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SLOWING DOWN

Posted on: Friday





Every once in a while, when I was carrying Biet in my belly, I used to forget that I was pregnant.  Aside from the obvious bowling ball protruding from my midsection, my body felt, most of the time, more or less unchanged.  I would enjoy working on my feet for 8, 10, 12 hours a day.  And the dreaded morning sickness, cravings, swelling- they never happened.  And then I gave birth, and my body recovered pretty quickly, and I was once again on my way.

Boy was I lucky.

This time around began just the same, and, I was sure, would remain just the same.  Morning sickness did show up, but barely.  Then came little aches and pains and stretching, fatigue (oh the fatigue!), and slightly more rapid weight gain before, and it slowly began to become apparent that this pregnancy would be a whole different experience than my first.  But being a stubborn strong-headed girl, I refused to listen to my body.  I would be fine, I thought, continuing to run and run and run.. working shift after shift at the restaurant, lugging the stroller up and down subway stairs without help, and sleeping just enough.  My body is strong, and, just like last time, could handle it...

About two weeks ago, Biet's molars began growing in.  I had heard about how tough they can be on little mouths when they first appear, but I was not prepared for the all-night marathons of tossing and turning and screaming that would ensue.  Suffice it to say, Gaby and I have been more sleep-deprived in the past ten days than ever before.  Yes, Biet's perfect little pearly whites have been rough on everyone.

The lack of sleep turned out to be the breaking point for my 26-week pregnant body.  A few days ago I "threw my back out." Not pulled a muscle or strained it- but full on threw it out.  I lost normal mobility in my neck and arms as a result, and could hardly turn my head or roll over in bed, let alone pick up a toddler.  Suddenly, standing up, making food, walking the dog, or taking a shower all became tedious painful endeavors.  And I finally realized that I must slow down.

This boy in my belly is growing and shifting and moving at such a rapid and healthy rate that my whole body has been thrown for a loop.  It was hard to admit to myself, but this time around, keeping my body balanced and healthy will take a lot more work.  I must stay conscious of how much I am pushing myself physically, how much sleep I am actually getting, and what each ache and pain is trying to tell me.

Its not easy when you realize that you are not superwoman, and its even harder to accept that its ok to not be a superwoman.  I have restrictions, I have limits, and balance is more important than getting everything done.  These are all lessons that I must learn.  It certainly helps to have a husband who quietly picks up the slack- who makes breakfast for everyone while you sleep that extra hour, who insists that you carry nothing while lugging fifty pounds of groceries home, who encourages early bedtimes (for the adults!) and nightly massages, while you keep thinking that you can do just one more thing at the end of the day.  I really couldn't do this without him.

My back and shoulders and neck are still sore and getting back to normal, although, thankfully, the major bouts of pain have ceased.  I am now treating this pregnancy as something completely unpredictable and unique, and attempting to pace each hour of each day. And I'm slowly getting used to being the one to sit on the sidelines and watch while Biet and Nico and Papa roughhouse on the bed.  I can be the big, pregnant, slow-moving Mama for awhile if that's what this baby boy needs. I'm even beginning to appreciate the stillness.

Now I'm wondering if my labor and recovery will be completely different from the first time as well. I'm curious to hear about other women's experiences with their second pregnancies. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

32 COMMENTS:

  1. For what it is worth, I've had 3 children-- all are now teenagers {and one is out of the house, believe it or not}. There are some generalities that you can anticipate, but for the most part, each experience was different. Each pregnancy, recovery & childhood had its own quirks & kinks, just like their wonderful personalities. Take it easy, & listen to your body-- it will let you know what you need to do!

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    1. Thanks Tabetha. Yes, I know that most important thing is to listen to my body. I have no doubts that my body and this baby will tell me exactly what they need as the weeks progress. xx

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  2. Can I say how blessed you were for having an easy pregnancy with Biet! My first was horrific. Everything from nausea to edema I had it! So I can feel your pain with the aches and pain. But, definitely take your advice and slow down! Your body is clearly telling you this. You'll be glad you did after having your little boy : )

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    1. People have told me how lucky I was, and I knew, but I didn't really *know*. This pregnancy has really not been bad at all either aside from a few quirks, but it is certainly not as carefree as the first. However, now I am taking moments to fully appreciate and thank my body for working so hard, and listening to what it tells me.

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  3. be very careful! glad your back is on the mend. i, like you, felt completely capable pregnant and threw my back out last thanksgiving moving nursery furniture around. i felt so silly when i had to tell people why i was immoble...like, duh! women in their 8th month of pregnancy shouldn't be moving furniture! as far as second pregnancies go, i wouldn't know but i hear from friends and family that the second labor seems to be easier.

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    1. Thanks Mia! I am being careful. Thats crazy that the same thing happened to you! I wasn't even doing anything tedious this time (it was more a cumulation of stress on my back over months), but I am definitely the type to move the whole house around while hugely pregnant, so I understand you! Last time, I was moving furniture hours before giving birth- ahhh so crazy! This time, things will be a bit more calm. :)

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  4. Oh my! i'm so sorry to hear about your back but glad to hear that it was nothing worst- for you or babe! My second pregnancy was harder (I already had a baby to take care of!) but the recovery the second time was way easier. I think because I actually knew how to take care of myself the 2nd time. With the first, there was so much preparation for the babe, no one teaches you how to care for yourself!! So with the 2nd one, I knew and was more prepared :) Plus we learned that those crazy hormones are just indeed hormone and laughing at the crying fest and milk everywhere is just a short season :)

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    1. Carrying a baby around adds a tremendous amount of stress to a pregnancy, I know! While this pregnancy has been more difficult physically, it has been so much easier mentally and spiritually. Like you, i know more now and am completely mentally prepared for this birth.

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  5. I so hope you are feeling better today. My second pregnancy was a little harder than my first... and my third the hardest of all. I think each pregnancy drains a bit out of the mama, and we have to give ourselves time to recover or our bodies will make us do it! I too go and go and go, and during my third pregnancy I ended up very sick about 20 weeks in, having to be hospitalized twice and losing quite a bit of weight. Luckily everything turned out fine and I have a healthy 14-month-old babe who is no worse for wear. But I think it's too easy to put unrealistic expectations on ourselves as mamas.

    The one really good thing is, I do agree that even though subsequent pregnancies are harder, the labor and delivery is easier (at least it was for me!). Rest, lady! :)

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    1. Thank you Lauren, I love reading your comments!
      Is it the pregnancy that drains us, or the running after and caring of more children? :) I know that taking care of Biet all day puts a lot more stress on my body than I experienced the first time around. Ahh the perils of motherhood!
      Its so good to hear that your labors were easier, though! I love to hear this. I know in my heart that this labor and delivery will be a good one, and hearing about your experience only makes me more sure.
      xx

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  6. wow, that is not a fun experience!! i hope everything is better now.

    xo,
    kristyn

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  7. she's getting cuter every day...

    sorry i had no time to read the text, but def will do it later. thank you for shring these cute pictures of your daughter!

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  8. Aren't husbands amazing? I have really bad morning sickness but my husband was so supportive. Each of my pregnancies (I have a 5 year old, 3 year and, and 9 month old) were different and each deliveries were faster and better. I hope you get your "normal" body back soon!

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    1. Thank you Marilyn! SO good to hear about your quicker and faster deliveries. I'll take one of those too, thank you!

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  9. I must admit, I too found my second pregnancy much more difficult than my first. However, my labour and recovery were both much quicker and easier! So there is a light at the end of the tunnel! :)

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    1. Oh I hope I can be as lucky! Good to hear that I am not alone in my experience with this pregnancy. Thank you!

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  10. Oh, my goodness! I can sympathize. I'm 18 weeks with my second child. The first one - my son - was a BREEZE. No nausea, aches, pains, or complaints to speak of. I (regretfully) thought everyone was joking; pregnancy was easy. Delivery was long-ish but manageable - natural. Recovery? I was walking to the cafeteria for something to eat an hour later! No joke!

    This one ... oh, boy. Super nausea until 15 weeks. Round ligament pain (did anyone else think it actually existed? I thought it was a hoax). Fatigue that's just unreal. I hate hate hattteee being the "token" pregnant lady, so I try not to complain. Instead, I have pity parties in my mind.

    I hope we both fair well with delivery and recovery! I'm sure we will. The female body is amazing in that way!

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    1. Oh I am wishing you the best lady!
      Round ligament pain, my gosh! I read about it everywhere the first time and never experienced it either! I thought they were exaggerating. But its real! Oh my, is it real!
      Its like last time my body took its time and gently eased into pregnancy, and this time- pow! Everything stretched, pulled, expanded, and shifted overnight.
      Here's wishing both an amazing labor and delivery!
      xx

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  11. Oh mama! You are doing a great job! Listening to your body is the best thing.

    XOXO,
    LaTonya

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  12. My second daughter is 4 months old and although I find the post pregnancy to be much easier than it was for me the first time around, the pre-natal phase was tough. I was doing great initially, was working, taking the train everyday, going to the gym etc until about 30 weeks when I just felt completely exhausted. I didn't have a hard time sleeping at all but was still very tired all the time. I had extreme swelling and I lost feeling in my fingers at night and then eventually all the time. I remember getting on the train one evening at 37 weeks pregnant and almost fainting, luckily I was sitting near 5 women who noticed and helped me out. I stopped working that week and rested for the last few weeks. My daughter was 10 days late, I had to be given pitocin for 2 days before she was finally born. Not as planned but all worth it.

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    1. Oh wow that sounds like it was rough at times! My midwives say that their number one emergency call in the winter is from patients who faint on the subway! They tell me to immediately take off layers as soon as I get in a subway car, because the change in temperature causes fainting if you are pregnant. Im so glad there were women there to help you out when you experienced that!

      The exhaustion thing has been rough for me too, but I am getting by. Its so good to hear that your postpartum recovery was easier! That is something I am a bit worried about, so I'm hoping that my experience is the same!
      xx

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  13. I had two identical pregnancies (don't be jealous, I get debilitating sickness from weeks 6-20 but then I feel great) but I am realizing that things definitely were a little different the second time around. First pregnancy I was a pastry baker and worked on my feet in the bakery until the day my daughter was born (she was 2 weeks early). The 2nd time I was a stay at home mom which was still obviously very physical BUT I really took advantage of rest time. I would never feel guilty about napping for hours with my daughter, or spending the afternoon reading books with her on the couch. I know my body needed that rest and once I got over admitting that to myself, it was wonderful to enjoy! We bought a house when I was 7 months pregnant the 2nd time and I really overdid it with the packing and painting and not getting enough sleep. I felt AWFUL. I thought I had successfully ruined the rest of my pregnancy. But I took it really easy for a few weeks and bounced back to feeling great, having an incredibly easy delivery and I literally bounced out of bed when my son was born and never looked back. I also swear by the Shiva Rea prenatal yoga dvd. It is kind of goofy and really gentle but it always felt sooooo good and I swear it helps with delivery and recovery.

    Good luck to you! Listen to your body and take advantage of all the rest you can get in these last few months!

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    1. Thank you Ollie! Your words are so inspiring. I can completely relate to both your food-industry job as well as your stay at home mom duties. I am still waitressing but I also know that I need to be taking advantage of my down time on my days home with Biet. I just always think to myself that there is so much to do!
      I hope to now make an effort now to really relax (while I still can!) and to stretch and do more yoga. Thank you for the recommendation!
      xx

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  14. Just wanted to tell you that I am not even remotely a yogi (mostly just walk and wrangle kiddos) and I was always able to follow the 1st and 2nd trimester workout until the end. The 3rd tri workout seems super lame on the Shiva Rea.

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    1. Thanks! I think I'm the same as you- my exercise routine consists of walking and wrangling a toddler. I will definitely check out this yoga dvd!

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