I thought it time my new little munchkin have a musing all of his own, since we are now 21(+1) weeks into our journey together, and all of the stories on here so far are about his brother. (Which isn’t as bad as it sounds, since I only started writing again a week or so ago.)
Second pregnancy is a weird thing. I remember asking a friend during my first pregnancy, while she was expecting her second, ‘how many weeks are you?’ and when she answered ‘let me check my app,’ I was astounded. How could she not know exactly how many weeks and days along she was? Was she not counting the seconds until she met her child? Of course, as I am now aware, there is just no time to stop and luxuriate on such things, like there was with the first, when a toddler is in the house. There is just no time, full stop. And it doesn’t mean this baby is not as important as the last. It doesn’t mean you don’t care as much about things like kick counts and check-ups. Or that the weekly ‘baby is now the size of a weasel’-esque updates aren’t a joy. It just means you’re already a mum, and mums have brains filled with so many other things, all the time, that knowing exactly how many days into carrying a new lifeform you are at any given moment just happens to slip through the net.
I don’t feel guilty for that but, second child, if you are one day reading this, sorry I didn’t focus so much on the details of our time in this phase. You are very much loved. Mama is just very, very tired, and very, very busy. Even as I write this, your brother is toddling around my bedroom with his tiny toy Dyson, blowing me kisses, when he should be elsewhere. And that’s just distracting (/adorable) as all hell. So, the excuses have been made. We shall move on.
This pregnancy, so far, has been entirely different to my first. The hormones released right at the start made me angry, rather than weepy. The morning sickness was manageable, rather than crippling. The heartburn started in the first trimester and the Very Hungry Caterpillar act I have been pulling off for a while now shows no signs of subsiding. But the biggest difference, as weird as it sounds, is how long it took to feel real.
Pregnancy is not something I find easy. There are women in my circle that love being pregnant, and truly thrive on it. I am not one of those women. Pregnancy makes me achy and moany and tired. It makes me obsess over what I am eating in a manner I never do normally. And so, to be clear, the pregnancy itself has felt real. It’s the baby at the end bit that just didn’t click. I honestly think there was a part of me for a while there that assumed pregnancy was the end game, I would be this way forever, waiting on a second baby that would never be a part of our lives not for any terrible, awful reason related to loss, but because my womb was simply where he lived now, he seemed comfortable enough, so why would he need to emerge?
The whole thing fell into place last week, at our anomaly scan. We had gone along intent on finding out the gender, having had our private scan cancelled by Boris Johnson. I was suffering from a spot of scanxiety (my friend Rebecca’s word, which I adore) since my 16 week appointment had been done via the phone, and really, what can you gage from a phone call? (nothing) and so was a little on edge as the clock ticked by to an hour past our appointment time, and we were finally admitted.
The baby, as he has in every scan we’ve had – we paid for a second 12 week one so my husband could actually see his child – was chillin’ on his back, legs crossed at the ankles, with his arms up. The checks progressed slowly, with the little tyke apparently being a tad awkward to work with, but we finally got all but one measurement after a lot of twisting and turning on my part, and reached the moment we were truly waiting on – the moment where we would be told we were having a girl, I was convinced, since this pregnancy was so different to the last, and everyone knows that means you’re carrying a different gender, don’t they? So imagine my surprise when the screen lit up with an unmistakable penis, accompanied by the words ‘I think there’s a little gentleman in there’ from the sonographer.
In truth, I had wanted another boy, though I didn’t ever want to admit it out loud, in case it wasn’t a boy and everyone knew I’d wanted a boy, and started giving me that sad puppy-eyed face people sometimes give when they expect you to be disappointed. But something strange happened, in light of this fact, when my status as boy mama was truly confirmed: I felt a little sad. Not sad for the fact I was having another son, not at all, but for the fact I wasn’t going to have a daughter – might never have a daughter, now, unless by some miracle we decided to go for a third. I was sad for the loss of the pink nursery I had already planned, for the Care Bears onesies I had bookmarked, the button down dresses I had wanted to buy. And I was sad for the loss of the idealistic view I’ve long held of having a little girl – the afternoon tea and theatre visits, the long phone calls when she grew up and started her adult life without us.
Last night, I saw a Facebook update from my hospital’s ‘COVID baby’ group (god, what a name) that featured a birth story, alongside a photo of a brand new newborn boy, sucking his thumb, and any lingering sadness I had all but dissolved. Because I’m going to have another tiny baby boy! And baby boys really do love their mamas.
(Also, I have a birthday once a year, if I end up with two very masculine boys then at least I have a yearly excuse to make them spend a day doing feminine stuff with me. I shall hold all my birthday parties in the intermission to Les Mis, if I have to, I do not have boundaries.)
The worry is heightened in this pregnancy, possibly due to a lack of face to face involvement from medical professionals. The bump has expanded much more rapidly than it did on it’s first venture out. And I have low iron and stomach muscle separation, which is something I didn’t experience before, but that may result in physiotherapy and a damaged pelvic floor if I don’t continue to throw all dignity to the wind, and basically roll onto all fours whenever I need to get up. It’s a sight to behold, let me tell you. But, now, the nesting instinct has begun to kick in, and I am getting excited. My stomach well and truly popped last week, and the little gentleman has started to make himself known with gentle nudges, as if to remind me of his presence, or to thank me for his Mars Bar ice cream. (You’re welcome, kid.) We didn’t get one of the measurements needed at our last scan, and so I am back in this week, which is resulting in more scanxiety, though I’m told there’s no reason to think anything could be wrong. Regardless, I am starting to imagine life with two little madmen running around my feet, and I now can’t envision a world without him in it.
All in all, I am so very happy to be mama to these two under two. We are thrilled to be expanding our family. And we can’t wait to see what the future brings for all of us. (Rory is yet to comment on our plans for them to share a room once they’re old enough, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.)
Nineteen weeks to go, little buddy. See you on the outside ♡
P.S. I love this song about babymaking, a definite anthem for pregnant women everywhere.