This year for my birthday we had our 20 week anatomy ultrasound for our second baby! It was a fantastic way to celebrate being 33. I can’t remember looking forward to my birthday more. I loved keeping Jackson’s gender a surprise for his birthday, but for this baby we decided to find out. It was so fun to have it be on birthday, and also to have something special and unique for this pregnancy.
..And we’re having a…
We’re going to name her Lily, short for Liliana. I’m still spinning about getting to have a daughter! I have box of little girl things from my childhood downstairs, and it blows my mind that she might enjoy them someday like I did. In some ways all my thoughts this Fall have been bending towards having this baby, and in other ways I feel like I thought about Jackson during that first pregnancy so much more, and more about Jackson during this second pregnancy.
But seeing her little profile and her little spine and ribs on the screen was such a breath taking moment of being amazed that there really is another tiny person coming to our family, fearfully and wonderfully made. I think getting to see her and know that she’s Lily is going to make the second half of this pregnancy make me feel even more connected to this unique little person.
Pregnancy Details & Questions
How am I feeling now? Really pretty good! I’m in the sweet spot of feeling almost normal, minus the little squirmy cantaloupe around my middle. As long as I don’t bend over just after I eat I don’t have heart burn…yet. I got some serious pregnancy rhinitis really early this pregnancy (like at 5 weeks), and accidentally cut out butter for a few days and suddenly slept much better since I wasn’t crazy stuffed-up. So sadly butter (and all other dairy as per usual) is out for this pregnancy. The rhinitis is still there, but manageable. On the flip side, I got to feel baby-girl much earlier (around 10 or 12 weeks compared to 17 with Jackson). So that makes up for being stuffed up and in maternity jeans by week 8.
Were you trying to get pregnant? Yep. Doing the sort of calculations that many teacher families do, we were aiming to have a baby just as summer break rolled around. But given that conceiving Jackson took sometime, we hedged our bets, started a month early, and settled in for a wait. Then as these things tend to happen the only time we could get me into have a cervical polyp removed was right at the very beginning of the window of trying for August. But even knowing our chances were so small, I still had a strong intuition that we had gotten pregnant right away.
Of course, I wanted to believe that having gone through actual pregnancy once before I would be more accurate with my “pregnancy intuition”, but I didn’t really trust that I was particularly reliable. Instead, I thought that this season of trying for a second baby was going to be just as fraught with hopes dashed every month as last time. But low and behold, first month out, cervical polyp and everything, we got a positive test.
When are you due? She is due on Mothers’ Day, a month before it would be most convenient, but I’m delighted by the inconvenience, and the utter grace of getting pregnant so quickly. I looked back and found that what I wrote about early pregnancy with Jackson (at 8 weeks in) was just what I felt with this baby: joy and fear and nausea. I also think of the women in my life still waiting for a first baby, or trying for years for a second, and I find myself wishing that these things were on a first-come first-serve basis, that no one would have to wait and wait and wait while someone else doesn’t wait for even a second.
Is Jackson excited about being a big brother? He has recently come to love books about babies and talking about babies. If he sees two animals and one is big and one is small, he’ll tell me that one’s the mom and one’s the baby (particularly adorable when they are two very obviously unrelated dog breeds of differing sizes). If I ask him if he’s going to be a big brother, he employs his favorite response “No.” But if I ask him where the baby is, he’ll point to my tummy. He gives unsolicited kisses to my tummy which is the best thing ever. We often read Sally Lloyd Jones’ Baby’s Hug-A-Bible and at the end of each little rhyme for the dozen Bible stories there’s a little couplet about how God cares for you. And I point to Jackson and say “You” and he now says “An’ Mama, an’ Dadda, an’ Baby” so it seems like the seeds of us growing of a family are there. But I’m sure it’s going to be a shock to his little system come May.
How has this pregnancy been different from your first? The main and large difference with this pregnancy has been caring for Jackson. He still needs me to be his mom, no matter how much I wanted to just curl up into a sick ball and be left alone for the first weeks. How have all these mothers done this? It’s one of the harder things I’ve endured. I suppose a mother’s heart grows as it breaks and heals and strengthens.
The math of having another baby doesn’t make sense to me: how can one baby take all my time, and a toddler take nearly all my time, and still have other people, and tasks, and chores that would very much like (and deserve) my time. It’s like there needs to be three of me. Frankly, I don’t know how it’s going to work. But somehow, I am already 20 weeks into this mothering two thing, and I don’t know how exactly I did the first trimester of it, but I did.
Are you doing anything differently this pregnancy? Not a ton. I switched prenatal vitamins to this one with methylated folate which I’m hoping might decrease the chances of this baby having a tongue tie. And I’ve just started taking some series probiotics (soil based and lactobacillus) to decrease the chance of being beta strep positive this time, but I’m keeping my expectations of success for that one very low. I’ve also enjoyed getting Mama Natural’s Week By Week pregnancy emails (and her book!) But otherwise my approach to a paleo pregnancy has stayed the same.
Where are you planning to deliver? I’m planning an unmedicated hospital birth with my family doctor, the same doctor as for Jackson. (Although if you recall my birth story, I had a number of doctors there). Since it won’t be Thanksgiving Eve, I’m hoping that I’ll feel better about laboring at home for a bit longer this time. I’d love to not have to be in triage so long, or have a second degree tear, or an IV and be in the hospital more than 72 hours. But honestly, if given the choice I would absolutely choose to repeat the birth experience I had with Jackson: it is something I’m so grateful for.
Why did you wait longer this time to share the news? Our Fall has been kind of tough. It started out with just the expected challenges of morning sickness and start of school / soccer-coaching madness. But just as the very worse of that bizarre combination of nausea, low blood sugar, and fatigue, and hormones subsided into a dull roar we started in on the unexpected challenging bits of our Autumn. At the end of October, within about 8 days of each other we heard the heartbeat of our new (small) baby and my mom had a (small) SCAD heart attack.
Waiting for news that hearts are beating makes the fragile miracle of life comes back into focus. My mom seems to be recovering very well, an answer to many prayers over the last two months. We still don’t know what caused the small tear in her artery, but everything seems to be healing really well. And my mom has taken to the cardio-rehab and millions of doctor appointments with diligence and optimism—I’m super proud of her.
About 8 weeks after my mom’s heart attack, that side of the family said goodbye to Jackson’s Great-Grandpa Denny, after nearly two years of battling liver cancer. I’m so sad that he isn’t going to be able to hold this new baby girl, but I cherish that the last time I got to see him I got to tell him about his 8th great-grand baby coming in May.
Then in between hearing the heart beat and saying goodbye to Grandpa, our little church plant’s rector resigned, throwing our community into a season of upheaval and discerning that very much affects us. Since we have been married, we have only gone to really two churches, so we haven’t had a lot of disruptions like this to deal with, particularly with Evan being on the vestry at this church. And then to top it all off my Great-Grandma Katie had a stroke. I’m hopeful for a lot of healing and life for both of those situations.
It’s such a strange season of new life and death. People who have been pillars of my whole life slip away, parents become grandparents, and babies become big brothers, and what seems stable shifts.
I think that, if anything, all the bits of the Fall come together to make me more grateful than ever for this baby. The grace of a quick conception, the heart ache of family loss, the provision of good medical care and community—we have a lot to be grateful for.
How about you? Have goodbyes and hellos to generations of family come together for you this season? Any advice for me in embarking on mothering two?
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