When you're 100 months pregnant, every woman you see is also 100 months pregnant. There's a quiet acknowledgement, a secret head nod. Although pregnancy is a miracle, we're all miserable and chafing in our downtowns beneath our stretchy Liz Lang for Target knee-length maternity dresses. Unless of course you remembered to put on your biker shorts from high school (yes, mine still fit. I had a big ass then, I have a big ass now).
I'm in this back and forth stage between GET IT OUT and STAY IN THERE. The second time around, you know too much. You know the pain of labor and the shock of the aftermath. No one tells you about these things in your first pregnancy because they want to protect your precious, delicate lady bits. By the time you're on number two, you are far from precious or delicate. You've been to battle, and you have the mental, emotional and physical scars to prove it.
Post-partum amnesia is a real thing, where all you remember is holding your sweet sloppy potato as they either sew you up or wipe you down, slide you into some mesh panties, and send you on your way. I forgot about all those things until last week, when I realized what's coming:
1) Once You Pop, the Fun Don't Stop
With my first labor and delivery, my water broke in the hospital. I remember apologizing to the nurse that I was still leaking an hour later. She turned to me with sad eyes and said, "oh hunny, you're going to leak for quite a while." I'm four weeks out from number two's guess date, and it feels like I just stopped leaking from the first one. Somebody get me a puppy pad.
2) There Will Be Pain
Whether you're hooked up to a machine with all the drugs or deliver by candle light in a backyard kiddy pool, there will be pain. It might be during labor or it might be day two when your body realizes all your insides just fell out. I'm feeling anxious about all of it. I delivered without drugs the first time around to prove to myself that I could do it. It was amazing and brutal at the same time. I'm going into round two with an open mind and permission to do whatever I need without guilt. It's going to hurt either way.
3) Saddle Up, Cowgirl
In addition to the pain of labor, the recovery time came as a shock to me. It's at least six weeks before your downtown is "healed" after a vaginal delivery. I suffered some tailbone trauma during labor that had me walking like a ranch hand and using my nursing pillow as a butt donut for about three months. I don't think this happens to everyone, but it felt like Cooper got a running start and rammed his big head into my tailbone. If anyone has ideas of how to avoid this during labor, I'm all ears.
4) Rock That Body
Being pregnant in the summer is hard because it's hot. It's also hard because everyone is half-naked and beautiful. When you feel like a beached whale, it's easy to get excited about losing all the baby weight over night. The truth is, your body will never be the same after having a baby. It will be stronger, more beautiful and full of character (and boogers, and milk and something that looks like an old grape). It took me a year to get comfortable with myself again, and then I got pregnant with number two. I'm sure it'll take me another year to figure it out, but hopefully I can approach myself with more kindness and less judgement.
5) Milk Machine
Pregnesia has got me here. While some of above is flooding back to me, I can't seem to remember what nursing was like in the beginning. I'm sure there were late nights and frustrations, but all I really remember is my adrenaline kicking in whenever the baby needed me. I remember nursing pretty much anywhere and everywhere. It was a simpler time when I didn't have to pack 15 different snack options for my tiny garbage disposal of a toddler. As an infant, Cooper was happy when he was fed, and I was happy to feed him. I know this sounds blissful and utopian, but I think pregnesia exists so women actually want to have more babies. And here I am four weeks out from starting all over again.