Why Every Pregnancy Really Is Different
It's a familiar refrain: "Every pregnancy is different; every birth is different; every baby is different."
I know, I know!
Or: I thought I knew.
I thought, when people said that every pregnancy is different, they meant physically. I had tons of symptoms during my first (eleven week) pregnancy; a handful of symptoms during my second; and almost none (so far) with my third.
But it turns out there's more to it than that.
Emotionally, it's different, too.
Here's what's surprising me this time around:
Forgetting I'm PregnantFriends with multiple children had told me about this. The way they told it, second time around, they were so focused on stopping their toddler from hurling themselves off the top of the climbing frame that they didn't have time to think about being pregnant.
That's not quite the case with me.
In fact, the only time I do really think about being pregnant is at about 3pm when I'm trying to stay both focused on my toddler and semi-conscious, despite the sudden, crushing, overwhelming need for a nap. No amount of cajoling can make MM sit in front of the TV for the two hours before Steve gets home from work - those two hours are allocated in her mental calendar as the "jumping on the bed, turning the sofa into a bus and reading Hello In There 57,000 times" slot. There was one beautiful afternoon when getting me to lie on the bed while she tucked me in and shoved bump wedges and knee cushions into their appropriate places was The Best Game Ever, but the novelty has sadly worn off.
But, yes, I do forget I'm pregnant. So much so that I can't even tell you which fruit or vegetable is a comparable size to the foetus this week. Because I haven't felt pregnant for the past twenty-one weeks. There was no queasiness; there's no sense of heaviness; there's none of the organs-being-shoved-aside-and-pelvis-being-jacked-apart discomfort. All there is is tiredness and, you know: I've been through the newborn days and I'm now in the toddler-who-doesn't-take-a-nap stage; tiredness doesn't seem all that significant a symptom to me.
In fact, I feel so not pregnant that the other day, when a significantly older lady offered me her seat on a crowded bus, I assumed it was because I had a toddler with me. It wasn't until we were almost home that I remembered about my obvious bump.
Assuming I Know More About The Kid Than I DoWith our first, we didn't find out the sex until she was born. She was a complete unknown. The only clue we had to her personality was that she kicked non-stop from 10am-10pm most days but didn't move at night. We had hoped that this would mean she would sleep through from early on. She did not. What it actually meant was that she doesn't see a lot of point in naps.
This time around, we do know the sex (and, no, I'm still not going to tell you).
And it doesn't matter that I think the sex of a baby means very little - that I think they all look much the same, despite the enormous pink bows strapped to their heads or the Wall Street braces clipped to their joggers; that I believe they all behave in entirely non-gendered ways, until such time as pop culture exerts its influence; that I don't think it makes any difference whatsoever (beyond the "how long can they share a bedroom?" question) whether we're having a girl or a boy - knowing this one thing about the kid makes me feel as though I should know all the details of their personality. How can I know whether they have an X or a Y chromosome and not know whether they'll like dancing or climbing or books or (I've heard rumours such kids exist) even broccoli?
I feel like, because we're not waiting to find out everything about them, we shouldn't have to wait to find out anything.
Feeling ReadyIn the last few months of my pregnancy with MM, I felt simultaneously impatient to hold my baby and terrified that we weren't going to be ready in time. What if the bedroom she wasn't going to sleep in for around six months wasn't painted before she arrived? What if we (somehow) forgot to assemble the crib? What if we should have bought a nappy bin and a baby monitor after all?
The list of Things To Do Before The Baby Arrives was long, expensive (hello, complete rewire of the flat) and wasn't fully scored out until days before the due date.
And then we still spent fifteen mortified minutes in the hospital waiting room, trying to figure out how to adjust the straps on the car seat.
This time around, I'm baffled by how much more pregnancy I still have to go. Almost half of the total time? Ridiculous!
Because we're ready.
We have everything we need. Even the things we needed to replace (the annoyingly small crib; the buggy which sheds mysterious pieces of itself; the bottle teats we may or may not end up using) have been dealt with. The smallest baby clothes are down from the attic.
We're so ready we even know how we're going to go about swapping bedrooms with the kids - them to the big room; us to the small one - in roughly ten months' time. The furniture is arranged in my head; I'm thinking about paint colours; I don't understand why I'm having to wait.
There is the small matter of figuring out what we're going to do with MM while I'm in labour, but we've got so many offers of help that I figure - with an Excel spreadsheet and a bit of luck - that that will all fall into place.
In the meantime, I'm having to remind myself that mid-July is probably too early to invite our friends for a "why am I still pregnant?" curry towards the end of November.