The Mom Whose Second Pregnancy Revolves Around Her Toddler
In our new series Pregnancy Diaries, we ask expecting women to jot down every pregnancy-related detail of their lives for a week. (Special thanks to New York mag and Refinery29 for the inspo.) Work-related conundrums, struggles with IVF and a whole lot of nausea ahead. For our eighth entry, we have a 33-year-old part-time publicist from Connecticut who’s 25 weeks along. She and her husband of almost eight years have a “spirited” 2-1/2-year-old girl and don’t know the sex of baby No. 2.
How long did it take you to conceive?
It took just a couple of months to conceive baby No. 2. My cycle has tended to fluctuate month-to-month since having my daughter, so it was a bit of a challenge to track accurately. We’ve been incredibly fortunate and have not experienced any fertility issues to date.
Any other details relevant to your pregnancy?
Our daughter was born three weeks and one day early, and I gave birth less than three hours after my water broke. This is known as precipitous labor, and it’s not the most normal scenario for someone’s first baby. Oh, and my husband was traveling on business at the time! Luckily, my parents live nearby, and my mom was able to meet me at the hospital. I had accumulated all of the “stuff” I needed for the baby, but I was not ready to give birth or bring a baby home. Needless to say, the big theme of this pregnancy is PREPARATION. I hope to have everything ready for baby No. 2 at least four weeks before my due date so that we’re not caught off guard this time. Of course, this is easier said than done when most of my days are spent catering to the needs and whims of a 2-1/2-year-old.
I’ll refer to the new baby here as “the baby” or “it.” We don’t know the gender! We also kept our daughter’s gender a surprise. I’m very Type A and typically need to know every detail about everything, but this is one area of life where I truly feel that ignorance is bliss.
7 a.m. — Rise and shine! My daughter (we’ll call her S) usually wakes up around 6:30 a.m., but she’s content to hang out in her crib for a little while and I use that extra time to wake myself up. In an ideal world, I would get up before her and eat breakfast, but she knows if I’m up and my plans for early morning productivity are always thwarted. We head downstairs and make a smoothie to share — almond milk, strawberries, raspberries, chia seeds and cacao powder — and I fix myself a bowl of Kashi Blueberry Clusters and a cup of coffee. Decaf. The horror. I quit caffeine when I was pregnant with S and it has made me feel really sick ever since.
10:30 a.m. — Our weekly playgroup was rescheduled to an earlier time today, so we skip Mommy & Me gymnastics class and head to playgroup. (Chase S around a large gym or sit on the floor while she plays with friends? I’ll take the latter!)
12 p.m. — It’s a ridiculously beautiful day, and S does not want to get in the car to go home after playgroup. I promise her we can go for a walk right after we eat lunch at home. I make her a PB&J sandwich and slice up an apple, and suddenly I feel like my blood sugar has plummeted and like I might pass out. S is desperate to go outside and can’t understand that I need to quickly eat some food and sit down for a little while. I inhale a PB&J, two clementines and several glasses of water and start to feel better.
1 p.m. — OK, let’s take that walk! We live within walking distance of town, so S gets into her favorite pink push car and off we go. I’m pretty sure I’m going to die after walking up the hill from my house to the main road. It’s a perfect day for a treat, and I decide that our destination will be the gelato shop.
2 p.m. — Nap time for S! I use nap time to tackle dishes from the morning and early afternoon, catch up on work emails and take care of any work items that have popped up and need my attention.
7:30 p.m. — I keep S up late because my husband hasn’t seen her all week. He works in finance in NYC and has an hourlong train ride to and from work every day. He puts S to bed before jumping in the car to drive to Vermont for the night. I bailed on our trip this weekend after looking at weather reports, and he needs to pick up some of his ski gear before a trip next week. (Note: No, I’m not skiing while pregnant!)
8 p.m. — I chat with my college roommate, who just gave birth to twins one week ago. The box of goodies that I sent her arrived today. Hooray! I do a final kitchen cleanup and shut the house down.
9 p.m. — I wash and dry my hair and catch up on some TV before falling asleep around 11. So far, I’ve been sleeping really well without too many restless nights or middle-of-the-night bathroom trips. I tell myself the baby knows that Mama needs her sleep.
"Pregnancy is an afterthought most days, but sometimes the realization that a baby is coming soon hits me like a bolt of lightning and sends me into a tizzy."
6:30 a.m. — Our two cats are clamoring for breakfast, so I roll myself out of bed to tend to them before they start fighting directly outside of S’s room.
7 a.m. — S gets up and opts for blueberry waffles for breakfast, while I once again settle on Kashi Blueberry Clusters. This has been my daily go-to breakfast since getting past the first trimester. I never threw up during the first trimester with this baby, but I generally felt nauseous all day, every day and could rarely eat anything more than an English muffin or chicken noodle soup. With S, I threw up every morning from weeks 6 to 14 but felt fine the rest of the day.
8:45 a.m. — It’s going to rain this afternoon and I want to make sure that we stretch our legs and get some fresh air today, so I suggest to S that we get dressed and go to the Nature Center in town for a walk. I have to borrow a sweatshirt from my husband because all of mine are too tight now. It "only" takes us 45 minutes to pull ourselves together and get out the door.
11:30 a.m. — My husband is back home, and we take S to the diner for lunch. I get a Buffalo chicken salad because I am a sucker for Buffalo chicken, but the salad makes me feel like I’m making an effort to be healthy. I also steal pickles from S and my husband.
2 p.m. — My husband takes S up to her room for her nap, but she asks for me to come up to read her a book and put her to bed. I’m planning to clean my room this afternoon while she naps.
4:30 p.m. — Oops. I fell asleep and got nothing done! As a general rule in life, I really don’t like to take naps. Pregnancy is just about the only time I make an exception.
5:30 p.m. — We always get the most delicious macaroni and cheese on our way home from Vermont, and my husband dutifully picked one up this morning to make for dinner tonight. Sadly, it’s a bad batch. It looks and tastes terrible. Just looking at it makes my stomach turn and I can’t bear to think about eating anything. I don’t tend to have specific food aversions during pregnancies, but some days I struggle to find anything that I’m willing to eat. This evening, I force myself to at least eat a toasted English muffin so that I get something in my stomach.
9 p.m. — After getting S to bed and tidying up the main floor of the house, I make a mug of peppermint tea and head to the basement with my husband to watch Planet Earth II.
7 a.m. — My husband gets up to get S from her crib but we all have get up, so I groggily follow them downstairs.
9:45 a.m. — S has swimming lessons on Sunday mornings, which are my husband’s domain. We’ve been away most weekends this winter, but it’s so nice to have a little time in the house by myself this morning! I make an egg and cheese on an English muffin and have a second cup of coffee. I realize I’m going to have a baby in about three months and spend my alone time scurrying around the house finding homes for some stray, out-of-place items. Pregnancy is an afterthought most days, but sometimes the realization that a baby is coming soon hits me like a bolt of lightning and sends me into a tizzy.
2 p.m. — I finish up my grocery list and go shopping for the week while S naps. We usually shop on Monday mornings, and while it’s a definite treat to stroll the aisles of Whole Foods by myself, I miss my shopping buddy. I always load up on lots of fresh fruits and veggies to snack on throughout the week. I’ve been drawn to a lot of citrus fruit during this pregnancy. I love to have grapefruit with breakfast whenever I have time, and I snack on clementines throughout the day. I had to have a red bell pepper every single day when I was pregnant with S, but I haven’t eaten them nearly as often during this pregnancy.
I consider shopping a success because I kept myself from coming home with a ton of junk food. I maintained a very healthy diet when I was pregnant with S and rarely craved any kind of junk food. In fact, junk food made me feel really sick over the entire course of my first pregnancy. This time, I want all of the candy, cookies and ice cream you can toss my way. It’s a daily struggle to make sure I’m giving the baby the right nutrients and keeping my weight in check.
4 p.m. — My husband managed to edit a video of S skiing, put all of her toys away in the basement, and vacuum that room while I was out shopping. He is amazing and also makes me feel like the laziest person on the planet. I bought a single Sumo orange at the store and eat it right when I get home. I immediately regret not buying the store’s entire stock and will literally dream about Sumo oranges for the next week.
6 p.m. — The Academy Awards are on tonight, and even though I haven’t seen a single nominated film, I’ll watch red carpet coverage and the entire awards show broadcast. We get Chinese takeout for dinner and eat as a family before I return to the couch. I get the night off from being Mom. (Truthfully, my husband does most of the heavy lifting with S on the weekends anyway.)
8 p.m. — I bought ingredients to make skillet s’mores for dessert, and all I want is peppermint tea and a big bowl of fresh berries. I am simultaneously proud of myself and disappointed.
"The baby... is constantly battering my bladder."
6:15 a.m. – I wake up after hearing S stirring in her crib, but there’s no way we’re getting up yet. I have to use the bathroom, but it’s just not worth getting out of bed right now.
6:30 a.m. — I look at the baby monitor again and notice that S is no longer in her crib! I am momentarily alarmed but decide that there’s nothing she can get into trouble with in her room, so I leave her to play with her books while I wake myself up.
6:40 a.m. — I hear a door open and S is suddenly in my room saying, “Hi, Mommy!” Terrific. Not only can she climb out of her crib, but she also can get out of her room. This is not a developmental milestone that I am looking to deal with three months before we have a new baby.
9 a.m. — S and I head out for a playdate at a trampoline park with my best friend and her daughter, who is just four months younger than S. My best friend is due with her second baby exactly two months after me, and we are trying to squeeze in as much time together with our girls as we can before the babies arrive. I’m so grateful to experience pregnancy with her again. I always have someone to text throughout the day who’s facing similar toddler, parenting and pregnancy issues.
10:30 a.m. — The baby feels really low today and is constantly battering my bladder. This is not an ideal feeling as I chase a toddler across a sea of trampolines.
2 p.m. — I’m so tired after a full morning and partial afternoon of really active play with S. I think about making a salad for lunch after putting her down for a nap, but there are three untouched quarters of a perfectly good PB&J sandwich sitting on a plate. I’d love to lie down for a little while, but I need to take care of some work emails this afternoon. I also order a couple of books for S about being a big sister to help her get ready for the baby.
8 p.m. — Leftovers of last night’s takeout for dinner tonight. I’m starving and eat most of mine while my husband is still preparing his plate. We head to the basement to catch up on Homeland.
9 p.m. — My husband is organizing for our weekly garbage pickup. I help by emptying the various small trash cans around the house while he cleans the litter boxes one more time and takes the garbage can and recycling bin to the end of the driveway.
10 p.m. — Early to bed! I’m exhausted from staying up late last night and a busy day with S. The baby starts kicking me as soon as I lie down, but I’m too tired for it to bother me today.
7 a.m. — S did not climb out of bed this morning. Phew. Perhaps it was a one-time thing.
9 a.m. — My mom arrives to pick S up for the day. This is a good time to mention that our lives do not function without my mom. She’s exceedingly flexible and generous with her time, and I don’t know what we would do without her. My mom takes S two days a week, and I use those days as my full workdays. I’m extremely lucky to be able to work part-time, mostly from home, for the same PR firm that I was with full-time for nearly 10 years before having S.
9:30 a.m. — I settle down at my desk with my Kashi Blueberry Clusters and coffee after quickly getting dressed and pulling myself together for the day. Even though I work from home and spend a lot of time on the floor or chasing after a toddler, I need to get dressed in real clothes every day (read: no yoga pants for this mom, but to each their own!). It helps me feel like a human and have a productive day.
11:15 a.m. — I receive a call that my furniture delivery will arrive within 10 minutes, so I take a quick break from work. I unload the dishwasher, eat a clementine and refill my water cup while I wait. The delivery arrives — a new dresser that will either go to S or the baby — and I forgot that it would come fully assembled. The baby’s room is currently my office and guest room, and I haven’t “moved out” yet. The deliverymen are confused when I ask them to leave the dresser in the box and put it against the wall in my living room, but that is where it will live for the next month or so. Good luck to my husband and whichever friend he recruits to help him move it upstairs.
1 p.m. — The baby is kicking up a storm, and I look at the clock and realize that I haven’t eaten lunch. I was extremely disciplined about my eating schedule when I was pregnant with S, and this baby is typically kicking me to say, “Excuse me? Hello? I’m hungry down here!” I make a salad with spinach, black olives, feta cheese, walnuts and red bell pepper and head back to my desk.
3:30 p.m. — I dial into a conference call that I primarily need to listen to and multitask by looking for overhead light fixtures for each of the bedrooms in the house. None of the bedrooms currently have overhead lights, but it’s not a huge project. We’ll have them installed sometime before the baby arrives.
4:30 p.m. — I don’t have any additional work items to take care of today, so I take advantage of the extra time and make two phone calls that have been sitting on my to-do list. I make a 2-1/2-year well visit with the pediatrician for S and call the hospital where I will deliver the baby to take care of preregistration details. The hospital tells me that I’ll also have to stop by in person to sign a few forms, and I make a note in my calendar to take care of that when I’m near the hospital following my next OB-GYN appointment in three weeks. Then I start dinner prep before S gets home: lemon-garlic shrimp with whole-wheat penne.
6:30 p.m. — S’s new stall tactic to avoid bedtime is to ask for a “quick bath” every night as we’re heading upstairs. She doesn’t need a bath today, but I’m not in a mood to argue with her and it gives us something to do before she goes to bed. There is one bathtub/shower that we share, and the bathtub is tall. It’s increasingly difficult for me to bathe her, but my husband doesn’t get home early enough during the week to help with that task.
8 p.m. — I chat with my college roommate again. She has some questions about breastfeeding and pumping. I can’t remember the answers to her questions off the top of my head, but I know exactly where my feeding and pumping logs are from when S was a newborn and consult them. As I review my notes from those early days, I am reminded of how incessant a newborn’s needs are and jokingly ask myself why I signed up for this again. Mild panic about life with a toddler and newborn sets in.
9 p.m. — I can’t drink, but I can have a bowl of ice cream. It’s the little things that keep me going.
10 p.m. — Catch up with my husband, who worked late today, and catch up on news of the day. I don’t get much time to read or watch the news during the day anymore and I don’t have a TV in my office, so I often bookmark articles to read at night sometime between getting S to bed and falling asleep myself.
9:15 a.m. — S and I head out for Mommy & Me class at the Nature Center. This is S’s favorite weekly activity, and it’s a great way for us to spend some time outdoors. I grab a Nature Valley granola square for myself as we leave the house because I know I’ll be starving once class is over.
11 a.m. — We are back home after getting caught in a storm at the Nature Center. I can’t zip my raincoat over my stomach, so I’m wet and freezing cold.
2 p.m. — I make avocado toast for lunch, which seems to satisfy the baby, and jump onto the computer to tackle a project for work that I want to send to a client tomorrow morning. I also use my time during S’s nap today to educate myself about potty training and review recommended potty-training products on Lucie’s List. S has to be potty trained for preschool in September, and the thought of trying to do it this summer with a newborn makes me shudder. We’ll tackle that in April.
5:30 p.m. — I have some chicken breasts in the fridge that I need to use, and I intended to marinate them earlier in the day but never got the chance. I settle on a dry rub and serve it with cauliflower rice and broccoli. The baby is happy that I’m eating a real meal at what it deems a reasonable time. S devours it and asks for more, and I hope that the baby develops her taste for vegetables.
8 p.m. — My husband heads out to play soccer, and I throw in a load of laundry and wash my hair. Quick showers are easy, but washing and drying my hair is a time commitment. My blow dryer and dry shampoo are really important tools these days! I look at my stomach and lament that it looks like I might not make it through this pregnancy without my belly button “popping.” It didn’t happen with S, and it freaks me out, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
10 p.m. — We head to bed, but I’ve been stressed that the light fixtures and remaining nursery furniture that I have picked out won’t be available if I wait any longer to order them. I make those purchases and while I’ve got my laptop open, I reach out to two local photographers about booking a newborn session.
"I can’t drink, but I can have a bowl of ice cream. It’s the little things that keep me going."
5:45 a.m. — I get up extra early to see my husband off for the day since he’ll leave for his ski trip straight from the office this afternoon. This is the last time he’s allowed to travel far away from home before the baby arrives. We’re not taking any chances this time!
6:30 a.m. — I’m enjoying a cup of coffee and catching up on some news when, lo and behold, S opens her bedroom door and is looking for me. She comes downstairs and we make a smoothie. I make a mental note to order a toddler clock on Amazon.
9:00 a.m. — I’m going to work from my parents’ house today. We’re leaving later than I’d hoped, but we’re finally in the car and on our way. My parents are puppy-sitting for one of my sisters, and my best friend and her daughter are coming over for a puppy playdate and lunch. There’s no way I’m missing out on that fun!
12:30 p.m. — I join the crew for a quick lunch after addressing morning emails and dialing into a few conference calls. My mom picked up deli sandwiches for everyone, and yes, I eat cold cuts for lunch. I’m very diligent about avoiding most of the pregnancy no-nos, but I will occasionally make an exception for an easy (and delicious) lunch.
2 p.m. — Loft and The Gap are having enticing sales today, so I take a break to peruse their websites. I try to be very judicious about the maternity clothing that I buy, and I always wait for a sale. Most of my maternity clothing needs fell over the summer with S, while this time I’ve needed winter clothing. I’m also home this time rather than in an office every day. Of course, I mostly end up buying things for S. Because what toddler doesn’t need white jeans for summer?
6 p.m. — S and I get home and I make my ultimate lazy dinner: quinoa with black beans, corn and cheddar cheese. I add Sriracha to mine and a little enchilada sauce to S’s.
8 p.m. — I’m determined to be productive while my husband is away, and I head upstairs to clean my room. Three hours later, I’ve purged and reorganized my closet and dealt with a lot of the disorder that was driving me batty.
11 p.m. — My hips and feet are in so much pain. I can barely move. I’ve been lucky so far in this pregnancy to not be afflicted with many aches or pains, but I really regret when I stay on my feet too long or overexert myself. The cats have been staring at me for an hour and are grateful when I climb into bed so they can settle down into their spots for the night and go to sleep. I turn on HGTV to quiet my brain, and the baby starts its late-night acrobatics. I’m pretty sure this one is going to be trouble.
My pregnancy sounds like it revolves around S, and truthfully, it does. I read the pregnancy and baby books when I was pregnant with her, and I don’t need to worry about finding every single “just right” item for the baby this time around. Barring complications, I know what to expect from labor/delivery, postpartum recovery and a newborn and know that I can handle it. My job right now is to make sure that S is taken care of and feels loved, and I’m more focused on making sure that she’s ready for the new addition to our family.
Originally posted on StyleCaster.