Tyler and Kate the Chicken will be over ten years apart in age. Many people have asked me if this pregnancy has been different, and how.
Most of the time, the honest answer is that I don’t remember all that much from my first pregnancy. Which is probably why I signed up to do it again!
In my mind, this pregnancy has been easier in a lot of ways, but I think a side-by-side comparison is in order.
Then: It was 2003. I was 23.
Now: It’s 2014. I am 34.
Then: My pre-pregnancy weight was north of 190 lbs. I gained 50 lbs. during the pregnancy. My first post-partum pants were size 20.
Now: My pre-pregnancy weight was just south of 160 lbs. I have gained less than 40 lbs., with 5 weeks to go.
Then: MEXICAN FOOD, Shoney’s strawberry pie, Totino’s frozen pizzas (the really cheap ones), Apples and peanut butter
Now: Frosted Mini-Wheats, Apples, PASTA
Then: Zero. Zip. Zilch.
Now: Regular walks and prenatal yoga, plus a healthy dose of running around after three kids and three animals.
Then: Heartburn LIKE WOAH (see: cheap frozen pizzas and Mexican food), constant low back pain, swollen ankles.
Now: Mild heartburn, occasional low back pain, swollen ankles started last week but are much better now.
The Emotional State
Then: I moved to a new state in March 2003, where I didn’t know a soul except my in-laws. I was unemployed. My father passed away in May 2003, when I was six months pregnant. It was, to put it mildly, a dark time.
Now: I am happily married in my home state, where I have developed a solid network of friends. I have a job that I find reasonably fulfilling most of the time. EVERYTHING IS AWESOME, knock on wood.
The Entertainment Options
Then: I watched reruns of TLC’s “A Baby Story” instead of attending a birthing class. During middle-of-the-night feedings, I had to resort to channel surfing – QVC, SciFi (before it was SyFy), news – or reading a book one-handed.
Now: In addition to my iPhone (introduced 2007), my Kindle (introduced 2007), and Netflix streaming (introduced 2007), I can still channel-surf or read a book one-handed. I skipped the birthing class again.
The Birth Plan
Then: Epidural. Healthy baby.
Now: Epidural. Healthy baby.
The Baby Plan
Then: Breastfeeding, disposable diapers, jars of baby food
Now: Breastfeeding, cloth diapers (to be fair, modern cloth diapers were not widely available in 2003), homemade baby food
The Information Age
Then: The internet was still relatively new in 2003. I didn’t know enough to peruse mommy-to-be forums and get yelled at by strangers for all my choices. Guess I really missed out.
Now: The internet has become a finely-calibrated tool with which pregnant women can scream at each other about their choices AND cite to multiple bloggers who agree with them. I avoid it entirely. Guess I’m really missing out.
How I Feel About the Whole Enchilada
Then: Mmmmm…. enchiladas. Tyler was my one bright spot in an otherwise gloomy landscape. From the moment he was born, we were a team. We’ve always had a very close parent-child relationship, and I am grateful for all the ways he made me a better, more organized, more responsible person. I feel like I grew up right in front of him, while he was growing up right in front of me.
Now: Mmmmmm…. enchiladas. It took me a long time to be comfortable with Kate the Chicken not being a boy. I have to keep reminding myself that she is going to be her own person, in the same way that Tyler is his own person.
How the Children Feel About the Baby
Then: What children?
Now: Tyler is very excited. He reports that he is especially looking forward to snuggling and reading books to her. The girls? Not so much. They see the arrival of the baby not as the incorporation of another human being into our family, but as a threat to their position in the household and their hold on their father’s time and attention. They have their moments of excitement, but I think there’s a lot of anxiety that we will force them to be full-time babysitters. We’re also getting a lot of “no one asked ME how this would make ME feel!” Which….no.
Obviously, I wish the girls were more excited. I also wish I could walk from the car to Publix without getting sweaty. But there’s not much I can do about either of those things right now.
What about Jason?
He’s completely psyched. He’s already told me that, since I get to spend all day with Kate the Chicken, he wants her bassinet on his side of the bed so he can get to her first when she wakes up. He’s gone to every OB visit except one, and gets a little giddy every time he feels her move. In short, he’s been the best, most supportive, most encouraging partner a pregnant lady could ask for. I don’t think anyone’s surprised.