Our little baby is one week old today. I can’t get over how different things have felt this time around. My experience with son, who is now 23 months old, was very different. Different pregnancy, different birth, different post-partum experience.
Big Brother: I felt amazing throughout. I did yoga, I felt connected to the little baby growing in my belly, and I felt very emotional about the whole experience (in a good way). I was obsessed with reading every pregnancy book I came across. I had very little morning sickness – I felt good as long as I had food in my belly. I had clear aversions (yogurt, hummus, cakes and pastries) and clear cravings (grapefruit and eggs). I felt beautiful, healthy, and full of energy – despite some sleepless nights. I did have about a month where I experienced extreme pain in my butt. Like up at night crying kind of pain. I didn’t get any stretch marks and my belly never really got that big – I think the biggest I measured was 35 (not good seeing as your fundal measurements should coincide with the weeks – and if they don’t they should at least progress, which it didn’t).
Little Sister: I did not enjoy being pregnant with her. I felt tired all the time, I felt frumpy, and I was very sore. I wasn’t interested in reading any of my pregnancy books. I had awful morning sickness and keeping food in my belly did not help. Nothing really helped. I didn’t have any cravings. I didn’t even enjoy food all that much. I had a bit of the same butt pain, but I realized early on that the more I moved/exercised, the more I aggravated it. So I didn’t do any exercises – at all. And I for sure gained more weight, though I never weighed my self. But I could feel it. I didn’t get any stretch marks and my belly was bigger – which I was happy about. I was measuring bang on for this little one. All in all, there was simply no magic in this one and I couldn’t wait for this pregnancy to end.
Big Brother: His birth was amazing. It was calm, it came on gradually and I felt very little pain. It started with mild backache at 11pm which turned into contractions. At 2 am I took a shower and zoned out, staring at the water droplets on the wall and just let each contraction flow over me. I woke my husband up at 6 am and we headed to the birth centre at 8 am. I was 6 cm dilated and got right into the tub. He was born into my arms in the water at 10:30. He had some issues with his lungs so they took him right away and I shakily made my way out of the tub. I was so cold, I couldnt’ stop shaking and my blood pressure dropped significantly. They passed him back to me and I held him while they stitched me up (three small stitches). Four hours later we were home in bed.
Little Sister: Hers was a little more primal. It came on very quickly, no backache, just right to the contractions. It started at 2 am and I woke my husband up at 3 am, knowing that this one could come quickly. We called the midwives right away and told them we wanted to go to the birth centre, but I couldn’t get ahold of my sister to come watch our son, so we decided to stick with the home birth plan. Three midwives – two I had never met – came to the house at 4:15 am. My dog went crazy, barking and barking, and they made a lot of commotion setting every thing up. It was not relaxing. I spent the whole time feeling uncomfortable in our living room and the contractions picked up so quickly, the TENS machine wasn’t doing it for me. I wanted her out so I tried pushing before I felt the urge. Obviously no go. I made my way upstairs (crawling naked, writhing through the pain) to get in the shower. The second the water hit my back my water broke and two pushes later my baby girl was in my arms. She had her cord wrapped all around her (like, multiple times) but that wasn’t a problem. My husband then came into the bathroom with our son and I felt so relieved that it was over. I had no tearing (yes!) and my vitals were all great. She was doing incredibly well and the midwives hung out downstairs while we snuggled in bed.
Big Brother: Right after he was born I felt shell shocked. I didn’t recognize my eyes when I looked in the mirror and I felt really shook up. It really hurt to pee (stitches) and I was very shaky, physically, for well over two weeks. I had the worst hemorrhoids and I felt like my insides were going to fall out of me (tmi, sorry). Even though I had a great birth experience, I had trouble processing it. He had a lot of issues in that first week – jaundiced, lethargic, wouldn’t latch, wasn’t peeing or pooping as much as he should be and all that left me incredibly anxious. I couldn’t sleep. I lost my appetite. I cried a lot. I was so consumed with a worry that didn’t go away until about three months in.
Little Sister: I can’t get over how great I feel. My physical recovery has been extremely easy. Everything is pretty much back to normal down there and besides being tired I’m feeling really good. Happy. I was only weepy and emotional one day – the day my milk came in, and other than that things just feel really normal. She is an amazing breastfeeder – latched right after birth and stayed on the breast for over an hour. She continues to nurse beautifully and she even sleeps on her own – without me needing to check on her every five minutes!
In the end..
We don’t get to chose our pregnancies, birth stories, babies temperaments, or hormonal reactions after we give birth – but we do get to chose how to feel about them. And I’m done feeling negatively about the first few months of my sons life. Yes, it was hard. Yes, it was scary. But he’s amazing and always has been. And I do wish things had gone differently with my daughters birth, but it brought me her and she’s incredible.
So all I’m choosing to feel is happy and forever grateful for these two perfect beings who I get to call mine.