I have a friend with two children, a daughter and a son. When I visited her after her son was born I asked her, “How were the two pregnancies? Was it very different?” and she replied, “They were exactly the same. Exactly!” Since the inception of this blog I’ve talked to A LOT of women before, during, and after their pregnancy. Very few women have the same experience with every pregnancy. Many of them describe a great difference between the different sexes of their babies: a girl was one way and a boy was another way. Some women describe a big difference from the first and the second even if the sex of the babies was the same. With such a variety of experiences it was impossible to know what to expect going into my second pregnancy. Nevertheless, I did think that having already done this once I would have a good idea what it would be like.
I was wrong. I feel like so much of motherhood is just realizing that I’m wrong. The beginning of this pregnancy was so completely different from my pregnancy with Olivia. I feel like my first pregnancy was a textbook, classic pregnancy. Within a day or so of missing my period I had morning sickness, strong food aversions and cravings, and sore boobs and nipples. Classic symptoms. Four weeks into my second pregnancy I was beginning to worry. I had no symptoms. None. No sickness, no cravings, nothing. I was really worried because I felt that those symptoms are a good sign of your hormones doing the right things. Also, I was comparing it to my first pregnancy where I had immediate indicators.
Then about 5-6 weeks into this pregnancy it started and I became unbelievably fatigued. I never had fatigue with Olivia. I’m sure chasing around a toddler contributed to the exhaustion. Some days it was so bad I couldn’t even get out of bed. There was an occasion where I had to beg Luka to come home from work and take care of Olivia because I was so incapacitated. One day in particular I was in bed, feeling like a massive weight was pinning me down, and Olivia, in the midst of her potty training, said, “Mami, I need to go potty!” The effort to move was so great that I didn’t even care if she peed her pants. I said, “Olivia, do you think you can go potty by yourself? I really think you can do it now all by yourself.” and with that she walked into the bathroom, got her potty, brought it into the bedroom, and went pee! I thought, “This is why you wait a few years in between kids!”
I also had no food cravings and no aversions. In fact, pretty much all food made me sick unless someone else prepared it for me. As long as I didn’t have to make it, I could eat it. That went on for a long time. I didn’t get my appetite back until recently, around 26 weeks. During my first pregnancy I craved salty things and pickles and those banana peppers while certain foods I couldn’t even look at without feeling nauseous. Then right on schedule at the end of the first trimester and the beginning of the second, all those unpleasantries went away.
Another big difference was how rapidly I showed in my second pregnancy. In my first pregnancy I didn’t really look pregnant until I was close to my third trimester. This time around I popped out there by 10 weeks. At 20 weeks I was equal to about 32 weeks with Olivia. I think now I’ve evened out a bit and I’m not so much bigger than I was.
I’m sure birth will be different too. We shall have to wait and see for that one though. If I’ve learned anything it’s that people, blogs, forums, websites, all of them, will tell you what sort of things to expect. Most of the time they say it like it’s a fact you can’t escape. In reality, no one can tell you what you will and will not expect. Don’t believe everything you hear or read just because someone else said it. You can read and listen to others’ experiences and get an idea of what you may or may not go through, but when it actually comes to it only you will ever really know what your body does. Take it all in and trust your body to do the right thing.