Although there are a few drawbacks to this not being my first pregnancy (I started showing a lot sooner, I knew what symptoms I was already dreading), I’ve liked going into this pregnancy feeling like I at least knew mostly what to expect and what was going on. And, importantly, I also knew what things I definitely wanted to do differently this time around.
When I was pregnant with Raven, I was teaching full-time and quite busy with my church calling at the time (serving as the secretary in the stake Young Women’s organization), and because I’d eagerly been reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting, I felt like I was reasonably well-informed about most things pregnancy (which, for a first-timer, I probably was). It also helped that many of my friends already had kids, and I could also look to my sisters and mom for advice. All that is to say that for a first-timer who was crazy busy, I felt like I handled my first pregnancy pretty well in most respects.
However, despite my first time going pretty well, I still learned the hard way (from personal experience) that there were some things I definitely wanted to change the next time around.
Here are three things I’m doing way differently this pregnancy:
1. I am being much more careful about my weight gain. Specifically, I am making myself continue to exercise throughout the pregnancy.
When I was pregnant with Raven (or I should say, right before I got pregnant with Raven), my only form of exercise at the time was basically running, which I did very regularly at least 2-3 times a week (and doing around 2-5 miles at a stretch). Ever since training for my first marathon back in 2012, I’d relied almost exclusively on running to keep me fit and my weight in check. However, as I quickly learned with that first pregnancy, running + first trimester symptoms = seriously no bueno for me. In fact, I went on my LAST run of that pregnancy at only 6.5 weeks pregnant, and by the time I felt well enough to pick it back up again, it was too late—my round ligament pain was too intense and awful for me to get back into it.
My further mistake was that I just decided that since running was too difficult, ALL exercise must be too difficult, so I stopped doing any form of real movement whatsoever, at least until the third trimester or so when I started trying to curb my excess weight gain by starting to fit in more walks.
All in all, I gained 50 pounds with that pregnancy, and after it took me a whole year of regular (and at times strict) dieting and exercise to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, I VOWED that I would never let myself gain that much weight in a pregnancy again because it is simply a BEAST to get off (at least for my body).
Ideally, I am going to try pretty hard to stay in the recommended 25-35 lbs. of weight gain this pregnancy, and with my current weight gain of 5 pounds at 14 weeks, I’m right on track. I chalk this up to the fact that I haven’t had hardly any appetite, but I also am chalking it up more to the fact that I’ve made myself keep exercising this pregnancy, even if I haven’t always wanted to. I’ve discovered that when I go to my exercise classes, the first 10-15 minutes are always pretty miserable and I wonder why I came, but then after that, I feel FANTASTIC and don’t even notice the nausea or fatigue or tender body parts anymore. (Needless to say, I am not currently running, though I do plan to start back up again with that after I deliver.)
So, I’m going to keep exercising as long as I can this pregnancy. For me, that will mean continuing to go to my hour-long exercise classes (hip hop and Zumba) two or three times a week and fitting in some basic strength training (squats, planks (while I still can), bicep curls, etc.). If I get to the point where I’m uncomfortable doing the intensity of the aerobics classes, then I will start going on long walks (since, by that point, the weather will probably allow me to do so pretty easily).
2. I am allowing myself to take medications for nausea, sleep problems, etc.
Seeing as I was planning on a natural, unmedicated childbirth with Raven (and am still planning on doing that for this baby), it made sense that I also bought into the philosophy that I should seek out the most natural ways of alleviating symptoms that I could and foregoing any medications that weren’t necessary. For me, that meant that even though I felt SO awful with nausea all throughout the first trimester with my first pregnancy, I still stubbornly refused to take any pills my doctor offered that would help alleviate it, preferring instead to suffer (and not in silence, either).
While I do still try to not take medications unless they’re absolutely necessary, I went ahead and took the nurse’s suggestion of anti-nausea meds the second it was offered this time. And it’s helped me SO much. Sure, I’ve still felt sick—but not so sick that I wanted to die, or so sick that I just wanted to moan and cry all the time with how terrible I felt. I guess only time will tell, but so far, the baby looks healthy despite me taking the anti-nausea meds, so I think that is something I will probably take advantage of from now on.
3. I am making sure I take a lot more pictures of myself during this pregnancy.
This might sound strange (and maybe I’m just vain), but I am SO SAD now that I have hardly ANY pictures of myself when I was pregnant with Raven. Basically, I reached a point sometime early in the third trimester where I just felt so huge and gross that I just refused to let Matt take any pictures of me, so I have very few of myself later on. I also wasn’t that good at taking pictures earlier in the pregnancy, either, so all in all, I just don’t have very many pictures of myself during that first pregnancy.
Being such a picture-oriented person (you know, being a photographer and all), this just makes me sad. And of course, the passage of time helped me see a lot more clearly, too—when I now look at the few pictures I do have, I just look back with fondness at that time, and how I had no idea just how wonderful it would be to have that baby (Raven) in my life. Sure, my face might be a little puffy and my ankles and joints all swollen-looking, but I don’t really care about those things when I look at the pictures currently.
So, to remedy that, I have been making Matt take a picture of me every Sunday right after church so that we at least have one picture of me every week. As my bump gets a little bigger, I’ll start doing a side shot too (in fact, I’ll probably start that this Sunday), but all the pics of my first trimester are just head-on, since there wasn’t much to see bump-wise (though in subsequent pregnancies, maybe I’ll change even that).
Basically, I just want to make sure that I’m not bowing out of pictures just because I don’t always feel like I look my best while pregnant, and I know I’ll love having those pictures later on.
As for a general update up on my pregnancy, I’m overall starting to head out of the first-trimester fog of nausea and fatigue, but as the flu took me down hard last week, I haven’t been able to enjoy it much yet. My appetite is still SUPER picky (meaning, I don’t hardly have one at all), and unfortunately, when I do get cravings for food that sounds good, it’s almost always for food from a drive-through or some form of takeout, so our budget’s taken a bit of a hit the past few months. I know Matt’s looking forward to the day when I actually start cooking dinner again (I’m thinking that that time is not too far off now), and I’m just looking forward to feeling well enough to actually feel like I can pull my own weight around here, as the house has been a bit of a disaster for about 3 months now, and I think Raven has forgotten what it was like to not have a mom who is sick all the time.
People have been asking me if I want a boy or a girl, and I tell them that all I want is to feel like a functioning human being again with a healthy baby inside me, regardless of its gender. As for inklings one way or another, I have wondered if I’m going to have a boy just because this pregnancy has felt very different in many ways from my pregnancy before, but seeing as I was sure Raven was a boy, I no longer trust that particular instinct. Either way, we have a name picked out, so we’re good (and no, I’m not going to tell you what it is yet).
Now I just have to wait until mid-February to see our little nugget again and find out what we’re having for sure!
Other pregnancy-related posts you might be interested from that first time around:
What a Difference 7 Months Makes, Eh? (in the future, maybe I won’t take pictures of me at 2 months pregnant and at 9 months pregnant wearing similar clothing)
7 Things Never to Say to a Pregnant Woman (all of which I personally heard)
Mamas who have had multiple pregnancies—were there any things you did differently during subsequent pregnancies that you didn’t do during your first? If so, I’d love to hear all about it!