Monday, September 26, 2011

here we go again

this is a somewhat secretive post. i'm assuming there are only 4 people who actually look at this blog.

so, my radio silence has been directly related to: finishing the dissertation, moving from cambridge to toronto,  matthew going back to cambridge for a month to work, everyone heading to southern california for 3 weeks, the beginning of the semester, and oh yeah, pregnancy.

everything that was so great about the first time isn't present this time (aside from the happiness of actually being pregnant).

now v. then:
constant nausea from week 6 to week 13 v. 1 hour of the queasies at breakfast time for 3 weeks.
mind-numbing fatigue v. energy, so much energy!
insatiable hunger, especially at 3 am v. eating for two? that's ridiculous.
daily headaches v. a respite from daily headaches
everything smells and tastes bad except for junk food v. a single smell aversion

obviously having a 2.5 year old and my history of sleep deprivation doesn't make things better, but i'm in a bad place mentally these days. i ate greek yogurt drenched in honey in the middle of the night, cheese puffs and ramen as a 'snack,' and jogged once a week, if even that. prenatal yoga and pilates were usurped by a 9 am bedtime.

all of that arrogance that came with being the skinny, fit pregnant person has been flattened unceremoniously by this pregnancy. i've always had a soft spot for sweets and snacks, but my diet was tempered by exercise. this time around i've managed to both feel incredibly nauseated and famished for all things unhealthy. staying with my mom didn't help because she was constantly feeding me (mostly good things, but somehow box after box of mochi ice cream landed in my lap). and now i understand how eating can spiral out of control, how i can stop caring about what goes in my mouth because i'm too tired and fatalistic. i've always believed in hitting the ground running, which is why i was in the best shape of my life before we decided to have our first. i continued yoga and pilates, jogged 3-5 times a week until 32 weeks, and swam once a week in the winter.

and now i feel like a slug. i'm unhappy with my body, cranky about everything, and annoyed at the Canadian health care system. i'm 13 weeks and still haven't had a prenatal visit with my midwife. no bloodwork, no ultrasound, nothing.

last time around i was sad about the hair-loss during the first trimester and my terrible skin, but at least i looked and felt great in all other respects. i felt empowered throughout the pregnancy and especially during the birth. it was afterwards that i fell apart. i didn't expect such an intense newborn who never slept (and still doesn't sleep). i didn't expect to nurse for 30 months.

this time around...i felt defeated before i even found out about the new pregnancy. the pessimist in me was rewarded. with the lifting of the nausea/exhaustion fog in the past week, i'm hoping that i'll be able to get back on track. i'm also placing bets that this is a girl.


fanja said...

oh dear, Erica. first of all congratulations! Second time round is harder because your life is busier and you do not get any time for yourself. but once you get your energy back you'll be able to regain control. it is great news Leon will have a companion soon. take care x

melissa said...

congratulations! i'm so excited for you guys!
pregnancy can really suck and seem interminable, but you have to remember the big picture -- the baby is SO worth it. when i was pregnant with my second i said almost every day that this will be my last, this sucks, i can't go through it again. yet now that wyatt is 3 months old i'm already thinking i could handle another. my nausea lasted a good 4 months with the first pregnancy and it was even longer with the second. everything was worse with the second and i'm a it worried that my body won't bounce back like it did the first time. but it's still worth it, i promise.
they do say every pregnancy is different. my l&d was so much easier the second time around, if that helps. and the next baby can't be any worse a sleeper than leon, right!?
hang in there, it will get easier once you have some energy back. and i think you should eat whatever makes you feel better.

Heather said...

Girl, be gentle with yourself. Congrats, exciting.

During my first trimester I went from being a kale obsessed healthnut to sneaking the junkiest kind of pizza ever. Eat what feels right, take long walks when your steam comes back.

I had a bad sleeper for a while and have thought that it could only be easier with a second. Hoping you'll prove this for me.



erica said...

thanks fanja and melissa. i was really lucky with leon's pregnancy, and i thought i could float through this one. i can't wait for the nausea and fatigue to subside.

so true, i can't imagine a worse sleeper than leon! he and i talk a lot about the new baby. so far he seems excited.

erica said...

thanks for the gentle reminder, heather! with the first pregnancy, i always said i should eat what i want, but of course all i ate was veggies and whole grains! i've been trying to listen to my body, but it's frightening when it keeps saying it wants lots of potato chips and ice cream. i can't even imagine how tough bed rest is. i was basically on the couch for 4 weeks. poor leon spent a lot of time watching thomas instead of interacting with me.

Sara said...


I also ate all kinds of junk and it was the first pregnancy (I remember desperately trying to find a place in SF on a business trip that would deliver mashed potatoes because room service was all out, I found one and ate like three servings as dinner, plus milkshakes were a key component of my diet). I figured if it was what sounded good...

I'm still learning to navigate the Canadian health care system, so far my experience is that the squeaky wheel gets the grease for routiene things so I'm learning to advocate for what I need. If it's any consulation, the response once things are more of an issue is impressive, ihad great care for the pregnancy which was higher risk because of the twins. And the post partum support is quite good.

Shelley Barandes said...

Congratulations, Erica (and fam)!

You're about the third friend recently who is having a very different (and more difficult) pregnancy second time around. Makes me a little nervous...

Quiet nights and renewed-energy-in-the-next-trimester wishes to you!

Heather said...

Yeah, the couch. It was totally my bff for weeks there, and I felt completely guilty and lame about it. Upon listening to me express such things my husband finally said "It is impossible for a pregnant woman to be lazy - you are GROWING A HUMAN in there as we speak." So true!

melissa said...

Oh and you should get that bugaboo cameleon now. :)

Mona said...

Congrats Erica and yes be gentle with yourself and listen to your body, sleep and eat as you need and wish. Your well-being is incredibly important as the sole goal in a busy time and life.

My second pregnancy was harder and my boy was a preemie which was stressful.I was blue and 9 month later I can see how the hormones contribute to the blue for me at least. Number two is a miracle not only for you but for your son who will marvel at this new being. My 3 year old calls my baby son "her baby".

Take care of the obvious as well, a second child means less time to focus on your couple unless you try both to find the elusive time.

I wish you the best and I am certain you will have a beautiful child like but all different from Leon

erica said...

I've tried the whole 'growing a person' excuse, but Matthew is a little less responsive. However, my inertia and stubbornness seem to get the message across pretty well.

Ahh, if only I could get a Cameleon. I actually splurged on a denim Bee this summer, which has been great except for the small wheels, which get stuck in sidewalk cracks. I desperately wanted the Donkey (ahem, Sara), but Leon and the baby will be too far apart in age for me to justify the $1600 price tag.

I'm hoping this baby will make up for the pregnancy by sleeping through the night by 12 months and eating like a champ, which has been the experience of a few of my friends who had Leon-like experiences the first time. I think Sadie would make an awesome big sister, Shelley! It took a lot of hemming and hawing, but I'm glad that we decided to go for another.

valerie said...

Erica! Congratulations! I'm sorry to hear you're having a rough time with this pregnancy so far, but it's still early! I was a queasy mess the first trimester with Alden and the only thing that kept me from feeling nauseated was eating, so I ate. And ate. And ate. Really junky stuff, too. Everything worked out ok and it didn't take too long after Als was born to whittle back down to my pre-preggers size. Don't be too hard on yourself, but I would also say that it's best not to be too easy either, so that you don't end up feeling guilty. If that makes any sense...

I can't believe you're pregnant! Every one of my close mama friends in NY is pregnant right now. It makes me feel better about the state of the world...and wish that we had another one on the way!

much love to you,
your fellow sleepless, extended-nursing mama

erica said...

that makes me feel better! i'm still sneaking in sweet treats, but not at the appalling rate of the first trimester. joining the gym will help, i think. it's so hard finding time for myself these days.

still nursing, still sleepless? i can't believe i haven't nursed leon in over a month, it's been great. i have to admit it wasn't super pleasant to nurse while pregnant. sleep is still less than ideal. 1-2 wakings that feature long drawn-out arguments about why he needs to read a book rather than sleep...hah!

Katie said...

Congratulations, Erica! I'd like to echo all of the other commenters—go easy on yourself! Filtered through the persepective of your blog, you always seem to have an unfettered amount of energy—it's inspiring. So, if your body is telling you to rest and loll about, I think it's fair to listen.

And then when you're less nauseous, you can get some exercise in. Do you have a jogging stroller? It's something I've been thinking about getting.

One day when I was pregnant and had an office visit near Cedars, I thought I'd treat myself to a takeout pizza at Pizzeria Mozza on the way home. As I busily stuffed it into my mouth while I drove, some guy cut me off as Melrose shrunk to one lane. I honked and we ended up awkwardly stopped at a light. He very deliberately stuck his head out of his window to turn around and scowl at me. But once he caught me gesturing at him with my pizza still in my hand, he just began to laugh. AT ME. I was deflated. I wanted to scream, "I'M PREGNANT! There is a reason for this."

L said...

Congratulations! Hoping it gets better from here on out...

Jessica said...

Congrats! I hope you're feeling better. From one intense person to another,just remember to be gentile with yourself and take time for self care, emotionally just as much a physically. Take care mama.

Catherine said...

Congratulations! After I read your comment on my blog I thought, 'what?'. So heading on over here I read for certain. Such great news. I had a great first pregnancy and a troublesome birth, and felt sick a lot throughout my second yet had a brilliant birth. It's all pretty random from where I stand, so I don't count on anything now.

It must be a tricky in a different country where the system differs from your own country. I am sure everything will work out great, but I know the waiting can be taxing. I bet you're the best dressed pregnant woman in Canada though.

Lena said...

congratulations erica & family... I'm happy to hear you're going for a second! I have appreciated being able to read about your experience with a first baby before I had mine, and now I'm hoping you have time to post because I'd love to hear about your good & bad with #2. you're a great writer and so honest. I hope you're feeling a bit better! my body craved potato chips and ice cream my whole pregnancy, unfortunately. still hanging on to those 10 extra pounds 9 mo later....

Marginamia said...

(a bit new to blog and first time commenting):


Just want to tell you that I think this is all normal for subsequent pregnancies, particularly after having a difficult time with sleep. I felt very similar with my number two. Number one was an easy pregnancy: sickness was all day but only from weeks 8-12. With number two I was sick all day from 7-17 weeks. We also did a move, and had an ill sleeping toddler. that kind of stuff will just level you, and you just have to do what you can to survive it: junk food, videos, etc.

I also felt so guilty about how I was feeling, emotionally, in my second pregnancy: less excitement, super distracted, overwhelmed with everything that was happening, still so wrapped up in first baby and feeling I could never devote myself as much to another, and really actually grieving our time of just being the two of us during our days together...

and, in all honesty, I was *terrified* that number two might come with the same high needs as number one: waking every hour and half to eat all night, napping for 45 min on lucky days, picky eater (all the stuff you mention with L.) I just didn't know what I was going to do or *how* I was going to do it, how I would be in two places at night, tandem nursing, giving to a newborn when I was already at the end of my resources, etc. (our first was just turning two years old when we discovered we were pregnant with our second.)

I was so exhausted. We night-weaned our first at 18 months, but she still woke 2-3 times a night after that (better than 6-10, though.) During second trimester with number two, i decided to try and transition number one from our bed, so she slept on a little bed beside ours, then further away, then in another room. And she did great.
Somehow, miraculously, two weeks before I gave birth, she started nursing *only* at nap time and before bed time. Then one week before number two came, she started going to sleep at night without nursing down, letting her Daddy put her to sleep at night, only waking once in the night, and letting Daddy comfort her during that one waking.

Then... the second baby came.That night, the first night of her sister's new life, at several months shy of 3 years, our first slept blissfully through the night for the first time (we were all home in our house that night).... really, truly like magic.

And new baby sister on that first night.... slept four hours straight! I hadn't had that much sleep in over three years. three hours straight was a rare luxury, but with my newborn, in those first four months, 5 and even 6 hours straight wasn't uncommon. I was finally resting. We still co-slept, nursed on demand, all of it, but she just slept more. She napped for hours at a time, too. She started waking a bit more during the night (she's 15 mo now) but I sleep through it, and she goes right back to sleep after a few min. And I got a good, solid 4-6 months to recover and rebuild in the beginning of her life. so the occasional bad spell is just more doable now. I'm tired and spacey, but it's just more manageable.

Anyway, that kind of intense sleep deprivation is just so hard, so I think a subsequent pregnancy after/during that experience is hard for all sorts of reasons- physically and mentally.......

Marginamia said...


But then number two arrives. ahh. I just couldn't have known through all the upheaval, aches and exhaustion how I would instantaneously feel that this little person was always part of our family. I couldn't have known what a total balancing force she would be, how her infancy would sort of heal me, really; or how much more I would grow to admire her big sister, how my tenderness for big sister would swell as I watched her grow and be this amazingly empathetic sibling (should have guessed with her hefty sensitivity).
I got back in shape a little less quickly after number two (I also ate junk with that pregnancy), but I'm telling you this: going from one child to two children was WAY easier an adjustment than going from zero to one child (given the baby we had first), so I was just so pleasantly surprised on so, so many levels. It was a break. a vacation, even! I actually cried from relief. not kidding.

I think my (and your) first's sleeping issues are pretty rare, actually. I didn't believe that. I feared a repeat. I *still* have to remind myself all the time that I am getting way more sleep than I used to and I can stop measuring life in how many hours of sleep I got the night before. I still have to remind myself during nap time that I can just relax and enjoy myself, b/c the baby will be out for two hours (sometimes more) and I don't have to listen for her anxiously or expect her to wake every few min.

I know this is but one account, and everyone has different experiences, but I'm wishing you much of the same! Just do what you can to get by for now and look forward to things being much, much easier. (epic comment, I know! wow.) thank you for sharing with such honesty!

dp said...

hmmm ... it does sound like a girl pregnancy ... very similar to my first pregnancy (girl). I couldn't think straight from the nausea &, oooh, the insatiable hunger -- especially in trimester 2 (when the energy & positive outlook came)! I personally gained 70 whopping pounds.

Contrast, my second pregnancy: boys + after rather than during law school = all much easier and less intense.

Congratulations & hopefully you'll find the tough stuff is tempered by not having the constant pressure of a doctoral program.

erica said...

marginamia, thank you for sharing your story! i still panic, so it's good to hear that this type of intense sleep deprivation is not likely to repeat with the second. and hey, if it does, at least i'm a seasoned pro!

Kristien said...

Erica, I wanted to wish you belated congratulations on your second pregnancy! I can only imagine the emotions you are feeling as you contemplate life with a new baby and the challenges of teaching and mothering and building a new life with Matthew in Canada. I am sending you good thoughts and hope that things get a little easier each day. And, I suspect I will be combing the archives of this blog soon--I am 21 weeks pregnant! E.J. and I are beside ourselves and in awe of the idea of this little person we have created. I have always appreciated your honest voice on both of your blogs, and know I will turn to it as a resource in the coming days. All things good to you and your family!!

Erin said...

I didn't realize you were posting over here! I'm so sorry to hear how rough this pg has been. It will be so wonderful to see how Leon interacts with his new sibling. It's such a special part of parenting, those moments in between the fighting where they do actually get along and adore each other!

You will get some of your energy back at some point, it just might not last that long. My daughters were very easy pregnancies. I was in great shape, doing yoga and very focused on the births. I remember my second be a little tougher but nothing compared to #3. This one has been crazy with a short point in the middle of feeling good. Maybe you are having a girl? I attribute the difference to this one being a boy! I can relate to so much of what you write here. The fatique, the appetite and smells, the nausea, insomnia, etc. I wish I could promise it will get better but it is only temporary. 4 weeks or so left for me at times feels like an eternity yet I know I will blink and he will be here. Hang in there!