If you’ve read both my birth stories (which you can find here and here), or even read my pregnancy blog post (found here and here) you’ll be able to deduce the differences between each pregnancy journey yourself. However, if you want the TL;DR version of what was different between the two, this is the post to read! I also wanted to include some brand new information – my recovery and post-partum journey!
I’ve always loved to read and hear about how people’s pregnancy journeys have differed, so I figured I’d write my own experience down. To keep this post from being five novels long, I’ll just get right into it!
Discovering I Was Expecting
I had absolutely no inclination I was pregnant at all except for a late period. However, my period tends to be influenced by stress quite easily so I figured our recent move was the cause of the late period. The idea of being pregnant went through my mind but didn’t stop for a chat.
Tim, on the other hand, suspected it immediately. He focused on the idea of me being pregnant. I told him not to worry, but once he heard the words, “my boobs are hurting”, he drove us to the closest Shoppers Drugmart to buy a test.
Not too long after, a line turned into two. I was pregnant.
Fun Fact: It was actually Tim who told me I was pregnant, instead of the usual other way around. I peed on the stick and had him read the results!
With my second pregnancy – I didn’t have a single physical sign of pregnancy. Given that the time between giving birth to my first baby and the time between getting pregnant again is roughly nine months, my period still hadn’t regularly returned. My boobs weren’t hurting or growing. I wasn’t feeling any nausea. Nothing.
But, I knew. I just knew I was. I told Tim I was pregnant and he completely doubted me! He told me I was just being paranoid but that there is no way. He figured that because I wasn’t showing any signs, it couldn’t be true. I figured he was probably right as I do tend to jump to conclusions.
That night though, I had a dream that I was pregnant. I thought it was strange but believed it was just due to my over-thinking. The next two nights, I had two more dreams that I was pregnant. That’s when I knew I needed to push all my self-doubt aside and take a test.
This time, I took the test while Tim was at work and decided to tell him the news when I picked him up. He was completely shocked but so excited!
The Pregnany Journey
My first pregnancy journey was, thankfully, very easy. My main symptoms were a high, high sensitivity to smells and a hatred for sweet foods. If you know me at all, you’ll know that second one is very uncharacteristic. It’s what caused me to be so confident that I was having a boy – despite being told I was having a girl.
Early into my second trimester, I got sick. I got so, so sick. At the time, I was working in a daycare center so illness was constantly going around. You always think you have an amazing immune system but once you have babies shoving their hands into your eyeballs, toddlers wiping their germs on you, and kids sneezing into your face – you realize pretty quickly that you don’t. I got sick twice within three weeks apart and both times had me vomiting my guts out. I actually puked so much that I popped every single blood vessel on my face – I looked like an alien!
Nearing My Due Date
Third trimester was when my belly finally popped and things started feeling real! It was also the time that the back pain and belly pain really started to kick in, as well as the sleepless nights. I had developed some pretty intense restless legs (particularly my toes for some reason?) and they would keep me up for hours due to the uncomfortable feeling.
As the weeks progressed and my belly grew bigger, it also grew tighter. I began to hate anything even slightly touching it – from clothes to seat belts to my husband! It was just so painful and uncomfortable. I left work a month before my due date as it was a physically demanding job and my back was in way too much pain for it. That last month I spent just trying prepare as much as possible, while also playing A LOT of Sims.
My second pregnancy was also, thankfully, pretty easy. Similar to my first, I had no nausea. However, I had one symptom that really impacted my day-to-day: vision loss. Each time I stood or moved, I lost my vision for roughly 30-60 seconds. It was horrible. This symptom also brought along a lot of lightheadedness and migraines. I was horribly sensitive to noise and light – often having the blinds closed during the day and only relaxing music on very low volume. When I told my doctor about this, she said not to even worry but ya, that didn’t stop me from worrying.
Thankfully, this went away by week 14! From there, I started to focus on preparing my daughter for her new little sibling.
The Symptom I Hated the Most
Throughout my entire pregnancy, I was incredibly anxious. I have anxiety and I’ve talked about it before, but after having my first – my regular anxiety turned into post-partum anxiety and it was unbearable. I think it just extended into my pregnancy with my second. Everything I did caused triple-guessing and multiple safety checks. I couldn’t even shower while Charlotte napped without making sure all the windows were locked, the doors were locked, the baby monitor was in the shower (away from water) with me, and I could see her door.
For context, the bathroom door is directly across from her bedroom door so this was very extreme.
I once forgot the baby monitor and had to stop mid-shower because I was CONVINCED that someone had came in and put her in the dryer. Yup… I was having a panic attack over the stupidest and most unrealistic thing. But the thing about anxiety is you can’t control what causes you anxiety. You just have to cope and my way was getting out of the shower and making sure she was okay.
Thankfully, every other part of my second pregnancy was fairly easy. Again, I developed restless legs around the third trimester and again, it kept me up way too much. I also got huge (for me) this time around but I LOVED it. I loved showing off my bump and letting people feel my very, very active baby.
Labour & Delivery
Labour with my first was sudden but slow. I was having a perfectly normal day (sleeping and eating), perfectly normal evening (shopping with my Mom), and perfectly normal night (playing Sims). Midnight came and Tim headed off to bed. I usually always go with him – knowing I have a tendency to stay awake too long when playing Sims – but because I was in the middle of a really good game, I told him I would be there in an hour. [I love Sims, ok and my character was moments away from having her baby!]
Thirty minutes or so of playing later, I really needed to pee. I got to the toilet and my water broke. I woke up Tim and told him how my water broke but I am having no contractions. My OB told me to go to the hospital if my contractions are 1 minute long for 5 minutes OR if my water breaks. So, we packed our stuff in the car and headed to the hospital.
Because I wasn’t feeling my contractions yet and was only at 1cm, the on-call doctor gave me the option of either getting induced to speed things up or to go home and wait. I chose to go home. Only to go back two hours later with contractions so unbelievably painful and a minute apart.
So Back to the Hospital We Went
We got back at the hospital at 5:30am, got into our delivery room, and laboured for four hours. Throughout the entire time, labouring kept stalling and re-starting. We joked that our daughter wasn’t sure if she really wanted to be earth-side yet. At 9:30am, I was at 8cm and asked if I still wanted the epidural. I said yes – my contractions were causing me to violently shake and I just needed to be able to breathe again.
At 11:00am, I had my epidural and things slowed down. By noon, I was measuring at 10cm and began to push. The nurse, the student nurses, and the doctor came in and I went to work. I honestly forget this part but I do remember that I was making everyone laugh with the things I was saying. If only I remember what they were.
After thirty-five minutes of pushing, Tim and I welcomed our sweet girl!
Labour with my second pregnancy was incredibly fast. I started feeling the contractions at about mid-afternoon but assumed they were braxton hicks at first. A few hours go by and I started to think it’s the real deal. I called my Mom to come pick up my daughter for the night, said good-bye, and enjoyed the evening with my husband until going to bed at 10pm.
Four hours later, I was woken up to some painful contractions. They were 1 minute long and about 6.5 minutes apart. After an hour of labouring, we decided to head to the hospital. We got there at 3:45am and check in. At 4:15, the nurse did a dilation check and said I was only at 2.5cm and had probably at least six more hours to go. This honestly got me so mad because I was done with labouring.
At 4:45am, a nurse asked me what I wanted for pain relief. I said nothing so she brought me some juice and recommended I walk around for a bit. At 5:10am, just as I was getting ready to stand, my water broke everywhere. Tim went and got a nurse, she checked me again, and said I was at a 3cm while still being 50% effaced. Thankfully, she went and started to prepare my delivery room anyways.
The Time is Here
At this point, I was completely unable to stand. I could barely move as the contractions were non-stop. I began to feel the need to push, so I tell Tim and he, again, goes to get a nurse.
A couple minutes later, a nurse comes in and starts to tell me that I am not ready to push. However, she checks again and her face dropped. She ran to the door on the other side of the room to call for help and immediately starts calling for help. Within seconds, help arrives and they are running me to my delivery room.
One push later, my son is born.
My delivery with my second pregnancy is probably my absolute favourite story to tell. My son decided it was time, and then there he was. I love it. He’s determined, like his Mom!
Recovery was by far the absolute worst part of my entire first pregnancy experience and it seriously made me question if I ever wanted to go through another pregnancy ever again.I had a very minor tear but it required three stitches and I will never forget that moment of holding my child but feeling the doctor pierce my very sensitive skin and drag a thread through it. As he pulled the stitch through, he brought his hand up to the ceiling, I assume to prevent knotting, and the sight was enough to make me start to shake again.
Thankfully, one of the student nurses noticed that I was reacting and came right to my side, put her face in front of mine, and commented on my adorable newborn as a way to try to redirect my attention. I could still feel the pain, but I will forever be thankful for that nurse who forced my eyes away!
Stitches suck. A lot. For about a week after, I was in pain doing anything. The perineal bottle that the hospital gives you became my best friend. However, I quickly feared having another baby just in case I was going to need to get stitches again.
(I do want to acknowledge that I am definitely no where close to the “short end of the stick”, that so many people have had it way worse than me in terms of labour and delivery, but those facts do not make my experience invalid or not worthy to talk about.)
Recovery with my son felt non-existent. I had no complications this time around and I was loving it. Besides the typical post-partum bleeding, which only lasted five days for me, I was living the dream. Tim and I joke that my son came too quickly for my son to have done any damage.
I felt ready to leave the hospital within moments of giving birth, but it’s recommended by my hospital to stay at least 24 hours to make sure no complications arise. Of course, we were allowed to leave if we truly desired but the way I saw it – free food! (The hospital I gave birth in actually offered pretty decent food, and I hate cooking so this was a big win for me.)
The fact that I didn’t have to get stitches this time around actually made me cry tears of happiness. I am truly a wuss for pain.
Anxiety. Anxiety. So much anxiety.
Honestly, this could be a whole post in and of itself – and it probably will be one day – but my anxiety levels skyrocketed after giving birth to my daughter. It ate me apart, it impacted my relationships, and it even influenced my ability to leave my own house. It was debilitating.
Tim wasn’t around for the first month and a half of our child’s life. It was tax season and his job wouldn’t give him the time off, so I was alone and confused and always worried. I felt so weak and pathetic nearly all the time. Constantly, I was questioning every decision I made. I probably had five panic attacks a day and had no idea how to address all the extra anxiety.
Unfortunately, it led to so much anger. I was getting mad at people (specifically Tim) for the smallest of things. I would get mad if they didn’t read my mind. Looking back, it was absolutely ridiculous of me, but I didn’t have the support I needed. When I tried to reach out to family, it was usually shut down with, “that’s what you get when you have a baby”. It was incredibly isolating and tough.
I’ve always had anxiety, but post-partum anxiety is a whole other thing. And it’s horrible.
I call my second pregnancy my “healing” pregnancy. While I wasn’t intending to get pregnant so quickly after my first, I am so glad I did. It has completely removed all my fears and anxieties around pregnancy. It has even made me excited to give birth again.
Post-partum life for the second time went great. I felt relaxed, I felt at peace, I felt completely happy. This time, when I cried, it was tears of pure joy. I am so incredibly lucky to have this as my experience.
This time, my husband was able to be home for the first month of our son’s life and that made a massive difference for me. Being able to get direct support from him while going through the one-to-two transition was so, so helpful. I truly credit it as the reason the transition was as easy as it was.
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