Mommy 4-1-1

Mommies 4 Mommies: What We Wish We’d Known

What to Expect When Expecting #2 Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Filed under: Delivery,Postpartum,Pregnancy — Dana @ 10:12 pm

It didn’t take as long to get pregnant with number two… Made me wonder if perhaps we weren’t a little overzealous to conceive number one. ūüėČ

As men and women attempting conception over long periods will testify, sex can become utilitarian. (Again, I recommend the movie Maybe, Baby with Hugh Laurie.) It’s pretty inevitable that mechanics will win out over passion. But I deviate.

This story will be different coming from someone else. There’s a big difference between someone having a second child when their first is five years old and someone having a second child when their first is 2 years old. My scenario is the latter.

My second pregnancy was similar to the first except that I was much more¬†exhausted during my first trimester. Perhaps it was because my first still woke me during the night or perhaps it was totally unrelated. Regardless, I had to take naps at work to survive. Colleagues started guessing the cause of my fatigue before I was ready to announce the news but that didn’t matter.

I didn’t gain as much weight this time even though baby was 2 oz heavier than #1. I was relieved because after you’ve had one kid, you realize the impact of getting it all off afterwards. On this note, recognize that it takes most women 6 months to a year to get rid of their “baby weight.” I carried 3 pounds over to my next pregnancy. Fortunately, this time, I’ve already attained my pre-2nd-pregnancy weight at 7-8 months postpartum. I’m hoping to get rid of those pesky 3 pounds leftover even though it won’t get rid of the stretch marks and droopy belly and breasts.

Don’t let anyone tell you that having children doesn’t change your body in one way or another. I have a friend who’s genetically-predisposed not to get stretch marks but she’s paid the price in smaller breasts. My mother gained weight during the breast-feeding period because she was always so ravenous. Breast-feeding is supposed to help you lose weight because you’re using calories to produce milk. Not everyone can afford private trainers to help get rid of pregnancy weight gain like Hollywood.

I was constantly asked what child #1 thought about having a baby around; a sibling.¬†We didn’t bother going into great detail with¬†our son¬†because of his age; he had no clue what was coming. He would be turning 2 years old a couple of¬†weeks after the baby was born. The situation may have been different had our first child been a girl. Girls love babies. ūüėČ

The prenatal courses I took during pregnancy #1 informed you that when you start having contractions, it will probably still be quite some time before you deliver. Take your time, don’t¬†rush to the hospital until your water has broken or you can’t handle the contractions. What they don’t really specify is that this advice doesn’t necessarily carry over to delivery #2.

I knew delivery #2 was likely to go faster. I guess once the birth canal has been breached (going outwards ūüėČ ), the way is paved for the rest of your deliveries. I had been having weak, random¬†contractions for about 2 weeks. When they¬†finally started coming more regularly, I waited for my water to break as it had with the first. The amniotic sac ruptured in a giant explosion of fluid with #1 so I was uncertain if it had really happened when the slight trickle came. When I got up and it was coming pretty steadily, I knew. My husband and I calmly prepared to go to the hospital, making necessary phone calls for care of #1, etc.

When women had told me that you forget the pain of delivery after each child, I didn’t believe them. But it’s absolutely true. It comes rushing back when you experience it again though! Every bump in the road, every turn that’s taken and¬†every delay is agony.

Perhaps we shouldn’t have taken our sweet time getting to the hospital. I delivered within 45 minutes of arriving. Baby #1 had taken 7 hours. I had enjoyed the benefits of an epidural with number one and had planned to do the same with number two. Alas, there was no time! I felt every bit of birth #2.

Epidurals

I’m devoting a portion of this post to discuss the pros and cons of epidurals. For those unfamiliar with it, an epidural is when an anesthetist sticks a needle in between the vertebrae of your lower back for the purpose of administering blessedly numbing drugs. Depending on how good the anesthetist is, you shouldn’t feel anything from the waist down. A “patchy” epidural means you can feel a spot here or there.

During pregnancy #1, I had left the epidural option open. I was not automatically going to get one¬†but I wasn’t adamantly opposed to it. When my first major contraction hit (right after my water broke), the first thing I said was “I’m getting an epidural!” It took awhile to get one due to no rooms being available (one of the cons of busy Canadian hospitals), but once received, I was sold. I was going to have an epidural for every subsequent delivery.

This experience in tow, I had not prepared myself for the pain of natural childbirth. In my (retrospective) opinion, this was pretty stupid. I’m not sure how one would prepare for it but because I had assumed I’d be pushing the baby into the world under the dredges of an epidural, I panicked when I could feel everything. My recommendation is to prepare!

My main memory is the impression that there was no way I was going to be able to push the baby out even though it wasn’t overly-large and I have ample birthing hips. ūüėȬ†The best advice the¬†health providers around me gave was to¬†divert¬†my energy from screaming (just a little ūüėČ ) to pushing. It totally worked. It was, thank goodness, over quickly. I don’t even recall the famed “ring of fire,” which refers to the feeling accompanying a crowning baby.

My recovery after delivery #2 was incredible. I didn’t tear at all, though #1 had resulted in a second-degree tear. My mood was euphoric, I wanted to be discharged the same morning. After #1, recovery was slower and my mood nowhere near euphoria.

The ease of delivery #2 may have been only the result of experience but my conclusion was that epidurals aren’t necessarily the best way to go. My mom points out that she had all five of her children without. ūüėČ I can’t say that, given the opportunity, I wouldn’t get another epidural. Just a few things to think about, is all.

One of the pros to bringing a newborn home to a barely-two-year-old is there’s very little reaction. My son was¬†quite¬†indifferent¬†to his new sister. We’ve been very lucky because he still rarely shows jealousy or malice. I’m not sure this is typical. Probably more of a personality thing.

Another pro is that child #1 entertains child #2!¬†I¬†recall how boring it was with one child at home. When it came to his entertainment,¬†I was it. I’ve been lucky. My kids are usually content entertaining themselves. Still, when #2 is restless, nothing captures her attention like her big brother tearing around the house. She thinks he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. ūüôā

The unfortunate thing about having two children is that they don’t sleep at the same times! When #1 goes down for a nap (once a day), #2 is either awake or has a short or interrupted nap. All you want is for them both to sleep so you can too! Eventually, this evens out a bit.

The Gender Difference

So what’s harder? Boys or girls? Since I was blessed with one of each, I will share the differences that I’ve noticed.

When it comes to diapers, I think boys are easier. Sure, poop gets into the little wrinkles of the scrotum, but the delicate tissue that makes up girly privates can tear if one isn’t gentle enough and cleaning around in there is more effort.

Girls tend to be needier than boys. Translation: They require more attention. Don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of needy boys out there too. This is a general tendency that I’ve noticed talking to other mothers.

Bonding: It took me several weeks or months to bond to my son. It took days to bond to my little girl. I told my mother about this and she told me it was the same for her. She had had a girl first and so didn’t notice the difference until after she’d had a boy and then another girl.

¬†I’ve written this post over the course of several days so, unfortunately, I can’t remember everything that I was planning to share. If I recall anything later, I will add it on. If you have any specific questions, feel free to comment!

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One Response to “What to Expect When Expecting #2”

  1. Mrs. Chicken Says:

    Thanks! As for the delivery, I’m having a second section. But at least I know what to expect. I am concerned about knowing how to love a boy – thank you for being so honest about your bonding.


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