So, yes, in case you didn't catch the hint at the end of my last post, I am in fact pregnant. Due mid-January, just after Penelope turns two. I won't say this is a total surprise because we were very much open to another baby and hoping to have them be between two and three years apart. But it was a huge surprise that it happened so quickly for us this time. We are incredibly grateful and excited, and we have affectionately nicknamed the baby "bugabug", which is one of Penny's favorite words these days. She says it to mean ladybug (and any number of insects really), but we think it's cute all on its own.
I have heard that for extended breastfeeding moms, the average period return is 14 months postpartum, and mine was just about 12 months. I think if I had weaned Penny at a year, as is common in this culture, I probably would have sworn that that was why my period returned then, but not so. I have also read that it is common for the first couple of cycles postpartum to be sort of "practice" cycles where the body isn't really ready for pregnancy yet, but is trying to get back to normal. In these cases, the luteal phase may be super short, or the cycles may be anovulatory. In my case, my first postpartum cycle had a very short luteal phase, and my second was anovulatory with a short luteal phase. My third cycle was when I conceived.
Here are a few pregnancy stats:
Weeks pregnant: 9
Weight gain: +2 My pre-pregnancy weight (127lb) was the lowest I ever remember weighing, and probably the lowest I have ever weighed as an adult. This was due to breastfeeding, as I ate like a fiend and was only moderately active. My BMI was 18.8 (I am 5'9"), and I don't think it would be good for me to weigh any less than that.
Waist gain: I haven't measured lately, but I'm guessing none.
Physical stuff: I've been battling nausea pretty hardcore since week 5. It's always worst at night, starting around 5 or 6 pm, but it's been pretty sucky all day. I will say that in the last few days, it seems to be starting to ease up during the day, but the evenings are still brutal. No vomiting, thankfully. And fatigue isn't really an issue. Penny has been sleeping amazingly lately (really hoping this doesn't jinx her!), so I am getting plenty of rest and feel pretty good on that front.
Emotional stuff: Nothing really. I do have some anxiety over becoming mom of two, but it seems so far away at this point. I am optimistic that Penny will love having a baby around. She loves playing with her babydolls, and she loves the babies at playgroup, but I do think it will be hard for her to share attention. In that way, I think it will be good to have two close together so that she won't really ever remember being an only child.
Food: Eating seems to help with nausea, but nothing really sounds appealing. Foods that seem tolerable one day sound totally unappetizing the next. I have basically thrown most of my dietary principles out the window and am just in survival mode right now. I am trying to listen to my body and give it what it wants. Ironically enough, meat is one of the things that makes me feel the best lately, so I have been eating way more meat than I would like. However, I am still strictly avoiding feed lot meat and only eating grass-fed, humanely and sustainably-raised meat. Sometimes peppermint helps. Sometimes lemon water helps. Ginger does NOT help. In fact, I think I've tried ginger for nausea so many times that I now associate ginger with nausea, and I think it makes it worse. But mostly, I think nothing really helps. Just time.
Nursing/boobs: I am still nursing Penny, and I have had very sore nipples since being pregnant. They are starting to feel better, but it made nursing brutal for a little while there. I was trying to wean, but I decided to lay off of the weaning attempts for now. I don't think I have it in me to tandem nurse (both due to supply issues and just personal limits/exhaustion), so I would like to wean before bugabug comes, but I don't think it needs to happen right now. I spoke with a lactation consultant, and she recommended waiting until at least the second trimester in order to have a better chance of a full supply with #2. She said the shorter the gap between nursing babies, the more milk you'll have. She also said that many toddlers self-wean as mom gets to be about 6-7 months pregnant, as the milk changes taste and reduces in quantity. I sort of doubt that will happen in this case, but we will see. I think I might have to go cold turkey with Penny anyway, so it can wait a few months. We also have an international trip coming up in August, and I would feel better if she's still nursing then just so that I know she's getting the good nutrition from it. I have gotten her down to 3 nursings/day and am pretty strict about it: wake up, before nap, & before bed. If she asks during another time, I tell her that she has to wait until the next appointed time (i.e. "It's not time now. You can have mommy milk at naptime."). She usually accepts this answer and will settle for a snack or a distraction. If she is absolutely beside herself and needs to nurse to calm down (rare, but it does happen), I have found that it is a much better experience for both of us if I tell her she can nurse but she has to ask nicely. Then she stops crying and says "please, mommy", and then I will nurse. Otherwise, if I just nurse while she's screaming, I have found that she won't really calm down. Even if I nurse for quite awhile, when she de-latches, she goes right back to screaming.
Baby prep: We've been discussing names, but nothing really other than that. Nothing is set on the name front, but we have some favorites. I might share. We'll see.
Birth prep: I had an appointment last week with the hospital midwives closest to us, but I am planning to switch to a birth center for my next appointment. The hospital midwives seem great, but I really wanted a birth center birth with Penny, and Nebraska just opened its first birth center about 15 minutes from our house, so I want to take advantage. It is gorgeous and new, and the midwife who delivers there has a fantastic reputation. I also love the idea of being home just a few hours after giving birth so that our whole family can be together. If we were in the hospital, I would probably be with bugabug for a night or two while Penny was home with Josh, and I don't think I would want to be without them for so long.
Gender stuff: I'm having boy feelings, but when I picture our family in the future, I often see two girls, so I'm not too sure what that means. With Penny, I had a very strong girl feeling right from the getgo. I am feeling boy this time, but I'm not quite as sure. Although, honestly, I think it is a total win-win. If we have a girl, Penny will have a sister close in age, which will be fun for them, but if we get a boy, then we have one of each, so it is a total blessing either way. I don't yet know whether we will find out the gender at our 20-week ultrasound. We didn't with Penny, but we haven't decided yet for this baby.
Pregnancy 1 vs 2: So far, this pregnancy is pretty much exactly like the first one. Sometimes I think the nausea is worse this time, but my honest opinion is that I probably just repressed how bad it was last time. I tend to think that whatever duress I'm under at any given moment is the most severe experience ever, and then I sort of downplay it when it's over, so I'm pretty sure the nausea is the same. One difference is the nipple soreness–I didn't have that last time, but I wasn't nursing then, so I attribute it to that.
Anything I'm leaving out? Anything you are dying to know?