I've been a little MIA on the blogging scene, both over at Parenting.com and here on Alt-Mama, since the New Year; you may have guessed from my not-so-subtle hints that hormonal things are happening which can explain my relative quiet. As in, I'm a little bit pregnant... about seven weeks. Yay! I'm excited, crazy-hungry, a bit nauseated, and tired; between massage brain and baby brain, there hasn't been a lot of writing going on. That being said, good writing (and reading, for y'all) awaits, as I'm going to be back on Parenting's Project Pregnancy blog -- where I documented all things pregnancy #1 back in 2009/2010 -- shortly. And I have fun things planned for Alt-Mama, too. So strap in. It's about to be bump-watch (plus nesting plus all-around prenatal par-tay) time. 
Houston, we have a (cute!) heartbeat.
I know I'm letting the secret out 'early,' but I'm okay with this. I actually didn't even know about the twelve week safety zone when I was pregnant with Kaspar; consequently, all of our friends and family knew we were knocked up by, like, four weeks. (As with this pregnancy, I got a positive test very early on.) Only then did someone at work gasp in alarm (pregnancy news spreads quickly) and tell me I could very well miscarry -- she said it just like that -- which sent me into a fit of nail-biting until the end of my first trimester, which, coincidentally, coincided exactly with my wedding day. Now, I know miscarriage is indeed common (20% of pregnancies... that's a lot), and in fact that woman at work who brought me up to speed had experienced a few more than a few miscarriages herself (she has since, through the wonders of modern medicine, delivered a healthy baby boy). But if my Kaspar-fetus survived wedding-planning stress -- which he obviously did -- I know for sure that the experts aren't lying when they say there's nothing one can or can't do to prevent a miscarriage from happening. Either the baby's gonna stick, or it's not. And while I of course feel deeply for mamas who've miscarried or had pregnancy-related difficulties (my own mom struggled with some of this), and I'm well aware it happens to perfectly healthy women all the time, I also try to bear in mind that the stories of multiple-miscarriages others have told me are not my story. I want to be excited, enjoy this first trimester, and -- above all else -- keep fear and 'what if's' at bay.

I believe every woman should handle early pregnancy, miscarriage, pregnancy-at-large and birth in whatever ways feel right to her. Each mama's stories are different, and our stories are deeply personal. So personally, while I feel a sense of community and empathy with all mamas everywhere, living our different lives and our different stories, I'm choosing to focus on positive stories for the purposes of pregnancy #2. I well remember the excitement of pregnancy, but also a certain tendency toward fearful pregnancy that pervades our culture, and is also often, if inadvertently, shared and spread among women ourselves. Whether we're scheduling our next 'screening' for some (barely) potential problem, or hearing other mamas tell of days-long, painful labors and emergency C-sections, it's easy to get caught up in an expectation that, at any moment, something might go wrong. Well you know what? It's not my first rodeo. And I know that, of course, something could go wrong. At any moment. It probably won't, but if it does, I can handle it, and I know I'll have the support and love of our family, our friends, and you good readers out there. In the meantime, tell me positive stories. I promise to tell positive stories, too.

I have a few things I could be afraid of during this pregnancy. I have a blood clot history, and therefore am classified as high-risk; I'd like to have a pretty hands-free pregnancy and a home birth -- a safe and wonderful option for low-risk pregnant women -- but instead I'm working with a wonderful doctor and a doula (TBA), and injecting myself with blood thinners every day. I did that last time, too. Unlike last time, I know what questions to ask and I know what I do and don't want in delivering my baby. As it turns out, I probably won't have to be induced, and I can probably have a natural birth in a hospital setting. So that's cool. The other thing that's nagging at the back of my mind is, obviously, a food allergy and eczema remix. What we went through with Kaspar was really hard for all of us. It took me a while to even consider the possibility of pregnancy again, knowing that a food-allergic baby #2 is indeed slightly more probable for us than for a family without allergies in the mix. But statistics, (positive) stories from other allergy mamas, and my doctor, have assured me that it's far from guaranteed our second baby will have any allergies at all. Doctors have no idea why, but many families have one kid with countless allergies, and other kids with none. And some studies show that eating nuts during pregnancy prevents food allergies, while other studies show the opposite. There's not a lot of rhyme or reason around this topic yet, and not a lot of knowledge. Even so, I'm going to avoid eating the major allergens during my second and third trimester, and I have an appointment scheduled with Kaspar's TCM doctor to see if there are some herbs I can take to help prevent any allergic issues in my baby. And if this baby does show symptoms similar to baby-Kaspar's, we'll know what we're dealing with, and we will be fine. 

Blood thinner injections. Yeehaw.
I am declaring this a Fear-Free Pregnancy, no matter what happens, and knowing full well that this is life, and sometimes -- in life -- shit goes down. I'm focusing on feeling awesome, and visualizing a happy, healthy me, and a happy, healthy baby. I'm drinking a lot of juice. And eating a lot of carnitas tacos. I'm dreaming up names. I'm bracing myself for two small kiddos, as my one small kiddo creeps up on turning three. Age two was far from terrible -- we had one week of difficulty, which was about the extent of it -- and was a piece of cake, I suspect, compared to what's in store. Kaspar is as joyful and animated as ever, but this age is, um, something. Everything that already took twice as long as it did now takes twice as long as that ("Kaspar, please climb into the car... Kaspar, please get into your car seat... Kaspar, please get in the car... Kaspar, please stop pressing the buttons on the door and climb into the car.... Kaspar-get-into-the-car..."), and Kaspar's constant questions reflect new layers of comprehension that often catch me unaware (yesterday: "If you like what than you should have put a ring on what?"). He hears everything, feels deeply, and talks and moves continuously. This is a fun stage -- this boy of mine is so loving and funny and sweet, it's amazing -- but I'm pretty much exhausted all the time, and it takes a lot to make me tired. I am excited, though, for the months to come, for baby time, and to watch my baby #1 grow into his role as big brother. 
What do you think about the twelve week safety zone, early pregnancy, and first trimester changes? How have your second (or third, etc.) pregnancies differed from your first? Suggestions on great pregnancy books for positive stories? What's essential in a good doula? (We'll be interviewing next week.) Thanks for joining our family on this journey!
Jenn in VT
01/22/2013 12:25

Congratulations! With my first I waited, we almost told my parents around 7-8 weeks but I chickened out. I did not want to have kids and got pregnant while on the pill. I was 24 and married so it was not really a big deal but I was scared and scared to tell anyone. And when it came time to tell I sort of just blurted it out. I was about 13 weeks. With my son I felt huge early and my mom guessed when I was about 6 weeks and we told everyone when I was around 10 weeks. My mom had 6 kids with no issues and none of my siblings have ever lost a baby.
I actually usually feel bad telling my labor stories because they were so easy. I was only in labor for 4.5-5 hours both times and the second time I got to the hospital was told I was 5 cm and then an hour later I was holding my baby. When we called to tell family that we had him they were all in shock because we had just left for the hospital. The pain level with him was minor because I knew how to relax and that helped. Getting the tension out of your body just makes it go by so much easier. For me during contractions I went to my own place in my head and focused my energy away from the pain.

02/04/2013 10:09

Thanks for sharing your experience Jenn! (Such a good reminder about relaxing during labor. I feel ready and excited for it this time.) I'm glad you mentioned you felt huge at 6 weeks with your son. I feel like I'm pooching out a bit already, but that may be all the carnitas tacos, not the baby yet, haha.

01/22/2013 12:51

I knew it!! Yay! Congrats!!! Can't wait for all of the upcoming posts on baby #2!

I was well aware of the 12 wk safety zone. We told our parents a few days after we found out we were pregnant. Actually, we were living in another state and it was Christmas time, so we sent red and white flowers with a note that said Merry Christmas Grandma and Granpa. After we ordered them we worried that we jinxed our pregnancy (it took a year for us to get preggers). I decided not to tell anyone else until after my first trimester. A few days after I returned to work after the Christmas break a co-worker sent me an email saying she had a dream that I was pregnant....creepy I know! So I coudn't hold it in any longer and everyone found out. Thankfully it worked out for the best and I wish you all the luck in the world.

02/04/2013 10:11

Aw, thanks so much Crystal! You DID totally call it. (Now you know why I didn't respond to that comment, haha.) I get superstitious about jinxing stuff, too, but I try to challenge that voice in my head. Hence going totally public at seven weeks both here and on Parenting! But things are chugging along well, and I'm glad to be 'out', as I can really enjoy this time (and no one's wondering why I've been totally exhausted and out of it for two months).

01/24/2013 11:52

Hooray, cat's out of the bag!! So excited for you! And that we'll get to go through this together again sorta, but backwards with me finishing first. So fun fun fun!! Congratulations again mama!

02/04/2013 10:13

YAY I love being pregnant at the same time as you! So fun to share this again, in reverse. I bet you're just loving all of my pregnancy questions via text, too, haha. I evidently forgot about all the little details. So excited to meet your little bean so SOON!

01/24/2013 16:59

Congrats! How exciting. I'm so happy for you. I don't have any pregnancy advice for you that you wouldn't already know. I have 2 boys ages 14 and 5. My pregnancy's were very different because of the 9 years in between. And also I was 39 when I delivered # 2. The first one we told our families right away! We were too excited to keep it to ourselves. And with # 2 even though he was wished and hoped for I didn't think it was ever going to happen and was nervous to tell people and jinx it somehow. (I had infertility issues, but refused the drugs and treatments and decided just to leave it up to God or fate.) We still ended up telling everyone pretty early in the pregnancy, maybe at 8 or 9 weeks I think. But everything worked out great and we have two wonderful boys!

02/04/2013 10:27

That's such an awesome story, Cherie -- how cool that you ended up pregnant without treatments (not that there's anything wrong with those for people who take that route) 9 years after your first was born. I'm already noticing a huge difference between this pregnancy and my last -- I guess every time is just different. :-) Thanks for sharing your experience and happy ending.

01/29/2013 09:03

Congrats to you and your family! My oldest son has a lot of food allergies and we were afraid to have a second child, but when he was four we deiced it was now or never and ended up pregnant (and very very happy) with my second son. I worried the whole pregnancy that he would have food allergies just like my oldest, so I avoided peanuts, shell fish, soy and milk (the foods he is most allergic too) through out my pregnancy. My second son does not have any food allergies, but is allergic to bees (the one thing my oldest is not). My third son (from adoption) is allergic to milk. Fate is funny like that. From my experience it has been so much easier to handle food allergies the second time around.

02/04/2013 10:29

Thank you for sharing this info Staci! I'm glad to hear your second child doesn't have any food allergies (wow!) -- and you're right, fate is funny. Sounds like you were very prepared for both the bee and milk allergy with your 2nd and 3rd child. I appreciate the reassurance that food allergies are much easier to handle the second time around. I'm hoping we luck out and don't have to do this again, but I am banking on the fact that it'll at least be MUCH easier than round one if we do.

01/29/2013 12:38

Yaaaay! Congratulations:) I hope everything goes well. I've always been one to tell pregnancy news way early because I don't want to have to pretend nothing ever happened if I had a miscarriage. Though I've never had one, so I don't actually know how I'd feel.

02/04/2013 10:33

Thanks Jessica! And yeah, I think it's hard to know how one would feel in that situation, but I do have a friend who's miscarried twice (she also has three beautiful boys) who said the one people knew about was far easier for her.

01/31/2013 09:01

Congrats! I have followed your blog at Parenting since you were pregnant the first time around. I read your post there today and wanted to comment, but I can't figure out how to on Parenting's website so I'm commenting here. :) I have a 13 month old daughter and have been pondering when a good time to have baby #2 would be. My husband and I have always said we wanted our kids 2-2 1/2 years apart. That way they'd be close in age and would hopefully be close in life and be good playmates together. However, to make that age gap happen that means here pretty soon we'd need to start trying for baby #2. (It took me 3 1/2 months to get pregnant with baby #1 and we're anticipating about the same this time, although you never know it could take less or more time to conceive the 2nd time.) My husband is ready to get started now! He can't wait. However, I didn't have the easiest pregnancy. I was SO tired the whole time and very sick with constant all day morning sickness that lasted until I was about 7 months pregnant. So, I'm not sure I'm ready to face that again especially with an older child to look after this time. Not only that but I've finally lost all of my pre-pregnancy weight, but I'd still like to lose a little more and can't do that if I get pregnant. Then there's the fact that I'll probably be potty training my first right when the new one comes and that could definitely be tricky. There are so many what if's! But at the same time, now that my first "baby" is now a toddler I find myself sometimes suddenly getting hit with baby fever and feeling nostalgic for the infant days. Any other readers out there with kids 2- 2 1/2 years apart. Would you recommend it?? Is it easier if they're closer to 3 years apart? I have actually read that it is, but I don't know that we want to wait that long.

02/04/2013 10:41

Thanks for your comment Kelsi! I was FULL of what-if's, too (http://www.alt-mama.com/1/post/2012/04/undecided-on-family-expansion.html), and, for me, that was not the right time. Yet. All of the issues and what-ifs and whatnot seemed to sort themselves out over the past four or five months, so that's how we ended up pregnant now. (I got my IUD removed when I was ready... and I'm glad I got pregnant right away!) I did want to have a baby soon enough for the age gap to be conducive to the kids playing together and whatnot, but rushing in too soon would have meant more chaos before I was ready for it. Every family's different, and you should definitely go with your gut, but I think you still have time -- don't stress the timing! You'll know when you're ready. (And I have heard a 3 year age gap is easier than 2, but again, this is totally subjective.)


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