We first met Kaylee through the Breastfeeding Project. We couldn't be more blessed to have her presence here on cord. Kaylee has been blogging through her rainbow pregnancy, and she's sharing her 2nd trimester reflections with us today.
We're so excited to meet this baby, Kaylee!
Where to Begin...
This pregnancy has been nothing short of a roller coaster. Thankfully, it's been a consistently healthy pregnancy (even with a stomach virus early September and morning sickness lingering well past the halfway mark), so I can't complain there. I really shouldn't complain at all, but let's be realistic here: it's been tough! My hormones constantly have the best of me, in various forms from the happiest and saddest of tears to the some of the most intense rage I've felt in my life. I never got that 2nd trimester “burst of energy” you hear so much about – I'm still tired ALL the time. BUT, nesting has kicked in in small doses and that has been lovely. And motherhood is proving to be quite the marathon with my high-spirited toddler. I guess we'll just start with the main theme of my 2nd trimester: mama guilt.
Parenting While Pregnant & Mama Guilt
Parenting my daughter while pregnant has been exceptionally difficult. And I feel awful about it. Everyone has told me to give myself some grace and that she doesn't know any better. As nice as that all is to hear, it really doesn't help me ease up on myself. I point blank feel like I'm failing in the mommy department. The only reason I know I'm hanging on is that she's a healthy little girl. I don't always know that she's happy, because she's a toddler, and I'm hormonal; so I take all the meltdowns much more personally than I should and convince myself that maybe she's not having as happy of a life as she deserves. I realize this is the hormones talking, but knowing better doesn't necessarily help me feel better when it comes to this. The guilt is tortuous. I feel like I'm taking my little girl for granted, and losing touch with how special she is to me, even before her new sibling is here to hog to spotlight. She's not very verbal yet, and has become quite the introverted little bug. I know this could very well just be her personality shining through, in which case I celebrate it. But I can't help but have these little shreds of doubt that it's because I've been the way I have – in a lousy pregnancy funk. At 24 weeks, this is still how I feel. This window of time where I should feeling awesome is growing smaller and smaller, and so far, any awesomeness has been minimally felt – I truly hope it's not an indication of a very impatient 3rd trimester to come!
2nd Trimester Update
With the ever-present fatigue, ligament and back pain, and of course, dear friend, morning sickness, I've had little motivation to do even the simplest of tasks. I feel like everything has been put on the back-burner simply because I don't feel like doing it – whether it be because I'm tired, achy, nauseous, or a combination of the three. Taking our daily walks. My personal yoga and meditation practices. Genuinely involved play and mindful interaction with my daughter. Maintaining an even halfway reasonably clean home. Getting out of bed in the morning. Feeding myself. Even feeding my daughter. We won't even discuss my lack of preparing family meals or for my husband – let's just be thankful he's always enjoyed being the chef in the family. Dressing myself has been a daily chore because I have yet to find a pair of pants that fits me “right” (I really just need to stock up on leggings for the rest of this pregnancy). Home sickness has reached its peak and I've been in tears almost daily over how much I miss our loved ones back east. I am part of an amazing village of mamas, and I value our community more than I could put into words, but my heart has just been aching for home (not necessarily the place, but the people). For me. For my husband. For my daughter. When we moved out here, we never realized the distance would be so hard. When we started our own family, it was a wake-up call to how special family can really be. It's been a constant struggle being so far away from them. Overall, I've been a total Miss Crabby Pants the past several weeks. I'm pretty sure my husband could be a saint at this point seeing as how he's the one who gets the wrath of it all the most.
On a more positive note, I LOVE feeling baby move. I don't know if this baby is just more active than S was or if I just notice it so much more. But this little guy or gal is a total mover! That has truly been the best part of this pregnancy – seeing and feeling the movements. With the stronger movements, growing belly and stretching ligaments, come some aches, but nothing too bad. I can't complain much of any rib pain yet, but I won't be surprised if I get to experience that this time around (S didn't hurt my ribs once). The back pain has been worse this time around, and it's going to keep me going to the chiropractor weekly. I won't complain though, because it's quite pampering in my opinion, and it gives baby & I the best chances for proper alignment and optimal positioning as we get closer to his or her arrival. I switched care to a chiropractor with more pregnancy-specific education, training and expertise and it really did make the world of a difference. (For any curious minds, Candice Koch with Active Chiropractic Wellness is wonderful!) I have nothing bad to say about my previous chiropractor, but I found myself really wanting someone who specialized more in pregnancy, etc. and it proved to be a great choice.
Nesting has made it's appearance and that was so gladly welcomed! I've always been a clean freak (which was being reality-checked by having a toddler, anyways) so when I finally got the drive to do any little bit of anything, it was amazing! I've made lists of my ideas and our “to do's” and have put a nice dent in everything. It was an adjustment, just as it was with S, to realize my mind often has more energy than my body while pregnant, and that I couldn't be super woman, busting through everything like I used to. I was hoping the above-mentioned reality check would help with this adjustment, but nope. I'm stubborn and don't like to accept some things, I guess. I'm doing what I can, making every effort not to overdo it. Luckily, or unluckily, depending on how I look at it, I don't think my body will even let me overdo it if I tried. So baby steps it is. :-)
It makes me feel bad that I don't have more positivity to share. The good bits are really good, but overall, I'll be real and say this pregnancy has been hard for me. It's brought me to a place where I will say, and genuinely believe, that I'm just not one of those mamas who is “good” at being pregnant. I think I used to be a little cocky about pregnancy and parenting, and I've always been one to believe that you can manifest what you believe, but this pregnancy has been an eye-opener that it's not always that easy. I go to bed every single night, convincing myself that tomorrow, it will be mind over matter, and that I'll have a good day, feel like a functioning adult, and be able to have a full, fun day with my daughter. And almost every single morning, I'm slapped in the face with a “yeah right!” It's taking a lot of effort, but I don't think this is what I'm doomed for. I think I've gotten myself in a rut, and it's just taking some good, hard work to get out of it.
I've been in a rather nasty cycle of hypoglycemia which has kept the morning sickness around, and hypotension which at times has made me feel extremely weak and faint. These both are common with my health conditions (namely thyroid and adrenal-related), are being monitored by my naturopath (our midwife is in the loop, too) and can be improved and properly managed with nutrition. Just within the past week, strides have been made. Apple sauce has become a bit of magic and has worked wonders on the blood sugar department. I snack on it throughout the day because it's something delicious, quick, easy, and keeps me “up” just enough until my next real snack or meal. We've found that I need to eat every 60-90 minutes to keep nausea at bay, even over the course of a night. It's been tricky to maintain, but we're getting there. Bedtime/sleep has been the most difficult hurdle in this area, but I'll get it down if it means feeling so much better. Naturally with the blood sugar improvement, the hypotension seems to be improving as well. I'm normally considered low on the spectrum anyways, but thankfully we're not seeing anymore 77/42's (my lowest ever recorded, and scariest for that matter). Fortunately, none of it has called for immediate healthcare response. However, I got hit with a nasty stomach bug in the beginning of September and had to go to the ER for fluids. Those that know me, know I am absolutely not a fan of going to the hospital, and that I am most certainly NOT a fan of needles for even the quickest blood work. So that was an experience, but I know I needed it after over 30 hours of not keeping even tiny sips of water down. All in all, the bug was 48 hours or less, with a couple of days to recover. It made me extremely grateful that my morning sickness is what it is, and not worse. It made me hold an even more special place in my heart for all those mamas who have to deal with hypermesis gravidarum (HG). I just can't imagine feeling that way day after day. I don't know if I could do it!
Breastfeeding Come to a Close
Mine & S' nursing relationship has come to an end. By the time I was 16 weeks, I had dried up and S had no interest. I like to think she weaned on her terms, even if I took steps to cut back on our usual nursing and had night-weaned leading up to it. When I realized it was looking like the end, I tried to reintroduce feedings, offering her throughout the day. She never wanted to. It initially broke my heart when it was final. When I had noticed my colostrum came in, I hand-expressed to show her there was something there for her, if she wanted. She tried, but had no interest other than licking it off. There was one night, shortly after transitioning into her big girl bed, that she woke up really upset, possibly from a bad dream by the way she was crying. I offered her then, and she latched for nearly a half hour. I can never know how much she got, but just that moment was pure bliss. I savored it while it lasted, knowing it might not happen again, and it hasn't since. It's been bittersweet, and I'm finally to the point where I fully embrace the way it happened. Reflecting now, I don't think it would've been beneficial for us to continue. It was surely a beautiful bond, and I truly did want to make it at least to two years for the health benefits, but it wasn't in our cards. I know it can be done – breastfeeding while pregnant and maintaining a healthy pregnancy, but I think for me, it would've been too much. I'm struggling enough with self care at this point, and if I still had my little monkey as my nursling, I know it'd likely be much worse.
Final Thoughts & Looking Forward
October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, with a special day dedicated to it on the 15th. It was a year ago that we lost our first of two angel babies after S, and ironically confirmed it with our midwife with an ultrasound on that special day, October 15, 2013. This brought on the real, raw grief of processing this loss, and the losses before S. It also brought on a new journey of healing, not only having the do with the losses, but with my health, too. (You can read my whole story in my previous post.) A year later, I'm happily (and uncomfortably) pregnant with my 2nd rainbow baby, with 4 weeks to go before I'm in the final stretch/3rd trimester, and I couldn't be more grateful for this incredible gift. The fear of losing this baby has remained minimal, but there's been a tiny voice that tries to shake me from time to time. Fortunately, I have been able to keep it in check. This pregnancy has been harder than with S – definitely harder than I was anticipating – but so, so worth it. The excitement I feel for S having her little sibling, for having our family of 4, it's amazing! I know in my heart, above all the doubts, guilt, and any other negatives, that this is what's meant to be for our family. Don't get me wrong, the very real fears exist, too. Like if they'll ever sleep at the same times, if S will want to wake the baby up, the adjustment (and more-than-likely jealousy) phase, giving S enough attention, etc. But motherhood, no matter the circumstances,is a marathon, and not a sprint. The days are long, but the years are short. These are the phrases that I try to keep in the front of my mind during the hard and/or downright scary times.
As I'm writing this, I am less than a month away from the 3rd trimester, and a mere 6 weeks from the “10-week countdown.” As difficult as this pregnancy has felt, it's flown by. It will hit me and/or my husband at times, and we'll almost be in shock over the fact that it's “really happening” and that we're going to have another baby. I don't know when it will fully hit me, because as connected as I feel to this baby, I feel almost disconnected from reality much of the time lately. I think it's because my mind is so busy with the rest of life. When I was pregnant with S, I had all the time in the world to visualize what my future might hold. This time, I'm too busy chasing her around and trying to maintain my day-to-day. Maybe it'll be when the birth pool is set up. We were just taking measurements, planning for the best place to put it, and that alone was surreal. Both my husband and I are so excited for our next homebirth, I just really wish I were enjoying the ride there more. If this baby comes as early as S did, we're only looking at 13-14 more weeks, and that, my friends, is a mind-blowing concept. The list of things I have to look forward to until then is vast and ensures time will continue to move as fast as it has been, if not faster. Birthdays, holidays and the best soups will hopefully keep my spirits high as we anticipate our new addition. <3