I laugh now when I look back on my first pregnancy. I fully realized at the time how much free time I had, and how it was all about to change... which was part of why I relished all that freedom while I still had it. We were living overseas, and I was the pregnant expat wife who got to spend my days exploring a neat city and meeting up with girlfriends for lunch. Or taking long naps, if I felt like it. Or watching the entire 6 seasons of Sex and the City (I sometimes joked that D would be born thinking Sarah Jessica Parker was actually his mother, from hearing her voice so often).
This pregnancy is, well, slightly different. Heck, a lot of the time I forget I'm even pregnant (though now that I have a decent belly and feel kicks on a regular basis it's a bit more "real"). I love feeling those kicks, the gentle (so far) reminders that there is a little person growing inside my body, but it still all feels so abstract, and I don't get much time to focus on this pregnancy, this baby, or the changes that are ahead for all of us.
The other day D and I were playing and it hit me-- we've only got a few more months of it being just the two of us, unrestricted and with all the time in the world to play and cuddle and just hang out. We've talked about the baby, how he's going to be a big brother and we'll have a baby that he can help Mommy and Daddy take care of. How the baby at first won't be able to play or do much, and Mommy will have to spend lots of time taking care of him. But as much as I try to prepare him, there's no way he can really know what's going to happen. There's no way I can really know what having a baby will mean for us as a family, just as there was no way for me to really know (no matter how much prior experience I had with children and babies) what it would be like to have D. These are things you have to go through and experience to have any inkling. I imagine that going from 1 to 2 kids is a less jarring life change than going from none to one, since we've already made a lot of the big life adjustments that come with having kids. But then again that's sort of like saying, "Well, it's won't be quite as big an explosion as an atomic bomb..." I'm bracing for the swift kick in the ass life will be doling out to each of us in about 4 months' time.
I feel pretty calm about the birth. I actually started looking forward to giving birth again long before I felt at all comfortable with the idea of having another baby, which I know seems very odd especially since after D was born I had absolutely no desire to go through that again for a looong time. I suppose they're right about hormones making you forget. ; ) I think I was pretty calm about giving birth before D, as well, but this time I have the added bonus of experience. Of knowing that I can do it, because I already have. I do occasionally start to question-- what if this labor is way harder than D's was? What if the techniques that helped me deal with contractions don't work as well this time around? Am I forgetting things that I did to prepare last time, that will then make labor harder this time?
But overall I feel fairly calm and confident. I'm looking back over notes from the birthing class we took last time. I'm reading books, both old and new ones (I wish I'd known about Ina May's Guide to Childbirth with my last pregnancy, so much great information!). I'm trying to keep up some form of exercise, even if it's walks around the block with D. And while I don't think I'll get around to taking the class, I did order a book on hypnobirthing as I think the visualization tactics could be very helpful. I know that while my last labor was a challenge, I never reached that point of thinking "I can't do this" or "Take me to the hospital and give me the drugs already!!" I'm preparing myself mentally for things not going the way I hope they will, but also focusing on keeping a positive outlook and confidence as I firmly believe there is a huge psychological component to giving birth. I like reading through the birth stories in the Ina May book and on the Mothering website.
So that's where I am: trying to enjoy this pregnancy before it flies by me, and to appreciate this last window of time of us as a family of three before my baby boy becomes a big brother. These are exciting, happy, and slightly bittersweet times. Life, it is good.