Essentially, the second trimester was in no way different. My belly expanded and the baby grew – perfectly on track for both pregnancies. I loved feeling the benefits of no more morning sickness and happily ate my full the whole way through. This time, I got to indulge in many Florida favorites too – Sonny’s bbq, fresh Caesar salad with shrimp on top, and authentic sweet tea.
This third trimester, on the other hand, feels completely different. Today, I made the (un)fortunate decision to nap after putting Marin down for her nap – for 3 hours. I set my alarm for one hour and I also had my very reliable back-up alarm, Marin, but both did nothing to wake me from my mega slumber. I hurriedly got Marin out of her crib, while calling my chiropractor to apologize that I was going to be late to my appointment, threw some strawberries in Marin’s pack pack, and ran out the door.
With Marin, I couldn’t run if I wanted to. My poor, sweet right hip was done from 35 weeks on. If I walked too quickly to the bus stop, I’d feel it that night and would use hot packs to help massage all my overworked ligaments. I went from scrubbing down the walls of our new apartment for a full 12-hour day without complaint to weekly chiropractic appointments just to gain some relief in a moment’s time. It wasn’t just miserable, it was downright scary. When you’re putting all your eggs in the home birth basket, the last thing you’re looking to do is have a self-imposed accidental injury pre-delivery. And that’s where I was – praying that I would still get to have the delivery we’d hoped for.
Fortunately, it worked out. And afterwards, I did months and months and months (I feel like you’re not getting how long this process felt…) of physical therapy, physiatrist appointments, chiropractic work, trigger-point injections – you name the specialty, and I tried it (with the exception of cortisone shots). I was completely desperate to have another pain-free pregnancy, and to be fair, a similar quality of life to the one I enjoyed pre-first pregnancy. I felt really, really discouraged that my dreams of the Bennett Bunch would be a drastically different picture than I’d hoped and dreamed for years.
In some ways, the reason our kids will be over 2 years apart has a lot to do with that injury. I think if I had no hip issues, Mike and I would’ve tried to start our basketball team draft sooner. And maybe that’s what feels so ironic about how I’ve spent this evening. In tears, moping about how this is ‘the end’ of my first ‘baby’ and me, because this second kid has been wanted and hoped for for so long.
After my chiropractic appointment, with dinner in no way done (apparently, dinner prep and lengthy naps don’t mix…) and Mike having his last Structure’s class till late last night, I took Marin on a Mommy-Daughter date for dinner. I held her on my lap till she found the booth across from me more entertaining. I fully embraced having one-on-one time with my 2-year-old and soaked it in for all it was worth. I let her jump her little heart out as we walked to the bathroom and I let her take me potty about 5 successful times with much unnecessary celebration. And I cried on the car ride home as my ‘big girl’ sang her heart out to all the tunes she now knows by heart (with full hand motions) and tucked her into bed later than I should. After she decided her crib was a trampoline, I went back into her bedroom, scooped her in my arms on her bedroom couch, and cuddled her till Mike got home to sing her one last song for the night and put us both to bed.
I feel so drained this trimester – mentally, emotionally, and physically. I didn’t see that nap coming because I don’t think I’ve had time to sit still and really reflect as much as I’d like on how I’m transitioning from 1-to-2 children is hard, albeit wonderful, for me. With Marin, I had some pseudo babycation before her grand debut. I felt productive, relaxed, and even borderline ready. This time, I keep thinking “If my labor starts, what would I need to get done first?”. And I really just hope I’ll take one last nap and lay still as I try not to freak out that in the words of Kevin Hart – “it’s. about. to. go. down”.
I find myself constantly trying to prioritize what should get done – should I encourage Mike to rest tonight or help with one more assignment, should I spend the morning rushing out the door to a playdate or inside so I can reorganize my sock drawer (yes, it’s an actual item on my to-do list), should I go to the gym or work on my bibs, should I go to bed on time or wait up for Mike tonight, and the list goes on. Everyday, I’m trying to balance what needs to get done, and now at the home stretch, what I need for me – because if I go into labor, I don’t want it to be a day that my body is worn out. I’m reminding myself that it’s not only normal for me to be tired, but it’s an important priority that I rest.
So with my own little ball of second-time anxieties (and truthfully, there’s plenty of them), I’m hoping that I can take some time to breathe too. To take more afternoon naps. To blow dry my hair and to not feel bad that I’m making dinner with Marin instead of doing it while she naps. That I’m spending quality time with both Mike and Marin and dear friends before our lives look and feel insane for awhile. To plop on the couch more and enjoy the stillness of these final pre-BB#2 days – because as I’ve always said, you don’t get to go back.
This is the end of just us 3. This is the end of me having a guaranteed break in the middle of my day or being able to sleep without interruption for a considerable amount of time. And when BB#2 comes, it will be the beginning of so many things. Some wonderful, some transitional, some exhausting, some downright hard. I can’t wait to fall in love again and to find myself thinking the same thoughts I did with Marin – how in this crazy world could I do this a million times over? Everytime fear or worry creeps up, I try to remind myself – (this time, I know) it’s all momentary. Every step of the way.
My second-go wisdom tells me this more than ever before and suddenly the phrase “babies don’t keep” makes complete sense. It looms in the forefront of my mind as my toddler sings Wheels on the Bus and many other songs from the backseat or wipes down the table when I hand her a rag. Or who tells me that I’m beautiful for no reason or rubs my back when I’m sad (I’m pretty sure we hit the Toddler Lottery having Marin…). Babies turn into amazing people, people who do eventually sleep and feed themselves without much mess. Every step of this second pregnancy (eventually) gets overshadowed with that perspective – enjoy this moment, this baby, this date night, this family time, this ____, it will all soon pass.
My children have given me a deep, sincere gratitude for the moment when most of my life has been focused on the end goal, and for that I’m deeply thankful. They’ve centered me to hone in on today because tomorrow, while it’s not promised, won’t be the same anyways. So my new top priority is to soak in this moment more and to sleep as much as possible. To let myself cry when my emotions get the best of me and to cuddle my baby as long as she is the ruling and reigning only child in this house. This is the present moment and I’m soaking it up till I can’t soak it up any longer.