January, I quit my job.
I was tired and the nap times were more and more necessary. I’d relax and put my feet up. Before bedtime, I’d read to my husband from the pregnancy calendar and then we’d spend an hour listening to her heartbeat on the Doppler and talking to my belly. I loved being pregnant. Giving birth, however, was something else entirely. She was born and life was good.
She was an amazing baby. No colic. Slept through the night from the beginning, except for those few days when my milk hadn’t dropped and she was starving. But aside from that, she slept all night long and rarely cried. We loved being parents and I spent my days fawning over her and snapping photos. I was happier than I had ever been. Life was good and steady. It was easy and comfortable. Then, we decided to have a second baby.
Conception was a breeze. I knew when I was ovulating. Our first baby was 18 months old. It was time. A couple of weeks later, we had a positive pregnancy test. A couple of weeks after that, the morning sickness began. I had an excruciating case of hyperemesis gravidarum. I thought I was going to die and it lasted until the sixth month of pregnancy. I was afraid to take any drugs, so I suffered. The only thing that slightly helped was seasick bands. I looked ridiculous, but it didn’t matter.
There was no time to bask in the glory of my pregnancy. No time to lie down and rest when I was exhausted. No time to read the pregnancy calendar to my husband, no nightly Doppler time. Now, we had an almost 2-year-old who was walking and talking and getting into everything she could. It was a 24-hour a day job just to make sure that she didn’t get hurt. If she wasn’t jumping off of the sofa, playing trampoline on the bed or trying to scale the bookshelves, she was figuring out how to un-baby proof the entire house. She had turned from simple, quiet ease into an adorable, energetic mischief. Her favorite thing to do was run off when we tried to get her into the car.
When I was nine months pregnant, she decided to run off down the road towards the street and I had to chase her. It must have looked hysterical but I felt like I was going to die, bolting down the road with my belly in tow. After that, I bought a leash for my kid – one more thing I said that I’d never do. One kid is like one, buttwo kids were going to be like ten. I needed provisions put into place before birth.
The labor was three hours longer the second time around and the baby was bigger. Pushing was longer because the bigger baby got stuck. The recovery time was shorter because I had a 2-year-old who could not understand why I was at the hospital, so I came home within 24-hours of giving birth and I haven’t had a full nights’ sleep since.
I adore having my two daughters who are two years and two months apart but the two experiences were certainly different – just like both children are completely opposite. I love them both equally and my pregnancies were both special to me, but I remember the details of the first one a lot more clearly than the second one because it was peppered with the terrible twos.
How were your pregnancies different from one another?