Slowing down for the second pregnancy

If you have been following along, or are within 100 miles of my mother, you’ve probably heard we’re expecting a boy this time around. I’m officially 18 weeks along and, it has felt like the longest 18 weeks of my life. For some reason, with Abby, it felt like pregnancy rushed by (except for the last month which lasted a year on it’s own), but this time around, everything is painfully slow. Maybe it’s because I already know what to expect at the end of this marathon, or maybe it’s because motherhood has made me even more impatient, or, more likely it’s because I honestly cannot remember what milestone I’m supposed to be at and I’m constantly worried that I’m missing something. That last one sounds more like me.

With Abby, I checked the calendar constantly, counting down to my next appointment. I looked forward to Wednesdays because it meant I got an alert for the new week – what size fruit was she this week, what was developing, what mommy may be experiencing. This time, I honestly have no idea what is happening. I almost missed my last doctor’s appointment because I put it in for the wrong week in my phone. It’s times like this that I’m so happy for automatic reminders from my doctor’s office. Those must have been built with second-time moms in mind. And then, at my last appointment, my doctor asked how my AFP screening went earlier. Zero idea what she was talking about. Apparently, I was supposed to get blood drawn before my appointment. And, obviously, that didn’t happen. And when I went to reschedule that, the sweet receptionist attempted to comfort me by saying it was a newer screening so of course I wouldn’t remember it from the last time, as I probably didn’t have it. And of course, then she remembers my daughter isn’t even two years old yet, so I definitely had it with her.

And none of this is because I don’t care about this baby or this pregnancy. Quite the opposite, actually. I’m constantly thinking about this baby, just in many different ways. With Abby, I thought about what was developing this week, when would she start to hear and recognize my voice, what color eyes she would have, and how painful labor would be. This time around, I think about how will we afford a second baby, what impact will this have on Abby, will they get along, and how will I explain to Abby that mommy cannot play right now as she has to take care of her brother. And, this time around, I worry more about the baby’s health and well-being. I’m older now, if only by two years. But for Abby, we were trying desperately to conceiver her. I changed my diet, I worked out everyday, and I focused on my mental health as much as possible. This time, we were lucky to have this unexpected surprise. I expected another painful year of negative tests and tears once we officially started trying for another child, along with the preparations for this baby. For this to happen so quickly, I was thrilled but also anxious. I didn’t have time to plan, to get my health back on track, to focus on clearing my mind from the negative space. And, I worry if all of this will effect my baby’s development.

And then I sit here, starting my 18th week (thank you to my husband for doing the math in his head as I had no clue what week we were in), wondering what this little baby boy is doing in there. Is he happy? Is he comfortable? Will I feel him kick soon? Should I have already felt that? When did I feel that with Abby? And the questions go on and on. And as I glance over at Abby playing with her blocks desperately trying to build the tallest tower and constantly bumping into it causing it to collapse and her to exclaim “oh no” as she begins to rebuild for the fifth time, I wonder if that little girl has any idea what is in store for her. Soon she’ll be sharing toys, her time with blocks, and her mommy and daddy with a stranger. Will she understand? Will she resent us? Will she love him? And, out of nowhere, she rushes over to me, hugs my belly and says “baby.” Maybe on some level she does understand that life is about to change entirely for each of us, but she doesn’t seem to let that bother her. She isn’t worried about tomorrow, the way things will change, or the new adventure ahead of us. She is only focused on rebuilding her tower, over and over again. And when her masterpiece falls apart, she only worries for an instant before starting again to build something even better. And maybe she’s oblivious to everything. Honestly, that is probably more likely, but I do hope I can learn from this tower building business and learn that everything may fall apart but there is always the opportunity to build it back up even stronger.

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned from all of this is to adjust. In some ways, having this pregnancy feel slower has given me the opportunity to pause. We only have a few months left as a family of three and while these memories may not forever stick within Abby’s mind, I’d like to make as many as possible and soak them until my brain is overloaded with her giggles and her smile versus my anxiety and fear. I find myself not opening any of the baby books or searching on the internet for answers to these pregnancy concerns, but instead playing dinosaur with Abby or sitting down to dinner without the distraction of my email alerting me that I have yet another unread alert from one of the many baby apps I redownloaded. And maybe soon I’ll stop worrying completely about how this addition will drastically impact our current routine but instead focusing on how our baby boy will add to the memories. Another dinosaur to run around the house. A longer bedtime story snuggled in the oversized chair. Another hug at daycare during pickup time. Life is going to get messier and more complicated, I know that. But, hopefully I learn that those messes and obstacles are what will make each moment worth it in the end.