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They say every pregnancy is different, and while I know this, I didn’t really know this until I was pregnant for the second time. To say that my second pregnancy was different to my first is a massive understatement.
You prepare yourself for the morning sickness and all day nausea, but don’t expect the fatigue to hit you so hard and fast, you prepare for the body changes but don’t realise you’re going to look like you spent the last few hours at an ‘all you can eat’ bar from the moment those two lines appear on the pregnancy test.
I honestly thought having done it all before, I’d feel so much more prepared the second time around, but I think it actually made things worse. During your first pregnancy, you’re excited as you notice each symptom (except the nausea and vomiting… that’s just awful). But in your second pregnancy, you’re expecting the same symptoms and experiences as before but it doesn’t always work that way.
Here’s just how my second pregnancy is different to my first, some of them really took me by surprise.
1 – I Just Wanted To Sleep All Day
This kind of fatigue is different from anything I had ever experienced. I have worked for years as a Paramedic where we get called out at all hours of the night and need to be awake and alert within minutes, I’ve nursed a baby through sleeping for no longer than 1 hour at a time (max… for real), but nothing, absolutely nothing like this.
Where I literally couldn’t keep my head up and eyes open. I’d get out of bed, move to the lounge and fall asleep for another 6 hours, wake, eat, vomit and then sleep again. I am so grateful for an incredible husband who kept my life and our family together for weeks and weeks on end.
It didn’t help that Hyperemesis Gravidarum hit me hard the second time around as well. Feeling like I was constantly hungover, vomiting so much I would choke and almost pass out, being on a home IV and needing to sleep all the time didn’t really give me that pregnancy energy some women get.
2 – There’s No Hiding The Bump
With my first pregnancy, I didn’t start showing until around 14 weeks, and even then it was a teeny tiny little belly pooch. Heck I was even wearing my skinny pre-pregnancy jeans the day I went into labour.
The second time around my poor pants stood no hope! By week 9 I had a full on preggo belly and I didn’t stop growing. Stretchy pants quickly became my wardrobe staple.
Even though I lost a lot of weight with hyperemesis, I still had a much, much bigger tummy in my second pregnancy. So much so, people feel the need to ask me if I was sure I was only having one baby and not having twins. Thanks people, thanks.
3 – Everything Hurts
If things hurt during my first pregnancy, they were nothing in comparison to this time.
Apparently, because everything is already ‘pre-stretched’ the body loosens up a lot easier, which results in pain in ligaments and joints. Yay! My hips felt like I was 90 years old, breathing seemed to be a lot more difficult and the migraines!! Oh the migraines are insane.
I spent a lot of time getting massages and with my chiropractor who was absolutely amazing. I also spent a lot more time learning how to stretch and take care of my body in the later trimesters, was more aware of strengthening my lower back and slow, purposeful movements.
4 – I Skipped Bump Photos
With pregnancy number one I took bump pics every single week. You could barely notice the difference some weeks but I didn’t care, I felt like I needed those weekly pics. For pregnancy number two, by 24 weeks I had taken all of 5 bump photos.
It wasn’t like I didn’t get excited about my growing belly, it was more because I realised I had barely looked at those pics I took in the 5 years since I had my son. You don’t need one every week, just a few pics spread out. And a nice little collage for when Google photos reminds me of ‘this day 4 years ago…’
5 – How Far Along Are You?
You’ll get asked this question a lot in pregnancy. For pregnancy number one, you’ll respond quickly with the number of weeks (and sometimes even the number of days too) proudly declaring you’re 23 weeks and 4 days. For pregnancy number two I had to actually think about it… like really think about it. Then check my calendar… and more often than not just give up and say ‘I’m due in October’.
Again, it’s not because I wasn’t excited. It’s just the second time around I also had a toddler to deal with and the weeks didn’t feel like weeks as much as they just felt like a huge blur of days into days.
6 – I Barely Own Any Maternity Clothes
Even for my first pregnancy, I was super conservative with maternity clothes – after all, they are so incredibly expensive and you only really wear them for a few months.
Thankfully I was pregnant over winter so baggy clothes made things a lot easier. I purchased a handful of maternity shirts, wear pants with an elastic waist and I’m all good.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on maternity clothes if you don’t want, but I’m all for doing things that make you feel good. If owning a pretty maternity dress or a pair of jeans that makes you feel good is what you want, then go for it. Do whatever you need to do in order to feel good – especially during pregnancy.
7 – I Didn’t Buy All The Baby Items
I went to a baby expo about halfway through my pregnancy and realised just how much stuff there is to buy. Like, just stuff. I would never begrudge anyone who really wants to buy a certain item, but you definitely don’t need all of it. Regardless of how much someone says it’s a ‘must have’ item.
I had a lot of stuff for my first baby that just took up space and rarely got used. Unfortunately, the second time I kind of went in the complete opposite direction and barely purchased anything.
Instead, we just purchased items as we needed them. We bought a bath a few weeks after our baby was born, and still mostly just washed her in the shower with us. We didn’t buy a change table at all, just a change matt that we had on the top of a dresser and usually changed our baby wherever suited us, and we purchased a rocker after about a month and used it all of 3 times…
You don’t need all the stuff and when you have your second baby you realise how little a baby actually needs.
8 – I Carried Differently
Again, I know each pregnancy is different and my first baby was a boy, and my second baby is a girl, and apparently, you can carry different based on gender. But wowzers.
I already mentioned I was much bigger but I also felt wider and my bump was a lot higher. It’s these subtle differences that others probably don’t notice but they made me feel like my body was soooo different during my second pregnancy.
I also found I gained more weight, became bigger in the belly towards the end of my pregnancy, and it took longer to feel like myself after the pregnancy too. This might all be due to being a bit older (I was 26 when my son was born, and 30 when my daughter was born), or it could be because it’s my second pregnancy.
9 – I Savoured The Moments
With my first pregnancy, there was always the thought that I would do it all again. I always imagined having two or three children so pregnancy number one was the ‘trial run’ of sorts. Getting used to the whole process.
My husband and I decided we wouldn’t be having any more children, so my second pregnancy would be my last. Which meant I savoured the moments a little more. Taking more notice of ‘the last time’ and even went on maternity leave earlier so I could enjoy the last trimester of pregnancy more.
It was kind of liberating to just enjoy the moments.
10 – Coffee Wasn’t Completely Off The Table
One of the most annoying things with pregnancy is that everyone has an opinion on what you should or shouldn’t be eating, drinking and doing. No matter what you do, someone will have an issue with it. While I managed to ignore most people the first time around, that was largely due to me being so sick I would literally just eat or drink anything that would stay down.
I also cut out all caffeine (including tea), all ‘bad’ foods and cut down hugely on sugar in my first pregnancy.
Not so much this time.
I didn’t have coffee every single day but mostly that’s because I didn’t feel like it. But I allowed myself little indulgences and you know what? They felt sooooooo good. Rather than stressing out about it, I just had them in small doses and of course, discussed with my midwife. Including eating Nutella out of the jar.
Plus, I had a 4 year old to look after as well… cutting coffee out was kind of laughable.
11 – I Knew What Was Coming
This was both an awesome thing, and a scary thing. With my first pregnancy, the unknown was exciting. I was never really scared of labour, but now I know so much more about it, I’ve been able to make different decisions. I was actually really excited about labour the second time! And I loved it so much.
But it didn’t stop there. My son was a horrible sleeper, he would sleep for an hour at a time at most. Which meant I was constantly exhausted. It took months for my husband and I to figure out a routine for ourselves to manage the lack of sleep. The second time around we had more of an idea of how to deal if it got super rough, which definitely helped will lessen the damage (to us that is…).
We were more calm and able to take things as they came, knowing that everything passes and everything changes. Whatever ‘routine’ you feel you have set up, just gets changed with your baby starts a leap or starts teething. Knowing it always changes helps you just roll with it and enjoy the flow.
Each pregnancy may be different but you never really know just how different they are going to be. I only have the two to compare, but I’ve spoken with women who have had multiple pregnancies and also say how different they all are.
With each pregnancy, I became more confident, more educated and more aware of my body. It’s exciting. My second pregnancy was different to my first, but they were both amazing in their own ways.