Pregnancy in a Pandemic

There are a number of things that make pregnancy in a pandemic a bit different and unique.  And until you’ve experienced it versus a normal pregnancy you don’t realize just how much it affects you. 

For our first pregnancy my husband came to every single doctor/midwife appointment and ultrasound. He was so excited and didn’t want to miss a thing. Fast forward to our pandemic pregnancy and there are different rules for different places. Doctor and midwife appointments are a solo event which didn’t bother me a whole lot because I knew if I needed him I could call my husband on speakerphone for the appointment. Thankfully we have had a normal, healthy pregnancy and none of these solo conversations have involved bad news.  But my heart truly goes out to the pregnant moms who have to face difficult and scary conversations on their own. 

For our first ultrasound he was allowed to come with me. However once I was transferred to my midwives for care we were sent to a different ultrasound office. They had told me when booking the appointment that I had to go alone and I had come to terms with that. Then on the morning of the appointment my husband wanted to phone their office to see if the rules had changed. Me, with my foggy baby brain, gave him the phone number to the wrong ultrasound office who had said he was welcome to come. 

He ended up changing around his whole work schedule only for us to realize that we were waiting at two different locations. I felt terrible enough for the mistake but it only got worse when I confirmed with the receptionist that he was not able to come in with me and I also wouldn’t be allowed to FaceTime him during the ultrasound. 

This was the first time in the whole pregnancy where it really hit me – mostly because I had gotten both of our hopes up. I ended up crying quietly (under my mask) during the entire ultrasound while watching our baby on the screen. Obviously this was not a reaction I expected to have but it felt so much more real that things were different this time around. 

Back to my first pregnancy and first labour in the hospital we had our families sitting in the waiting room while Ads made her appearance into the world. We also had my mom in the room with us for support through the whole thing. Nowadays there’s no one in the waiting rooms to come in and meet the baby in her first moments. And depending on the number of COVID-19 cases in the area, there may only be one support person allowed in the delivery room. 

I do know that at the height of the pandemic there were some mothers who were forced to go through the whole thing alone which I can’t even imagine. 

Some hospitals may or may not be allowing anyone to come visit the baby once you’re in recovery. It seems to depend on the area and the cases. Assuming and hoping that everything goes smoothly, my midwives are planning to have me head home the same day so we will have everyone meet her once we get home. 

All in all, there are plenty of things different about a second pregnancy already. Throw a bunch of added rules and restrictions from the pandemic on top of it and it’s like whole other experience. Thankfully it seems as though we’re nearing the end of a lot of the restrictions in Ontario. Fortunately it doesn’t seem as though there will be another lock down this winter season so there shouldn’t be any other huge letdowns. 

To all the other moms who have been pregnant, had babies, or even those who have been going to fertility clinics during this difficult time – hang in there. You’re doing great!  And remember, we’re all in this together. 

It’s A Girl!

Well, it’s official! We’re going to be a family with two little girls, three if you count the dog. Baby #2 is a little girl and we are so excited. Surprised, but excited. Let me explain. 

Through this whole pregnancy I have been so sure I was having a boy. I felt so different from the last pregnancy and I had multiple dreams I was having a boy. How do you not believe it if you’re dreaming it? I had such a strong gut feeling I was literally already thinking of it as a boy. We’ve had a boy name picked out since we first started talking about kids, and I thought I was finally going to get to use it (before anyone else did).  

We decided to do a low-key gender reveal just for the three of us. On the day of my 20 week ultrasound, I sat in the dark room watching our baby on the screen. First of all, I was a bit sad because with this particular place and the current COVID-19 restrictions I was there by myself for the first time. It was emotional I’m not going to lie. Still, I sat there looking at the screen thinking to myself, “Yep, that definitely looks like a boy.” 

When it came time for her to look, she turned the screen off so I couldn’t see. Rightly so, because if I had seen anything that resembled a ‘you know what’ I would’ve written the answer down in the envelope myself. She turned the screen back on and continued to show me our baby. Then she said, and I quote, “There is the umbilical cord, once it falls off that’s where HIS belly button will be”. So obviously I thought she’d slipped up and that was it, it was a boy. 

I took the secret unopened envelope to the nearest Party City Store. I picked out a gender reveal box (which I can link here) and asked the clerk to please fill it with whatever colour was in the envelope, which I was sure would be blue. I said I would be back in half an hour but would call first so I wouldn’t walk in while they were doing it. Didn’t want to risk seeing those blue balloons before my husband. 

Nearby was a Home Sense so like any woman I went to browse around while I waited. I saw in the book section a Star Wars book. A little back story to this, I grew up with my brother watching Star Wars. I love and have always loved Star Wars and I just happen to be the only one within 100km of my home who feels that way. So I’m of course thinking if I have a boy I will get him all these Star Wars things and he will be my Star Wars baby (without telling my husband who can’t stand Star Wars). Here was this Star Wars book, and I thought, I’m so sure it’s a boy I’m just going to go ahead and buy this. I did buy it and hid it in my work bag so my husband wouldn’t see it and think I peeked in the envelope. 

Fast forward to around dinner time the same day. The box is in our house with the answer inside that we and our families have waited for. We take it outside and set up our cameras to document our reactions. After convincing Adds that the box is not scary, we countdown to the big reveal. Again, I was 1000% expecting to see blue, and what popped out? Well you can probably guess by now it was not blue. 

I don’t think shocked even covers how surprised I was. We were so happy but obviously there’s the realization that you feel like your body was tricking you this whole time. Not a cruel trick of course because two girls is just as good, but like a ‘ha ha I got you!’ trick. 

We both said after, we were happy we decided just to do it the three of us because we took the whole evening to process the surprise and let it sink in. Here’s the thing too, I’m only planning on having two kids. So this obviously means there will never be a boy in our little family, unless there’s a big oopsie in our future (if we do have an oopsie, and you’re my third child reading this in the future I do love you very much but yes you were an oopsie). It was very bittersweet. 

Once things settled though, we thought about all the fun it will be to have two girls, how much easier and less expensive it will be since we already have everything for a girl, and how much she is going to show us that this is exactly how our little family was meant to be. One day we’ll look back and laugh thinking that there was no way a boy could ever replace our beautiful second baby girl. 

Oh and I will teach them both to love Star Wars as much as I do. 

Mom Friends

I recently sat down at a table full of young moms (and one first time mom-to-be). The dads were all in charge of the kids which meant they were on the couch watching Cocomelon and we were trying to share our “mommy” wisdom with the new mom-to-be. 

Through the conversation I came to the realization that there’s a lot of things moms don’t openly share with each other. I don’t know if it’s fear of not holding up to the social standards for moms, otherwise known as the ‘Instagram Mom’, or that we feel like these less than stellar moments of mom hood are ours and ours alone. 

The truth is, most moms struggle. It’s not always easy to have the full-time responsibility of little humans being dependant on you for everything. We all get frustrated, we all get worn thin and we all lose our patience sometimes. It’s just a part of life. But spending time with other moms helps me realize it isn’t just me who gets burnt out and needs a break more often than I’d like to admit, and it’s not just me who feels like I’m walking a thin line between sanity and insanity during sleep regressions. It happens to the best of us, and we all feel bad about it. 

It’s important to me to take the time to acknowledge this, to know that things won’t always go perfectly. Each day is a new day with Baby T and sometimes all we both need is a little reset. 

So one thing I will always recommend for new moms is get some mom friends who you can have these chats with and bring each other back to your middle grounds. Being a mom doesn’t necessarily get any easier as time goes by but if you have your mom friends by your side you feel a lot more understood and normal. 

The Differences Between Pregnancy Number One and Number Two

We’re officially twelve weeks into my second pregnancy (pause for applause). Baby #2 is now the size of a kiwi and according to my baby app is starting to develop reflexes in it’s little fingers and toes. Hopefully with this new week comes some relief from some of the symptoms I’ve been having which is all part of this post listing the differences between my pregnancy with our first baby and this pregnancy. Let’s get started! 

Morning Sickness (Evening Sickness?) 

With Baby #1 I definitely had morning sickness throughout the day. I had some relief from soda crackers and arrowroot cookies, but after a few bouts of throwing up I went to my doctor for the prescription the that helps with this. It was a lifesaver with her, I managed to have somewhat of a normal life for the first three months. 

Baby #2 I started having really bad nausea all day, I started taking the medicine as well but it doesn’t seem to be doing the trick this time around. I’m fine most of the day but right after dinner, no matter what I eat or do I have terrible nausea that forces me to just go to bed early every night (not the worst thing in the world I know), but it’s definitely put a damper on these first few months. 

Energy Levels

It does feel like I have a lot less energy this time around but when you think about it; with Baby #1 I had no obligations other than work and keeping the house tidy. Now I have both of those things on top of taking care of a one and half year old, it’s no wonder I’m more tired. I think Dan is more tired this time too, probably for the same reason dealing with a one and a half year old and his pregnant tired wife. 

Excitement 

With the first baby it’s a totally different ball game as far as excitement. It’s the first time for everything so it’s all so new and exciting. I used to look at the baby apps everyday learning about everything going on inside, we had the nursery planned and registry done within the first few months, and posting the announcement on Instagram was the most exciting thing. 

Of course it’s still exciting knowing that there’s going to be a new baby in the house but I don’t feel like I really enjoyed being pregnant the last time so going into all that again while taking care of Baby #1 is a lot. There’s also more distractions like finishing our new deck, taking our trailer out for summer camping trips and again, making the most of the time we have left with Baby T as an only child. 

There is guilt that comes with not being quite as excited but it’s not that Baby #2 is any less wanted, it’s just so different. It’s also kind of nice because I did pop so early this time around but thanks to Covid Lockdowns (never thought I’d say those words) we haven’t been seeing anyone other than our family and close friends who we told right away anyway. It’s been the easiest secret to keep and it feels like posting about it on Instagram isn’t as big a deal this time. That being said, of course we are posting it because then if anyone does see me they don’t have to be scared to ask if I’m pregnant for fear it’s just the extra covid 20. 

Gender Reveal 

Like I said, we did a big Gender Reveal with Baby #1 and it was great. We popped a balloon over our heads in front of our closest friends and family and pink confetti fluttered down around us. 

For Baby #2 we do still want to find out the gender, I’m way too much of a planner to not know even though I think experiencing both ways would be pretty cool, I just don’t think I can bring myself to do it. I don’t want a big Gender Reveal for this one. Not only because who knows how many people will even be allowed in one room by that time, but also because I like the idea of something more quiet and intimate. 

Baby #1 agrees with me on this wholeheartedly since she screams and cries whenever she sees the video from her cousins gender reveal, she is not a fan of the exciting balloon pop. Or people to be honest. So since I have her vote, we will most likely be doing something small at a dinner with our parents and siblings. I’m thinking something that involves a cake or cupcake mostly because I would just want to eat it after. 

We still haven’t decided whether Dan and I will find out beforehand and surprise our families or if we will wait for the cupcake too. 

It’s Just Different 

Obviously these two pregnancies have been very different physically and emotionally, but we’re still so excited for everything Baby #2 will bring into our lives. We know that Baby #1 will be the best big sister and a huge help to us, or at least she will be after she adjusts to having a new baby. 

Now, next thing on the list is what do you buy for a second baby when you already have so much baby stuff. Once I figure it out for myself I will pass on this helpful information. 

The One Where I Get Pregnant Again

Well, it’s official! We are having Baby Number Two! If you’ve been reading for a while you know I had a lot of apprehension about having another baby (see my blog post When Your First Labour Leaves You Unsure of a Second), but I honestly knew that we definitely wanted a second baby and I had a feeling my apprehensions wouldn’t get any better the longer we waited. So with that said, even though I’m a little nervous, we’re very excited to be adding another little one to our family. 

By the time I post this I will be a few months along since I didn’t want to announce to the internet something we haven’t announce to all of our friends yet but that’s okay, I’ll catch you up. Today (May 25th) I am five weeks and one day so still a bit early. My due date is around January 24th. I definitely knew very early that I was pregnant again. We were obviously trying so I was looking for early signs and it’s hard to describe but even within the first week I knew; the same thing happened with Baby T. I took the pregnancy test as early as I could and got a positive right away. 

So far I have already popped quite a bit, I’m actually thankful we’re in a pandemic and aren’t really seeing people in person because it would be a tough secret to hide. Not going to lie I thought I might be pregnant with twins because I had to undo the top button of my jeans before I could even take a pregnancy test. We’ve already shared the news with our families and a couple of friends and the rest we will wait another month or two before we do the official announcement. 

My favourite pregnancy apps that I used the first time around have been re-added on my phone including Ovia Pregnancy (the best articles and tips) and Pregnancy + (the best size comparison, and visuals of progress in the baby’s growth). According to these apps, Baby T # 2 is about the size of a smartie and has a little tail.  

As far as symptoms, I’ve just been exhausted and have to pee a lot more (including once during the night that I try to ignore but we all know how that goes). I feel like I’m more tired with this pregnancy than I was with Baby T but that could also be because instead of resting at the end of a work day or taking it easy on a day off I’m still taking care of a one and half-year old. Not that I’m complaining, because she’s honestly a good distraction from the tiredness and occasional nausea I’m already developing. She also motivates me to keep moving which is obviously good for you when you’re pregnant. 

I feel like it’s a boy but I also felt the same way with Baby T, I ended up changing my mind about a week before we did find out she was a girl so we will see if I stick with it this time. We would honestly be happy with either a boy or a girl this time around. I would love to be able to use all of Baby T’s clothes again and I would also love to have one of each in the family. We won’t find out until September so we’ve got some time to sit on it for now. 

Some other exciting news is that my sister-in-law is also expecting her first baby and is due in October! Once again I get to have a pregnancy buddy and our little babies will get to be only three months apart. I’m very happy to share my ‘wisdom’ and already-too-small maternity clothes and bras with her and she’s very happy to share her own new wisdom that I didn’t have before.

We’re going to be making some changes around the house including moving Baby T into a bigger bedroom to open up the nursery for the new baby and creating a kids playroom in our basement. Right now the play area is behind our couch which works good for now, but there are some toys in the bigger upstairs bedroom that will need to be moved downstairs to make way for Baby T’s big girl room. I’ll try and share some of the before and after of these changes as they happen and be sure to share some tips and tricks for Baby #2 including things we’ll be  replacing or changing and old things we’re happy to use again. 

I’m so excited to be able to document this pregnancy and the changes that come with going from a family of three (plus dog) to a family of four (still plus dog).