I know I've said it a million times during this pregnancy, but it is definitely the pregnancy of, "Hey, that didn't happen last time!" It all started with the extra month of nausea, followed by a yeast infection and a UTI (both firsts ever for me). I managed to skip the leg cramps and the severe round ligament pain I had last time (only one instance of each this time), but traded them for a couple months of discomfort I didn't have last time. I couldn't work out as long and have been paranoid about an early delivery for a while. I'm dilating more quickly, and I've been dealing with swelling in my hands and feet that never bothered me last time, despite the fact that last time there was 90 degree weather at this point in my pregnancy. I took off my wedding ring the other day, which I don't think I ever had to do last time. It was just getting too tight and I was worried it was going to cause problems come delivery time. I've replaced it with a ring that used to be my grandma's. It's a little bigger, has a row of CZ stones, and a goldtone band. Wearing it makes me feel a little less "naked". I was looking through pictures yesterday from right after Jacob was born, and I noticed I had my wedding ring on later in the day he was born, despite the fact I was pumped full of fluids at that point. Not a chance this time, let me tell you. And as for my feet and ankles...by the end of a work day they just look like chubby little sausages with no definition. Lovely. All in all, it's been such a different experience physically this time around. I guess I'm feeling lucky I didn't get stuck with gestational diabetes, varicose veins, stretch marks, or true morning sickness either time. It could always be worse, right?
But the physical stuff aside, this pregnancy has been such a different experience in other ways. Obviously there are many different worries and emotions this time around. We know the gender, which we didn't last time. Ironically, I'm not sure it improved my ability to bond with this baby ahead of time. I'd hoped it would, and maybe if it would have been a girl I'd feel a little different, but so far I don't feel considerably more connected to this baby than I did last time. I am more excited this time, I think, because the pure fear I dealt with last time definitely overshadowed things a bit. But knowing the gender did help us focus our name search and plan ahead better. Instead of focusing on how this baby is going to impact us, I think we're more concerned with the impact of this baby on Jacob. I think we're well aware the baby is going to make things doubly exhausting, and that's a concern, but we're definitely most cautious when it comes to Jacob. We're doing what we can to prepare him, but I'm not sure anything we say is going to communicate to him the extent of the life change he's about to go through. Perhaps that's a good thing, but it's definitely one of the bigger wildcards this time around. Jacob was also the recipient of the majority of the pre-baby prep early on, since we had to get his room ready before we could start on the baby stuff, and much of what I've blogged about during this pregnancy has had as much to do with Jacob as with the pregnancy itself. He's certainly been a central figure to this entire process.
Even on a practical level I feel like things have been so much different. Something as simple as painting the baby's room was a big change of pace for us, since we never did anything like that last time. Last time we went through a very deliberate process to get ready for a baby. We took two sets of baby classes--baby care and childbirth--and I read up on everything as much as possible, from the internet to "What to Expect When You're Expecting". I haven't touched much of that stuff this time around. I get my weekly pregnancy emails and read things in passing on blogs, but that's been about it. I actually feel a little ill-prepared at the moment, almost like I'm going to forget some key element of baby care because I've blocked it out from last time and just haven't been reading enough to trigger my memory. I'm hoping instinct will kick in.
We went through the whole crazy process of baby registries last time, along with three showers to collect all of those baby goods. Well, I did a very small registry this time, just for simple stuff I knew we could use again or that needed replacing. There are probably holes that I'm not even thinking about, but for some reason I'm less panicky about trying to figure those out. Gathering up most of the baby stuff this time has been a little haphazard. I pulled stuff out of the crawl space and have barely organized things. The clothes obviously took a bit of work to remove those nasty stains, but I've basically just grouped them into sizes and thrown them into any old spot in the baby's drawers and closet. Last time I was crazy about finding the exact right spot for everything. I have pulled out the bottles and just yesterday made a spot in the kitchen cupboards for them. Tonight I got new nipples and inserts for them, so that's one less thing to worry about at the moment. There's still a giant bag of bibs in the basement, but I have no idea if I even need them right now so I'm leaving that task as one to tackle during maternity leave. The baby bathtub, toys, and my beloved breast pump have also been pulled out of the crawl space, but I haven't really done anything with any of them. We finally took a trip to Babies 'R' Us tonight to fill in some holes, like the fact that we only had ONE diaper in the house. The way I've been feeling lately had been a bit of a holdup to that one. I just find it funny that last time I was extra concerned with having everything just so last time (though ironically, much of this stuff has been done far earlier this time, perhaps because I've been more concerned about going early), but this time I'm pretty content with the here-and-there preparations I've done so far. I guess it's just the beginning of the second-time parent/second-kid syndrome. I don't know if we're just going to be more laid back, or we realize how important it is to plan since managing two kids is such a different animal, but it's just been a totally different vibe this time around. We'll have to wait and see if that trend continues once this little boy makes his appearance...
In other news, I started feeling a little better last night after dealing with a couple days of pressure and discomfort. I actually felt pretty good this morning when Jacob and I headed to church. We spent a little extra time there today because they had transformed the gym into Bethlehem. Jacob planted some sunflower seeds and made a spice packet at a couple of the crafty tents they had set up, and we sampled some foods popular in that time (nothing too funky, though Jacob did enjoy apricots). They had some little skits, but I don't think we stayed long enough to catch Mary, Joseph, and Jesus post-birth. While we were there, one person gave me a, "Whoa, you must be close!", which was the first time I think I've ever gotten that. Admittedly, my belly is starting to look like a feat of engineering, but it's still not that big compared to some people's, I'm sure. Someone else asked me if my name was Mary. Haha. Funny. But we had fun anyway.
I was a little extra tired this afternoon, but after a nap I worked on getting the car seats worked out. I moved Jacob's from the center to the side in both cars, and added the baby seat bases to the other side in each car. It didn't take long but it was a little tiring, and ever since I've been back to feeling a little iffy. Lots of pressure, a little sore and fatigued, and just generally uncomfortable. I really can't help but feel that something is going to happen this week, if only because I was nearly 4 cm as of Thursday and that's where I was when my fluid leaked and I went into the doctor the morning before Jacob was born. How long can I possibly last like this? Any sort of activity leaves me feeling a lot of pressure--from shopping to laundry to organizing. But laying around isn't all that comfortable either, yet mentally it makes me feel a little "safer".
It's definitely going to be an interesting week--from how I'm feeling, to Jacob's last week of soccer, to Valentine's Day, to more final preparations--we have plenty going on!