A Whole New Adventure With Baby Number Two
The second trimester of pregnancy lasts from week 13 to 28 and is typically the easiest trimester, whether it’s baby number one or baby number two. You’re over the initial shock of being pregnant, you’ve dealt with the morning sickness, the weird cravings, and the unpredictable emotions. What you haven’t quite developed yet is that overall sense of impending doom that you get closer to your due date.
Is the baby head down? Will the baby arrive early? Do I need an epidural? Am I going to need a C-Section? What if the baby won’t nurse? Will I ever sleep again? Who the hell cares, I still got months to go!
Around this time I was starting to show, although my over-consumption of bagels in the first trimester probably helped with that. The first few weeks it just looked like I’d put on weight, but soon my tummy started looking so big it could only be a baby… or a tumor. Around that time I noticed other people start being really friendly and helpful when they saw I was pregnant, so thanks people! Most of my clothes weren’t fitting anymore, and in the colder weather that meant none of my jackets zipped up, and I refused to buy a maternity jacket because they’re too expensive for the wear I’ll get out of them.
Even though I was newly into my second trimester at 13 weeks I was still really, really nauseous. My apple and bagel diet persisted but I was able to add some oatmeal back in to help my iron levels.
As the weeks went on I was expecting my nausea to stop, but it just wasn’t happening. Week 16 rolled around and I ate broccoli and rice for dinner then nearly threw it all up. In my first pregnancy the nausea went away around week 16, so that’s what I was expecting. Instead, it just sort of slowly dwindled down, finally nearing normal at week 20… the halfway point.
Yes… this was better. In the mornings I no longer had to immediately eat something starchy to avoid vomiting, I could eat fruit by itself, and I could eat tomatoes again. I was finally able to eat pizza too (not sure why my stomach hated it before).
At week 23 I stopped napping every time my daughter napped; both because I had a little more energy, and because I now didn’t feel like crap all the time and wanted to get things done while she slept.
Around this time my nausea was almost entirely gone. Only certain foods would trigger minor nausea, but overall I was doing much better, aside from getting back into my afternoon naps. Things continued for awhile, as they tend to do, until week 24.
This week, I had my Gestational Diabetes test done, and thankfully, it came back negative. Unfortunately, my blood test results indicated I was mildly anemic. I figured this probably explained my extremely low energy levels. At this point, I really amped up my iron game. I got a high dosage iron supplement and starting eating a lot more greens, spinach smoothies, and oatmeal.
Still having a ways to go before baby was set to arrive I decided to take things in a different direction to distract myself; I started a graphic design YouTube channel. Having a fun project really seemed to help pass the time and help me forget, even for a moment, that very soon I would have ZERO time to do anything but nurse, change diapers, and try to sleep.
This week I had my birthday and we spent my birthday evening at the movies (We saw Bohemian Rhapsody). After a quick trip to the bathroom, I noticed blood. Not much, but really any amount of blood this early in pregnancy is a concern. I called the hospital and they said to come over for a check. So, after spending my birthday night at the hospital getting inspected, baby number two still seemed to be doing good and we drove home.
Sometime in the last few weeks I had another blood test to check my iron levels. Unfortunately, my addition of an iron supplement and greens wasn’t enough. My latest blood test revealed my iron levels were slowly falling and the doctors suggested I would likely need to get an iron infusion (Via IV) at the hospital sometime over the next few weeks. That was not cool with me, so I had to take drastic measures. I started eating red meat, chicken, and salmon again after years of being vegetarian.
After spending the last week and a half eating as much meat as I could, while still taking an iron supplement, as well as an additional powdered iron supplement that I added to pineapple juice, I went and got another blood test to check my iron levels. Impatient as I was, my results were online within 24 hours and I just had to check. My iron levels were up, a lot. Yay! At my next doctor’s appointment I was told I wouldn’t need the iron infusion, and to just keep doing what I was doing. Whew.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been preparing my hospital bag, cleaning the house, sorting baby clothes, and drinking raspberry leaf tea, which is supposed to help with labor. I was very much full-term now, finding it difficult to find any comfortable position to sleep in. I had my first ‘stretch & sweep’ this week, which is supposed to help prevent babies from becoming overdue. It was a rather uncomfortable process that reminded me of one of the first stages of the medical induction process, but fortunately, it was quick.
This week, I also noticed how my socks kept leaving marks on my ankles. It didn’t take much more investigating for me to realize I was swelling up like Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (Minus the purple). I had completely lost my ankle bones amidst the swelling and even my rings that used to be loose on my fingers weren’t going on. My face was getting puffy enough that a second chin was starting to form. I do NOT like this part of pregnancy.
I suppose my ‘nesting’ instinct finally kicked in this week, but in a different way. For the past two months I’ve been trying to get as much content on my new YouTube channel as physically possible, and now that baby number two will likely be here very soon, I’ve decided to take a course to renew my logo design skills. I suppose there isn’t much more to ‘nest’ in my home, so my instincts turned creative.
I sit writing this now, only three days away from my due date, really hoping contractions will start any time now. We’ve had good weather for the most part this winter, but it’s calling for snow on my due date, and for the entire following week. Can stress make you go into labour? If so, the baby should be here within the hour.
I woke up at 6am, two days after my due date, with suspicious stomach pain. Sleeping during the night was difficult because I couldn’t get comfortable and I wasn’t sure if I was still half asleep or suffering from the symptoms of sleep deprivation. An attempt to get back to sleep failed, but the pain persisted. It was pretty mild at the time, but it kept coming back so I knew something was happening. I immediately jumped in the shower because if the baby was coming, it could be awhile before I ever showered again. Right after the shower my water broke; only a little, but enough that I knew it wasn’t normal and I started to hurry even more. We left for the hospital soon after that.
At The Hospital
The nurses got me in for assessment immediately after arriving and my contractions really started to grow from there on. None of us were sure when labour would start so they tried to assess how far away I was from giving birth; checking to see if my water had actually broke or not. Right then, it broke. Big time. I was quickly moved into a hospital room, where the contractions started getting really, really bad. The contractions were coming quicker and more intense than they ever had been with my first pregnancy. I somehow managed to go from ‘barely dilated at all’ to ‘totally dilated’ in about an hour. At that point I got the epidural (A.K.A. The best thing ever) and as the contraction pain slowly eased I started feeling the urge to push… baby number two was coming now.
The rest was pretty standard; I pushed and pushed until the baby showed up. It hurt. A lot. The doctors were surprised the baby actually came out facing up (which is uncommon) but she was healthy and happy. I spent the next hour getting stitched back up because not only had I torn, but they had preformed an episiotomy to hurry the baby up because the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. (I’m really glad they kept that info from me until she was born; I would have completely freaked out).
So the baby was here and I could celebrate not being pregnant anymore. Yay! It took me about a month before I could comfortable sit anywhere due to the episiotomy pain, so that sucked; but baby number two (who we named Freya) is lovely. I cut meat out of my diet again, mostly because I no longer needed the extra iron, but also because of the tear and episiotomy. I needed to reduce inflammation and sticking to mostly eating whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruit, and vegetables would help me do that. My energy levels also went completely back to normal a few days after the birth.
Overall, the pregnancy was awful. The birth was horribly painful, and the aftermath of trying to heal without any sleep, nurse with sore nipples and take care of a toddler at the same time was all pretty terrible. My first pregnancy was rough but this one (and the birth) was so much worse. I’m astounded there are over seven billion people on the planet when the process of making humans sucks so much. But I guess babies are pretty adorable…