So we have some good news to share--I'm pregnant again! The baby is due May 8, a few weeks before Arlo's second birthday. Here's a scan from our 11-week ultrasound. I think it looks like the baby is wearing a toupee, but I'm pretty sure that's not the case :)
As of tomorrow, I'll be 16 weeks pregnant. I'm feeling pretty good. My experience with morning sickness this time around was a lot like it was with Arlo--no vomiting (phew), just food aversions, general feelings of yuckiness, and fatigue. Patrick has been amazing and has done so much to cover for me for the past few months while I've been laid low by morning sickness. Most of my symptoms subsided a few weeks ago, but I still get tired a lot--probably due to having a toddler to take care of this time around. Here I am at 14 weeks, looking as big as I did at 20 weeks with Arlo. I started showing around 9 weeks. I guess my uterus and abdominal muscles were all too happy to stretch out this time around.
So far our checkups have gone well, and our ultrasound at 11 weeks went smoothly. Yay! This still doesn't seem quite real, but I think it'll become more real once I start feeling the baby kicking (any day now!). I think part of it is that we weren't planning on getting pregnant again quite so soon. We definitely wanted to have another baby, but we were thinking the spacing would be closer to 3 years than 2. But we'll make it work. Plenty of families do this!
I've decided to try for a VBAC this time, mostly because I don't want to go through another long, painful C-section recovery like I did with Arlo. We're planning on having my mom come stay with us when the baby's born, so at least we won't be totally flailing if I do have another C-section and am stuck in bed for a month, but I'd really prefer to be mobile for that first month of new baby amazingness.
In the meantime, I've got some emotional baggage to work through from Arlo's birth. I tried to portray it as positively as I could when I wrote about it after he was born, but it was a really hard experience for me, and I feel some bitterness and regret about how it turned out. Obviously, I also feel immense gratitude that Arlo and I both came out of it healthy, and I feel joy that we have such an amazing little boy, but that doesn't change the fact that there are negative feelings wrapped up in my memories of Arlo's birth and first few months of life (breastfeeding problems, ugh). I wish it wasn't that way. Hopefully someday I'll be able to get past the negative stuff and just remember the good parts.
I'm doing a few things to improve my odds of having a successful VBAC. Instead of the OB/GYN I saw with Arlo (who I like as a gynecologist but was not a good match for me as an OB, in retrospect), I am seeing the midwives at OHSU. We have had a couple of visits with them, and I am really happy with my choice so far. I feel like I have as much time as I want to talk at each visit, and they are sympathetic about my past birth experience and seem genuinely interested in helping me achieve a VBAC. They have an 80% VBAC success rate, which I believe is the highest in Portland.
I've also started going to yoga classes once a week again, after a little morning-sickness-induced hiatus. I didn't exercise regularly when I was pregnant with Arlo, and it seems like being in better shape could only help with labor and delivery this time around. I just switched from a normal yoga class to a pre-natal yoga class at Zenana, and I think it will be a good fit for me. The instructor talks a lot about how the different positions can be used during labor, which I think will be really useful information to have. I definitely want to have a wider range of tools to draw on this time around, rather than just trusting that hypnobirthing will work for me like I did with Arlo (I might incorporate some of the hypnobirthing techniques this time around, but it definitely won't be the only thing I do).
The midwives have recommended a childbirth preparation class that is intended for people who may have some issues to work through regarding birth, so I'm going to try to take that in the spring.
I want to strike a balance between feeling prepared for birth and not stressing out about everything. I especially don't want to spend time worrying about how the baby is positioned this time around, since I did all sorts of things to optimally position Arlo in the weeks leading up to his birth, and he ended up sunny side up anyway. At least now I've had a C-section, and I know it won't be the end of the world if I have to have another one. Hopefully that will make me approach things a little more sanely this time around, so I won't go through 80+ hours of on-again, off-again labor and horrible ineffectual pitocin contractions before deciding it's time for a C-section.
The same thing goes for breastfeeding--hopefully it will go smoothly this time, but if it doesn't, there's no way we can expend the same amount of effort we did getting Arlo to breastfeed. We'll have a 2-year-old to take care of this time around--I won't be able to pump around the clock and go to lactation consultant appointments and support groups. We'll do the best we can, but I need to remember to be flexible and be prepared to let go of any notions I might have of how things will be. It's okay to have goals, but it's not good to cling to them so doggedly that you make yourself miserable in the process. This time around, I want to do a better job of enjoying the amazing experience of meeting our brand new baby!
Hmm, I guess that was a lot of heavy stuff to tack onto a happy pregnancy announcement post. It was good to write it all down though. And now that I don't have to keep my pregnancy a secret anymore, hopefully I'll get back to posting more regularly. Or I'll just keep sitting on the couch, knitting and watching TV shows online. That's about all I'm good for at night after Arlo goes to bed. I hope I'll get some of that magic second trimester energy soon!