Every pregnancy is different

Everybody knows that every pregnancy is different. Books, websites, friends and family will repeat this bit of wisdom until you start to tune it out. It’s absolutely true, of course. At least it is in my own experience.

I’m in my sixth month of my second pregnancy now. This one has been more challenging than the first one was in a lot of ways. It’s at least in part because I’m not 32 anymore — I’m 35, part of the the ‘higher risk’ zone that brings with it a whole slew of additional tests and worries. Nothing has gone wrong — I’m lucky in a lot of ways, and I know it. But there have definitely been challenges.

The first trimester: all queasy all the time

During the first pregnancy, my first trimester was lovely. I had no morning sickness, and found that the only real side-effect was needing a whole lot more sleep. I remember coming home from work and sleeping on the couch until dinnertime, then eating and going back to sleep on the couch until bedtime a few hours later, and having no trouble at all getting to sleep. This happened nearly every night. That was it, though — no morning sickness, and none of the other first trimester issues the internet warned me about.

This time around I was not only tired out, but also found myself in a state of constant nausea. I never actually got sick, but for about three months straight I felt queasy all the time. It was beyond unpleasant. And because I have a 3 and a half year old, the concept of getting home from work and casually napping was an utterly foreign one. So for three months I was exhausted and on a constant edge of throwing up. I wasn’t unhappy about my pregnancy, but I wasn’t the picture of good cheer that I had been during the first one. I developed an uneasy relationship with food — I was hungry, but when I ate it made me queasy. I dreaded mealtimes.

Near the end of the first three months, though, the nausea vanished. I was beyond grateful, and happy to renew my formerly positive relationship with food.

The second trimester: the time of the colds

Unfortunately for me, also near the end of that first three months, I caught a cold. I’m pretty sure it came home with Lyra from daycare one day. I couldn’t take anything for the symptoms, of course, because cold medication isn’t recommended during pregnancy. I spent much of my Christmas vacation time (nearly three weeks) miserably sick. And then I developed a bladder infection and got put on antibiotics. It was not the best of times.

I recovered from the evil cold of doom, was fine for approximately 1.5 weeks, and then developed a new cold that moved in and set up camp in my sinuses. Once again I was stuck feeling awful with no medicinal recourse. I tried some natural things, but the only one that helped was lemon ginger tea, and I got tired of that pretty quickly. This one didn’t last quite as long, though — I was only sick for a week and a half.

I recovered from that cold, and was feeling fairly normal for about 2 weeks, when Lyra brought home yet another virus of some sort from daycare. I caught this one too — it didn’t just set up camp in my sinuses, it felt like it was building building itself a fortress — and was down for another week and a half. By the time I felt better, it was the beginning of March. I had basically spent the better part of three months with a cold or recovering from a cold.

The first pregnancy, by contrast, didn’t have much in the way of health impacts. It’s possible, again, that this was in part because I didn’t have a kid in daycare bringing home the germs. Or maybe my immune system was more depressed this time around than it was the first time, and I was better able to fight off the viruses. Either way, it was something different.

Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed a few other differences between the first and second pregnancies. Last time I had weird anti-cravings happen — I suddenly could not stand the taste of perogies for much of my last pregnancy (how does one hate potatoes and cheese together?) — I got over that. I also spent a week eating mostly bread, cheese, and canned peaches, because everything else I ate tasted like pencil shavings.

The only similar thing that happened during this pregnancy was finding that my daily latte was completely unpalatable — I hated the stuff for about four months, and desperately missed drinking it at the same time. The irony here is that I started drinking coffee during my first pregnancy to fight the daily 3pm narcolepsy. I really, really missed coffee for that four months. I can drink it again now, but I’m not having a cup any day anymore

The third trimester: in the home stretch

I don't look terribly unhappy

I feel like my belly is bigger this time than it was the first time, at the same point. I don’t have any scientific evidence to back this up — it’s more of an overall feeling of being extra-crowded than anything else. Adam agrees with me, though, so I might not be totally crazy.

I’ve had more general discomfort, like back pain and tiredness, with this pregnancy. Plus, the last round of blood tests showed that I was overall in good shape, other than being just a little bit anemic — which didn’t happen last time. I’m on iron supplements now to address that.

My varicose veins, which appeared during the first pregnancy, have taken over more of my legs. This is something I’ve mostly come to terms with, except for every so often when I’m showering and notice them. They’re ugly, but they’re part of me now. So be it.

And I’ve had to deal a little bit with additional worry from Adam. Because I’ve been sick more often, because this pregnancy has been a bit harder on my body, because I haven’t been as upbeat and obviously happy about everything, he’s been more worried about me. Ultimately I feel like everything is fine; that this is just a different pregnancy, and that there are a lot of other factors at play here. I’ve reassured him of the same.

My due date is June 23rd, which means there is less than three months left to wait and prepare. I expect it to be reasonably smooth sailing from here, but this pregnancy has driven home the realization that yes, every pregnancy really is different.