So, let's regroup.
I found out I was pregnant on October 21, and shared the news with Eric via a new shirt for Ellie when he arrived home from work that day.
"Big Sister" Ellie!
We had our first appointment with our midwife/OB practice when I was eight weeks along. Prior to this appointment, I did a lot of research regarding Jacksonville-area doctors willing to perform a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section), and the doctor affiliated with this practice kept popping up as THE doctor in Jacksonville for this sort of thing (which, apparently, is rarely done in this area). As it turns out, that doctor is moving out of state, but the practice is falling into the hands of a similarly-minded doctor. The practice also consists of a midwife that we have had all of our appointments with so far, whom Eric and I feel very comfortable with. So, we remain optimistic that this practice is the best fit for us.
At our first appointment our midwife spent a lot of time talking with us about my history, my diagnosis of HELLP syndrome during Ellie's birth, the circumstances of my labor and what led to my c-section, as well as my recovery complications afterwards. She indicated they would be willing to give me a chance at a VBAC, with several caveats, all of which we are perfectly comfortable with. She also ordered some extra prenatal testing with my first round of bloodwork to get baselines for things like protein levels, platelet levels, kidney/liver function, etc. So far, everything looks normal, but we will repeat that testing again as my pregnancy progresses, in the hopes that should I have any similar complications this time around, we can be on top of it and avoid a panicked, emergency situation.
We were also able to get a look at our little gummy bear at that first appointment, and it was indeed looking very gummy-bear-like at 8 weeks.
There's Plus One, age 8 weeks! The marker to the left is showing his/her head, and the marker to the right is right between the legs. You can see the little arms and legs sticking out, too!
Ellie thought it looked like a cat and meow-ed at it for a bit.
We'll find out the sex of the baby on February 6 (one month from today!), and of course, I'm already beside myself with anticipation. So far the overwhelming consensus has been that it must be a boy (not counting Ellie's vote for "kitty," of course). Anyone else care to venture a guess? I know you're on the edge of your seat!
As for how I'm feeling, which is a common question: better. The first trimester with a rambunctious toddler was no joke. Now that I'm settling into the second trimester (aka the "not insanely uncomfortable" trimester), things are looking up.
In a way, a lot of my first trimester symptoms were pretty similar to my pregnancy with Ellie: namely, near-constant nausea and fatigue. I finally started doing that "sleep when the baby sleeps" thing and I did a lot of deep breathing and consumed a lot of ginger ale. Oh, and I did a lot of thanking my lucky stars that this time around, I didn't have to ride the NYC subway in the heat of the summer every single day. I mean, that can make a non-pregnant person nauseous on a good day, so for a woman in her first trimester? Hell, I tell you.
Unlike my pregnancy with Ellie, however, a big symptom for me this time around was sensitivity to smell. Like, super sensitivity to smell. Again, praise be to the powers above that there is no NYC subway to factor in here, because OMG. I can't even. But, you know how everybody's house has its own smell, yet you're usually unaware of the smell of your own house? Well, when my smell sensitivity and nausea were at their peak, I was aware of the smell of my house. In fact, I'll do you one better. I was aware of the smell of each individual room of my house. And guess what? It was not good. I would walk through my house and as I got a whiff of each room, I got punched in the face with a fresh wave of nausea. I felt like I was trapped in a prison of torture smells and there was no escape. The kitchen was the worst. For a long time, even the thought of setting foot in the kitchen was nausea-inducing. Good times.
You would think that a simple remedy to this hatred of my house smell would be to improve the situation. Hey, it was fall and the holiday season! That's prime delicious-smelling candle time! I'll just light some candles! Because what kind of soulless lunatic doesn't like the smell of a pumpkin spice candle, am I right? Well, I'll tell you what kind: the kind of soulless lunatic that is currently inhabiting my uterus, that's who. Scented candles were quickly added to the list of nausea no-nos. Also on the list? Matches. I lit one match to light a candle and smelled that match for three days following. Shut up, nose.
But Plus One didn't stop there. Oh, no. Pumpkin Spice was not nearly the admirable foe that would satisfy this little odor tyrant. One day, I gave Ellie a bath in the morning. Later in the day, I caught of whiff of her clean baby smell. And I felt sick. This little tyrant also disapproves of sweet baby smell and is clearly trying to turn me against my firstborn. SHUT UP, NOSE.
Also, all this has driven me to refer to my unborn child as a soulless lunatic tyrant, so I'm just going to go ahead and start writing my Mother of the Year acceptance speech now. (Don't worry, I've developed more loving nicknames now that I no longer feel like throwing up every time I walk into a new room of my house.)
Speaking of being Mother of the Year, and on a more serious note...when I first saw those two lines on that pregnancy test, one of my very first emotions was guilt. I felt like I had betrayed Ellie. How could I do this to her? How could I change her world like this? Force her to share my attention, my thoughts, my love? My heart just broke to think of it. In my head, I know this is a perfectly normal reaction: all moms feel this way, but then there just is enough love, and you love them both the same amount but in different ways, and you just can't understand it until you feel it, blah blah blah. My head knew all the right things to say but my heart wasn't buying it. I'd be lying if I said I didn't shed a tear or two over it, even.
But I keep reminding myself about my relationship with my sister. Ellie and Plus One will have almost exactly the same difference in age as my sister and I do (they'll be just a couple of months closer together, in fact). So at one point in my life, I was in Ellie's shoes. Today, I am far from scarred by the fact that my parents so heartlessly added another child to our family, thus forcing me to share their attention and affection. Rather, that attention-thieving little addition turned out to be my best friend, and I couldn't imagine life without her. My life has been unimaginably better for having her by my side for all but 2.5 years of it. And I am so excited for Ellie to have a chance at a relationship like that. I know there is no guarantee that Ellie and Plus One will be as close as Heather and I are. But there's just some sort of bonding effect of two people sharing DNA and growing up in the same house, with the same parents and the same life stories (to an extent, of course). Heather and I have very different personalities. We're dissimilar in so many ways. But our shared history gives us a common thread that we simply cannot share with anyone else. Sometimes, there are things that I want to talk about that only Heather can really understand, simply because she is my sister. And that is a cool thing. So in the end, I think Ellie will be okay.
Jumping into a second pregnancy has had a lot more emotional consequences as well, and has brought up a lot of things that I had thought were behind me. But all that is best saved for another post at a later date.
Other pregnancy fun facts: My most common cravings have been pierogies and macaroni and cheese. Also, spaghetti and meatballs. (Similar to last time, I am a fan of carbs, but I never did get into the Hot Pockets like I did with Ellie.) I also craved Publix subs (but declined the lunch meat) and the cheese danish that McDonald's used to sell when I was a kid. My grandma would get me cheese danish from McDonald's, and for some reason, I really wanted that one day in the first trimester. My biggest aversion was to Ellie's grilled cheese and applesauce she has daily for lunch. Just the smell...ICK. Another symptom I dealt with for a couple weeks was heart palpitations, but those have cleared up now. I have also been pretty sensitive in the chest area, which, considering that I was still nursing Ellie at night up until this week, has been no walk in the park.
As for how I look, the answer is: much rounder than this point last time. I assume this is because there was already a bit of leftover belly still hanging on there, so when Plus One showed up my belly was just all "cool, no need to suck in anymore!" and bam, roundness. I've already busted out the maternity clothes because really, who has time for the discomfort of cramming yourself into regular jeans for no reason? (And speaking of maternity clothes, I am in the market for a whole new wardrobe. Considering all my previous maternity clothes were worn in winter in New York, my former wardrobe doesn't exactly transfer to spring/summer in Florida. So, I shop.)
This is me on New Year's Eve, at exactly 14 weeks pregnant.
So now you're all caught up. Here we go again!