This pregnancy has been similar to my pregnancy with Sophie in some ways, but also very different. This post probably won't be too interesting to anyone but me, but I want to jot these things down while they are on my mind (i.e. before little Joely robs me of rationality for the first several weeks of his life).
1. Morning sickness
With Sophie, when morning sickness hit me at around 7 weeks, it was relentless, 24/7 nausea that kept me pretty much horizontal. Eating was a torturous ordeal. I got next to nothing done. And then, on the very day I reached 14 weeks, it suddenly stopped, as if someone had it a switch.
This time, the biggest difference is that I had a two-year-old to care for, and so I couldn't spend absolutely all the time in a moaning heap on the couch. I had to fix her food and take her potty and give her baths, just like always, no matter how bad I felt.
Another big difference is that the nausea wasn't as constant with Joel. At first, I would be sick for a few days and then feel fine for a day or two. It was wonderful. As he grew, I was eventually sick every day, but I would often have an hour or two in the afternoon when I felt pretty good.
I expected the sickness to end around 14 weeks again, which was the same week I had my gall bladder removed. That didn't happen for me, though. I didn't see the end of the morning sickness until 18 weeks, but just like with Sophie, when it ended, it was just suddenly, gloriously gone.
I carried Sophie very high. By 22 weeks, my insides were so crowded that one of my ribs was pushed out of place, causing lots of pain and pinched nerves and trouble sleeping/eating/sitting/standing. Also around that time, I had to buy extenders to make my bras wider to accomodate my wider ribcage.
Not so this time. I am 33.5 weeks and still in my everyday 36C, no extension necessary. And I can still breathe deeply, a luxury that was long gone at this point with Sophie. Baby Joel is just situated low in my abdomen, for whatever reasons. Bizarrely, I can feel him pushing against my hip bones, which is truly the strangest sensation I have ever felt.
3. Braxton-Hicks contractions
I don't remember ever having any kind of contractions with Sophie before I was in a hospital bed with an IV of Pitocin dripping into my bloodstream. The doctor induced my labor 5 days after my due date, and at that point, she still hadn't even dropped down into my pelvis.
During this pregnancy, I have had Braxton-Hicks contractions regularly since about the 20-week point. A lot of times they are accompanied by a strange tightness in my chest, which is unsettling to me, but not a point of worry with my doctors.
4. Size matters
At my 36-week appointment with Sophie, my belly measured 34 weeks. The doctor decided to give me weekly ultrasounds and non-stress tests to make sure she was growing properly and not in any distress. They predicted a 5.5 pound birthweight. I had no stretch marks until after my due date had passed (and then there were only 2 small ones). But at birth, she weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces, a slightly above-average birthweight. She was just a late bloomer, I suppose.
Her brother, on the other hand, has apparently decided to blossom early. At my 30-week appointment last month, my belly measured 33 weeks, and I was invited back the following week for an ultrasound and a second gestational diabetes test. They found no sign of diabetes, but they did find a large baby boy. According to their best estimates, Baby Joel weighed in around the 97th percentile for a baby of his age, and I was told to prepare myself for the possibility of a c-section. Time will tell for sure, but he certainly feels big, and the network of stretch marks appearing near my flattening belly button didn't get there on their own.
5. Sense of time
We tried for several years before finally getting pregnant with Sophie. It was wonderful and terrifying and completely overwhelming, partly because it happened in conjunction with Greg's seminary graduation and a cross-country move. I worked part-time and had lots and lots of hours to think about the baby that was coming, about what she would be like, about how our life would change after she arrived.
Post-Sophie, my sitting-and-thinking time has been severely diminished. She is a whirlwind of activity and energy and it takes a lot of effort to keep up with her. Consequently, for the first 6 months or so after finding out about him, I didn't think about this baby very much. I took care of myself, and I certainly knew I was pregnant (especially through the long bout of morning sickness), but I didn't have a lot of time to sit and think about him the way I did with Sophie. I actually felt a little guilty about it (which seems a little ridiculous, since he has been my body's #1 physical priority since he appeared there, whether I was thinking about him or not), and I have recently spent a lot of time arranging his room, making his bed, and folding his tiny little clothes, just to feel like he's getting a little of my time.
Consequently, about a month ago, I looked down at my sizable baby bump and thought, "Oh my goodness. He's getting big!" Now he is so physically present that he's never far from my mind, even if it's just because I can't reach the second shelf in the kitchen cupboards or get up off the floor after playing with Sophie (or get more than 20 feet from a restroom in case of an emergency bladder situation), which I suppose is as it should be, since he'll be here in just a few short weeks.