Something I couldn't have told you early on about the differences between this pregnancy and my 1st is that a lot--most, even--of them have more to do with me and my life than my baby and gestation. Here are some updates and comparisons.
Overall Physical: I am feeling good. I would say I am in better shape and taking better care of myself this time around than I did the first time. Even though I started this pregnancy heavier, I'm more responsible in my eating and exercise habits. I'm even still able to cruise around town on my bike. I do find myself easily winded sometimes, but that seems to be more connected to stress than physical exertion. The 3rd Trimester tiredness has kicked in again, but I'm noticing that instead of needing a 2 hour nap to gain any energy, just 15-20 minutes of quality rest (not even sleep necessarily) can get me through my tired period.
Update: one week after writing the above paragraph, I am now feeling a little huge and hard to maneuver and have felt a little blah for several days in a row. Today I feel good, though, so maybe it was just a transition as baby grows and shifts.
Overall Emotional: Aside from a few epic blow ups and tear-fests, I don't really remember what my emotional state was like when I was pregnant for Nora.
This time I would usually tell you that I'm doing well emotionally, but looking back at the last couple of weeks, I'm actually teetering on losing my crap most of the time. I'm a ticking time bomb. Usually when I get pushed over the edge I go straight to mean-spirited snappy or sarcastic comments. Occasionally there is yelling. Occasionally there are tears. I'm actually enjoying the tears some. Tears from something touching my heart have been really rare for me since I had Nora, so the fact that they come pretty readily now is a welcome change. I kind of hope they stay.
Update: Again, a week later, I'm feeling more emotionally stable, yay! I think since I really thought about my emotional state I have been focusing on managing stress better and it seems to be helping.
Concerns/Worries: I remember feeling stressed about delivery with Nora. I was worried I would miss my window to get an epidural and of the pain. I wasn't too worried that I wouldn't be able to deliver Nora, just afraid of how much it would hurt.
In the time since I had Nora there has been this huge natural wave among my friends. I've gotten on the bandwagon on some things and chosen to ignore others. Natural delivery, the way mothers are treated at hospitals, and being robbed of a particular birth experience are all hot topics right now. I've read up on birthing methods and read birth stories.
It feels like everything out there says that if you have a birth in a hospital with any kind of medication with your feet in stirrups that you had a bad ("traumatic" is the buzz word) birth experience and if you don't feel that way, you're uneducated or you're a bad Mom. I've been struggling with that because even though there are things I want to change this time around (no narcotics for this Momma!), I don't feel like my birth experience with Nora was a bad one. I feel so to the contrary that I intend to almost completely replicate it this time: give me that epidural!
What I think is being lost in the movement for positive birth experiences, though, is that what people are supposed to be advocating are the rights of the mother to have her wishes respected, not advocating a certain type of birth. I've struggled through this a little bit and have decided that as long as we all try together (our family and the docs and nurses) for the type of birth that is ideal to me and as long as any changes are necessary and not the result of bullying, that's all I want. And I can attest that being a good emotional state after birth is paramount to the health and bonding of your baby, possibly even more so than the decisions that got there. I want a healthy baby regardless of how s/he gets here and I want to be involved in the decision making process. Those two things will make it a positive birth experience to me.
OK, I'll step off my soapbox now...it's just be weighing on me lately, can you tell?
Nesting: I have a tendancy to nest about stupid things. I had to organize thousands of photos from my childhood. I really am about to lose it if we don't get the new light in Nora's room hung or the fan in our bedroom fixed. I feel compelled to make laundry and dishwasher detergents, but don't really feel compelled to do the laundry or dishes. It's weird. And useless.
Cravings: Salt (oh, the salt!) and ice.
We're not talking about salty snacks, here, folks. We're talking about pouring salt into my mouth by the teaspoon. Gross, I know. I even crave different types of salt. Lately it's been iodized table salt. A few weeks ago I couldn't get enough sea salt (and virgin margaritas). I've even craved inedible salt like rock salt (like for making ice cream) or the salt you put in a water softener (I don't give in on those cravings). It's ridiculous. My doc said to resist the temptation to eat it straight because I'll swell up like a balloon. Great. I've snuck some now and then, but at least there's not a salt shaker on my desk now. That's a step in the right direction, right?
I also want ice all the time. And I can tell the difference--size, texture and taste all matter. The bagged ice from one grocery store in town is way better than the other. The ice we make from our tap water tastes good, but the texture isn't great. I love Sonic ice, but it's 30 minutes away, so I don't get it often. There was this place we ate on our anniversary that had stellar ice. If I could have stayed there all day munching on ice I would have!
Body: Feeling a little huge lately, like I said above. My old stretch marks from Nora are more visible than usual, but have stayed that old-stretch-mark silver color. I have a couple new ones, but overall the stretch marks aren't bad at all. No swelling so far, either. I looked back at some pics from when I was pregnant with Nora and would guess I look about 3 weeks ahead of where I was at this time with her. I've gained 19 lbs as of my check up last Friday.
Names: We've finally settled on names! Drumroll, please..................................
If baby G2 is a boy, he will be Judah
If baby G2 is a girl, she will be Eleanor Ivy
Thanks for sticking with me on this loooong update! Hoping to have an update on the nursery soon...why can't my nesting instinct want to get THAT done???