When I got pregnant nine-ish months ago, I knew almost immediately. I began feeling those early pregnancy symptoms (the ones I looked up on the internet a thousand times when trying for my son) within three days of conception. This, medically, is not supposed to be possible, though with a little more Googling, I found many moms on the mommy boards who reported the same thing (maybe we got knocked up earlier than we think we did, maybe we’re psychic, maybe the doctors don’t know what they’re talking about–hmm). Everything seemed to come earlier–the nausea, the belly, the waddling. Of course they did! It was my second pregnancy! MY BODY HAD DONE THIS BEFORE. It knew what it was doing. Unfortunately, despite the fact that my body knows a lot more about what it’s doing this time, I do not.
People will tell you that you feel a second pregnancy earlier because you’re more attuned to what to look for. Mistaking gas bubbles for baby kicks? Not this time. You’re smarter this time. You can more accurately differentiate these things. Be confident. You know what you’re doing.
Maybe this is true in the beginning. I will admit, though–I still didn’t always know the difference between gas and a kick until those kicks got really strong. I “knew” this one was a girl, but let’s face it, I had a 50/50 chance of being right. Even now, I can tell the difference between a Braxton-Hicks contraction and a productive contraction more easily. But that’s partially because I’m having a heckuvalot more of both.
This pregnancy has been wildly different from my first. I feel more, both physically and emotionally. The heartburn, which had its moments in my first pregnancy, is now nightmarish. My moods and energy levels swing all over. This baby kicks and twirls so much more than the boy ever did. All that stretching and loosening might have made my body more confident in what it’s doing, but with the extreme difference in sensations, especially here in the home stretch, it’s sapping all my confidence away.
Mainly, I think I’m going into labor every day. Well, not REALLY. The logical part of my brain knows that since my son came at 40 weeks and 3 days, I can expect something similar with this one. My doctor has told me that I will probably waddle around for the last couple months feeling like the baby will fall out, but she won’t. And yes, sometimes it feels like she could just pop her little bubble and kersploosh to the floor, no pushing required. She’s definitely identified the exit and has been knocking on that door for quite a while. She’s sent jolts of hormones through me that made me clean my house like a maniac at 3 am, followed by surges that make me fall asleep whenever I’m inactive for more than five minutes. My belly tenses up quite a few times every day, with or without any kind of pain, but sometimes everything cramps up from my back, through my belly, and into my right leg. It will do this once or five times, at varying intervals, and then it stops. With the boy, it only did this once I was actually in labor. At times it’s like there’s a giant water balloon balancing in my pelvis. But precarious as it feels, it never pops. WHAT WILL MAKE IT POP?!?!
“Well,” my husband said after listening to such ravings. “This is your first second pregnancy.”
Luckily, the hormones told me that this was hilarious, and it made me feel so much better. At other moments, such a comment might have gotten him smacked. Such is the roller coaster I’ve been riding.
It is my first second pregnancy. And even if I wanted a family of twelve, and kept popping them out, each pregnancy would be, in a sense, my first. It’s nice to believe that experience will make things easier to understand, or more predictable, or just easier in general, but I’m not sure that’s ever the case. More predictable, I think, are my neuroses. My nesting instinct, for example, kicked in heavily the week before Thanksgiving, when it would have been most inconvenient to go into labor. I hadn’t imagined contracting so intensely more than two weeks from my due date, so I didn’t ask anyone to be available to watch my son that week, so one of my back-up sitters was out of town and the other was having Turkey Day guests. There was a chance, especially if I went into labor at night (which I did last time), that we would have to bring our two-year-old to the hospital. So my “hormones” kicked in and made everything else as ready as possible. And then, of course, I didn’t go into labor.
I still have about ten days until my due date. With my first pregancy, I spent those days lying around, watching movies, napping, and eating–none of which are particularly possible this time around, what with my son and the heartburn and all. I’ve been trying to keep us as busy as possible to pass the time, but again–I have a toddler. Sometimes I have a beautiful morning planned and then he has a tantrum and gets privileges revoked, or he poops and I don’t have any wipes, and we have to go home, where we sit around waiting for baby.
And waiting and waiting and waiting.