Life

Baby Update: Third Trimester

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Since I’m in my third trimester now, I thought I would write an update on how the pregnancy is going. Overall everything has been fine, though I have to say that the second time around has been a lot tougher. I definitely didn’t realize how good I had it the first time I was pregnant! Unlimited weekend naps, eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted…that’s all long gone. But getting to play with a fun and energetic toddler has been rewarding in an entirely different way.

Baby timing: This was a topic I had a lot of questions about, which I completely understand – timing of children was one of the major stressors for me as well. Do we space them further apart, and have more recovery time in between? Or get all the pregnancy woes, diaper changing, etc, over with and done as quickly possible? We went back and forth for a long time, with my husband supportive of whatever I felt most comfortable with.  And in the end, I made the decision that I wanted to have kids close together, largely for career reasons…so that I could batch my time off. I think if I had gone back to work after baby #1, I might have done things differently, and spaced them further. But then the question would have come up about age…which brings me to…

Age: I’m definitely feeling my age lately with this baby…more than I ever have before (what a ringing endorsement, right?). And I’ve often been frustrated. It’s hard to have physical limitations. I had some health problems earlier this pregnancy which my doctors were originally thinking were more serious than they thankfully turned out to be…but for a while they were talking about surgery after the baby, etc. And I was scared! I asked what the cause was, and they said they couldn’t point to a definitive reason, but brought up the fact that my two children will be less than two years apart. “We typically advise to wait at least two years between pregnancies,” they said. “It’s hard on your body.”

Then, minutes later in the conversation: “You are getting older…as you age, these things just happen.”

“So wait,” I said. “Basically, you’re telling me that I’m having my children too close together, but also that I’m old?”

And there was some hemming and hawing but yup, that was it. There’s no escaping Mother Nature, right? That being said, I know women a variety of ages, both older and younger, that had way easier second pregnancies..but I think the point still stands, that time marches on…

Advice: My biggest piece of advice I can share from this pregnancy, related to the age point above, is that I’ve learned how important it is to take care of yourself. Seriously! If something (or someone) is stressing you out, and it’s not like, brushing your teeth or basic human decency, I’d cut it out. Take a break, and put yourself first. Life is short, and for me after a few of the health scares we’ve had in in this pregnancy, I’ve realized that excessive physical and/or mental stress can really take a toll…sometimes even permanently. Our bodies are so important, and I want to be around to see my children grow up. I want to be in good physical condition, so that I can carry my toddler, and play with him on the grass. So take care of yourself, first.

Second piece of advice… for a lot of these things, there really is no one “right” decision. Sorry!

Finally, I’d say to be kind, to yourself and other women. I’m aware and thankful that I’m fortunate in many ways, from being born in this country to not having to work, etc. People are generally pretty polite when I complain about my first world problems, like slow wifi. But for some reason, when it comes to pregnancy, even perfect strangers can be vicious! I’ll mention a throwaway comment about how I’m in pain or just tired, and inevitably someone will then pipe up about how their sister/cousin/best friend/roommate birthed 6 kids and one of them was triplets and she still had to work two jobs and her husband was a total ogre who didn’t lift a finger, and she never ever complained. So basically, they’re telling me to STFU. And yeah, I know that it could be worse…a lot worse…but isn’t that most of life? It doesn’t mean that what I’m going through isn’t still something, right?

I have a friend, who is right now in her first pregnancy. She’s super hot, incredibly smart and accomplished, and oh, just happens to have just moved to the Bay Area, to one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen. I really feel like she has it all. Yet she’s having a hard time in her pregnancy, she’s tired and sick and whenever she comes over she plops her gorgeous self and exotic handbag I lust for on my couch and moans and groans. And for a while, I was like…shut up! You have everything! You want to see exhausted? I can’t wait til you do this again…with an energetic toddler who loves to be carried and feels like a sack of bricks. Zip it…and go back to Saks!

But then I realized that she is exhausted, she is going through something scary and new, and my attitude is just as bad as anyone’s who has dismissed me and my own fears and discomfort. Growing a baby is a big deal. Pregnancy is a big task. Recovering sometimes is even harder. And I do feel that it’s our jobs as women to support each other during these times, to be kind and understanding. I’m not saying we should all rush to cater to that person who goes strutting down the street, yelling “I’m pregnant! Everyone come worship!” because people like that should be jailed. But I don’t think we should pretend that childbirth isn’t a major ordeal, because it is. It deserves to be treated seriously, by our governments, our partners and at the very least ourselves.

There it is…my pregnancy update in a nutshell! I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, feedback, and anything else. Thank you all for being so kind and thoughtful. I’ve learned so much for all of your comments and experiences.

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  • Anonymous
    April 24, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Ditto. This is everything!

    • Katherine
      April 26, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      Thank you!

  • bisbee
    April 24, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Every single point you make is valid and extremely well expressed, as always. Good luck with the remainder of your pregnancy!

    • Katherine
      April 26, 2017 at 3:37 pm

      Thank you bisbee!

  • Christine
    April 24, 2017 at 10:20 am

    I think that pregnancy is very individual. My first son was born when I was almost 40, and the second son at 44. I felt well during both pregnancies. I think the fact that I didn’t experience any morning sickness helped tremendously. Older age mothers can’t really compare how it would feel to go through the same experience at a younger age. It felt normal for me, and in the end that is what really counts. 🙂

    • Katherine
      April 26, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      Yes it is – and I think you must be in fabulous shape! 🙂

  • Jane
    April 24, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Katherine,
    First, all my love and best wishes to you for your health and hapiness. I hope that you feel well and healthy as you approach your delivery. I appreciate all of your posts, but this one in particular.

    We all need to be kind to ourselves and others, during pregnancy and after. Moms can be so hard on themselves and one another, and it’s a losing game. In the scheme of life, pregnancy (and babyhood) is a finite amount of time and it’s ok to take care of yourself and ask for help. I had two very scary and difficult pregnancies, both involving pre-term labor (with very happy endings). For years, I thought I “caused” my first pre-term labor (I didn’t) because I was working so hard at a big law firm. All my friends would work up until they went into labor — at work! And I assumed that I could work the same way, and didn’t even realize I was in labor until it was almost too late. The lesson I learned is to pay attention to how I am feeling (pregnant or not) and seek help when I need it.

    If I could be bold and give one word of advice to all the pregnant readers out there: if something doesn’t feel right, call you doctor right away. It’s ok to call. Labor doesn’t always look like it does on TV and in the movies, and it’s better to call and visit your doctor.

    • Katherine
      April 26, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Thank you Jane, for sharing your experience and your well wishes…I’m happy to hear that both your pregnancies had happy endings 🙂

  • h
    April 24, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful words. And I agree, definitely be kind to yourself and other women. I have to actively work on this (I find I give men passes in the same situations that I hold women to higher standards :/) but hope that consciously trying has some effect… Best of luck with the last trimester!

    • Katherine
      April 26, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Thank you H, for being honest!

  • Emily
    April 24, 2017 at 10:42 am

    My husband and I talk about having our kids close in age – mainly because we’re not young enough to wait too long! We also thought it would be nice for them to be closer in age so they could play together better. I didn’t think about the added benefit of taking the career hit all at once so thanks for validating our decision, even if ours was more motivated by age. 🙂

    Hope the rest of your pregnancy and delivery goes smoothly!

    • Katherine
      April 26, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Thank you!! Best of luck with your family planning 🙂

  • Alisa Gabriel
    April 24, 2017 at 11:01 am

    You are so right about treating yourself and others kindly, though it may not always be easy when they’re getting on your last nerve 🙂 I had my kids late — 34 and 39 — because that’s just the way things worked out. There’s absolutely no “right” spacing or age difference in my opinion: plusses and minuses with all choices.

    I just want to add that the shaming thing continues well past childbirth with conflicts between stay at home moms and those who work. You’d think we’d have moved beyond this issue in 2017 but I really don’t think we have. I worked full time and not everyone was supportive but I’d have been miserable (and therefore not much of a mother) if I had stopped. That’s just me. Others would be miserable if they left their kids at home.

    All I know is: if you love them, listen to them, take care of yourself, and don’t forget that you were a couple before you were parents, your children will be happy and well-adjusted.

    Hope everything goes well; enjoy the journey!

    • Katherine
      April 26, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Hi Amy, thanks so much and I understand what you say about the shaming not ending at childbirth. A shame but wonderful people like you make up for it.

  • Anna
    April 24, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    We are about two months apart! I particularly enjoy your post about baby/pregnancy because it resonates and I learn so much from your experience! Love the picture in this post – a sneak peak at your beautiful home as well 🙂 Happy to hear the second pregnancy is going well and that the earlier scares turn out to be less scary.

    This is my first pregnancy. I have to say being pregnant changes your relationship with the world and others! That friend who used to be funny and cool – got blacklisted after jokingly calling you ‘big belly’ on two different occasions. That friend who has no children but full of judgment how people should raise their kids – somehow you could always find excuses not to go to her parties any more. I generally find people who have been through pregnancy, men or women, to be more compassionate and understanding.

    And age and timing. Gosh, spot on! And adding to the mix, education and career and some time to enjoy ourselves. And on top of that, finding the one you want to build a life with. I often ‘complain’ to my husband why he didn’t find me a few years earlier and ‘blame’ him for some of life’s dilemma related to timing we are faced with on him. lol I think we are being hard on ourselves here trying to balance all of these things in life: education, career, experience, getting married and having children at the ‘recommended age’.

    And on taking care of ourselves. Yes, totally agree. I’m in the last stretch of my pregnancy. I’m working from home and taking it easy. I’m quoting Ali Wong here “I don’t want to lean in. I just want to lie down!” And yes, I feel rightfully so. I’m lucky to have such flexibility. Shame pregnant women are expected to work until the baby is out to maybe be lucky enough to be offered some paid time off!

    • Katherine
      April 26, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      Hi Anna thanks so much for your comment and please take care of yourself. Best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy!

  • caitlyn
    April 24, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Hi Katherine, belated congratulations on your second pregnancy!!
    I loved this post and your advice about being kind to yourself resonates particularly with me. I am also an “older mom” — had my kids at 32 and 37. Pregnancy was SO much harder for me the second time around – was super tired faster, got gestational diabetes, etc. Dealing with all the physical stuff + working + caring for a preschooler = A LOT. So, being kind of ourselves is really important. Sometimes we need to let stuff go and not beat ourselves up about it. For my perfectionistic self that is super hard but really, it’s more important to maintain our sanity.
    I am always, always in awe of women who can manage “two under two”!!! I have a full five year gap between my two and I still think it is super hard to juggle! But going back to diapers and bottles after being away from them for years – that was hard too. 🙂
    Take good care and I wish you all the best!

    • Katherine
      April 26, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Hi Caitlyn – yes pregnancy with a toddler is a whole other ballgame, ha! I think two kids is hard no matter what. Thank you!

  • Anonymous
    April 24, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    “I’m not saying we should all rush to cater to that person who goes strutting down the street, yelling “I’m pregnant! Everyone come worship!” because people like that should be jailed.”

    YES!

    • Katherine
      April 26, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      LOL. I mean it!

  • Yuet
    April 24, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Hi Katherine, congrats on your second pregnancy. And after reading this latest installment of your blog, I’m quite shocked that people aren’t kind to a pregnant woman. It doesn’t matter if you’re privileged, choose to stop working after your first child, or seem to have it all in life. A pregnant woman deserves to be pampered and be treated with extra kindness.
    Being pregnant and carrying another human being for nine months is a big deal. Not everyone can do that and it certainly wears on the body physically and mentally, sometimes good and sometimes not so good.
    I don’t ever remember having to deal with some of the issues that you’ve mentioned. My two kids are 23 and 21. Were people different then and kinder? Sad if this world is turning out people that always look to be mean to one another.
    Take care of yourself, your family, your beautiful “baby feathers” and don’t ever be sorry for wanting to raise your children and wanting to spend time with them or that you’ve got that option. I’m very happy for you! Be well for the rest of your term.

    • Katherine
      April 26, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      Thanks so much Yuet 🙂 I think people are generally considerate but these days with social media, etc its also easier to disconnect from humans in person I think.

  • Amy
    April 24, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Congratulations! Glad to hear the health scare has passed uneventfully.

    I feel you. First pregnancy was all cute perky bump, striving to do crush it at work until the last moment (I actually landed a new job 9 months pregnant), and feathering the picture-perfect nest. Second pregnancy was morning sickness, huge grossness, and slacking off — and I’m so glad I took it easier because honestly, nobody really remembers if you put in that additional 20% in your last two months gestating a human or not.

    The pregnancy’s the easy part. I’m still coming to grips with managing two kids. With one, I felt she slipped right into our lives and we could tote her about as we went to museums and brunches. I was, if anything, a bit too defensive to prove that “I’m still me”. With two, I’m fully embracing the mommyhood and scaling back on activities. Because I’m so. Damn. Tired. Even with a fairly flexible job and two nannies. Something always needs doing or is taking up mental capacity.

    • Katherine
      April 26, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      Hi Amy! 🙂 Thank you, and I hope you are taking care of your beautiful self!

  • bisbee
    April 25, 2017 at 4:53 am

    Just wanted to post again after reading the other stories. I am WAY past the baby stage – my grandchildren are almost 12 and 8! My children are 42 and 39 – you get the picture.

    I had my children quite early by today’s standards – I was finished by 26. Most of my friends were NOT at that stage – none of them were even married – so I made friends who were a little older and having children at the same time. I didn’t work up until the last minute – with the first I was commuting a long distance and I was teaching Elementary Art – it was too much physically. With my second I was living in the city and taking a bus to work (changed careers) – it was amazing that I would get on a bus and no one would give up their seat! I would get off and wait for the next bus – so I understand about people not taking care of pregnant women – my goodness, I always gave up my seat to pregnant ladies! Stopped working 6 weeks before I was due (that was due to the bus situation and also this was with my 2nd – I knew it would be the last time I would have relative peace – my older one was in day care and I kept him there part time). I stayed home with my first child for 8 months and the second for 6 months, then worked part time for 6 years. My parents and in-laws thought I should stay home and not work…but I look at my children, now grown men, and they are wonderful human beings, and my older son is a fabulous father.

    Your children will be great because you will do the right things for them at the right times. Don’t listen too much to others – it can make you crazy!

    • Katherine
      April 26, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      Thanks so much again Bisbee. I can’t wait to be a grandmother. I think that’s when the real fun begins, ha!

  • Sammie
    April 26, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    I am so happy to hear things are going well Katherine! So excited for your growing family!

    Both of my pregnancies were not easy and were scary as heck. But at the end of the day, looking back, I am so grateful that I was able to conceive and have children. I too, had two under two.

    Two is a game changer, for real! But you can/will do it! Good luck 🙂

    • Katherine
      April 29, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Thank you Sammie!

  • Lesley
    April 27, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Having 2 under 2 is definitely challenging. I just gave birth to my 2nd last week..but thankfully, this time around, recovery has been MUCH smoother than the last time (took me 9 weeks last time to be truly pain-free) b/c juggling the toddler and newborn has been another experience altogether. It’s so hard to have that “mom guilt” all the time..newborn needs you (breastfeeding) and toddler wants you b/c he’s used to having you all to himself..the hardest was not being able to pick him up..since I feel better, I’ve started picking him up again yesterday. Then the tantrums from the toddler b/c he doesn’t really grasp what’s going on altogether (and likely terrible twos are upon us). Anyway..hubby and I have been tag-teaming it. I know we have to be patient and it will all pass soon. Good news is..not getting sleep with the 2nd if SO MUCH easier than with the first. Lol. I was a zombie for at least 2 weeks after my first..now it’s like a walk in the park. I’m up at 7am and ready to go..my husband is like did you get a lot of sleep last night?? NOPE! But for some reason it’s been better. I guess when you become a parent, you never sleep the same again, no?

    I hope the rest of your pregnancy is smooth sailing and that you have a good delivery. My pregnancy was overall great (still worked out, no hypertension or gestational diabetes or any other conditions) but it was definitely more tiring b/c like you said..you can’t sleep/nap when you want b/c there’s someone else that needs your attention and really, you are working with their schedule. But enjoy your time with baby Feather as much as possible. I do regret not taking some days off prior to delivery to spend time with my toddler before little brother came. I worked till the end..that work guilt. *sigh* Wish there was an easier answer for everything right? All the best!!

    • Katherine
      April 29, 2017 at 10:40 am

      CONGRATULATIONS!! And I’m so glad to hear your second one has been smoother…I feel better reading your post 🙂 Best of luck to you and your family and I hope you do get some more sleep soon! Even though you’re used to life without it now 🙂

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life
    April 28, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    I have friends who are on their second now, and friends who have had their fifth, and everywhere in between. With just one I’m amazed at how they managed more than one pregnancy while having to corral more than one little one running around!
    The first pregnancy was both easier and ten times harder than I expected. My baseline health sucks so I had really low expectations of course so I was and still am so incredibly grateful that JuggerBaby came out so healthy and happy. The third trimester though, oh, what a miserable time that was! The PUPPs just about made me crazy and it wasn’t even anything life threatening. Just severe unbearable itching All The Time. This all colors my thinking about if we’ll have a second: PUPPs apparently usually happens again in subsequent pregnancies, there’s really no resting as you need it with a toddler, there’s the question of whether and how I continue to work, etc.

    All of these things are highly individual to each mama, but taken collectively I would expect that we’d be more empathetic to how hard it can feel as we each find our way. Here’s to learning to be supportive of women while they do one of the hardest jobs I know of!

    • Katherine
      April 29, 2017 at 10:38 am

      OMG I had PUPPs too! I’ll update if I get them, so far so good…yes I was itching everywhere last time, so unsightly lol.