Saia and I are pretty vocal about the fact that we dream of a big family. So while I am not pregnant right now, sometime in the next few years we definitely are hoping for a second baby.
I had a tough pregnancy the first time around. I had a high-risk pregnancy due to complete placenta previa that necessitated a C-section at 37 weeks. I had restrictions for the majority of my pregnancy–I could not so much as lift the trash or go on a walk. It was a tough pregnancy, and I was incredibly relieved when it was over, he was delivered and safe, and that troublesome placenta was gone for good.
As we closed in on Gideon’s first birthday, and we started thinking about the possibility of a second baby in the next year or two, I realized that I had so much anxiety still tightly wrapped around my first pregnancy and birth experience. As an extrovert, I work through things by talking; I began talking about it to my friend, my Mom, and my hubby, . Talking through what my first pregnancy and birth was like and what I am hoping for my second time around. I dove head first into VBAC research: listening to podcasts, searching for books, reading birth stories, and memorizing facts. I want to be the most prepared VBAC-er that anyone has ever laid eyes upon. and praying that a second pregnancy is a walk in the park compared to the first one.I started reading anything I could find about traumatic pregnancy and birth experiences, and bit by bit I began chipping away at all the fears I had of going through pregnancy for a second time.
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I plan on doing a lot of things differently the second time around. Here is a list of just a few of them.
8 Things I Will Do Differently with my Second Pregnancy
1) Not tell everybody right away
We were so thrilled to find out little Baby L on the way, that we told our family a week and a half after we found out. It was so fun! But once we found out we had placenta previa I know that people were worried about me. I hated putting that extra burden on my family! I really have all my fingers and toes crossed that the second time around, the pregnancy will be simple, and straightforward (please Lord!), but I am really hoping to rule out placenta previa before we tell everybody.
2) I don’t want to be group b positive
I was group b positive with Gideon, which means that I had to have antibiotics when I had him. I really want to avoid that next time, because I am planning on having a VBAC, and don’t want any unnecessary antibiotics. I have been following the Wellness Mama’s supplement protocol to try to knock that infection (that is harmless for mama, but in very rare cases can cause complications for baby) out so that when I’m tested for this second pregnancy that I will be group b free, and won’t have to fight the system, because I am not sure I would want to accept the antibiotics anyway (after talking about all the risks with my nurse friend, and doing a lot of research).
3) I want to interview multiple providers
When I was pregnant with Gideon, I had heard so many good things about this one midwife. I knew personally no less than four moms that had all gone to her and loved her, so I didn’t even bother to interview her. But I ended up regretting having her as my midwife, she constantly fear mongered me, left me in tears every appointment, wrote down my incorrect blood type so they were confused at the C-section, gave me a shot I didn’t need because she entered the wrong blood type, constantly tried to convince me that Gideon was breech (even though the ultrasound always showed him head down, and I knew he was head down), and was just a terrible experience all the way around. I was hoping for a midwife who would be in my corner, nurturing, and supportive but I found her to be very medically-minded, and unhelpful.
I am most definitely NOT going back to her, and I won’t go back to that practice at all-because the midwives are on rotation, and I know I would be so upset if she ended up having to deliver the second baby.
I have already been asking other successful VBAC mamas who they’ve gone to, and I have a short list of VBAC-supportive midwives and OBGYNs in our state. I, also, have a very long list of questions (mostly relating to VBACs) that I plan on asking each of the providers before we decide who to choose.
4) I want to me way more involved in every decision
I was so overwhelmed by all the risk factors during my first pregnancy, that I let a lot of things go, but the next time I am pregnant I plan on being diligently (and fiercely) involved with every single detail of my prenatal care and birth. I will be the annoying patient that questions every single thing, because at the end of the day I am the one hiring my provider and hospital, and I can turn down anything I feel uncomfortable with.
5) I want to feel strong before my second pregnancy
At the beginning of this summer, I still felt so weak. I hadn’t been exercising that much when I got pregnant with Gideon, then during my pregnancy I wasn’t allowed to exercise, and then I had a long recovery from my C-section. My main goal this past summer was to get healthy, and feel strong. I walked and jogged a couple hundred miles over the course of the past few months, took my supplements, lost five pounds, and worked on my diet. I have to say that I am feeling stronger and tougher than I have in a really long time!!
For the past six months I have been diligently taking a whole-foods based prenatal, some fermented cod liver oil, and using magnesium oil. I’ve read so many anecdotal accounts from other mamas who believe that morning sickness is directly tied to magnesium deficiencies (Wellness Mama’s post, Raising Arrow’s post, and Mommypotamus’ post), and I am experimenting to see if I build up my magnesium stores before I become pregnant if I will see a difference in morning sickness. I was lucky not to have too much sickness with my pregnancy with Gideon, but I would love it if I had none at all! Using magnesium oil is best, because your body will take what it needs, rather than using the pill form–where you can easily be consuming too much magnesium.
I always apply the magnesium oil at night–as an added benefit it helps you sleep more soundly, and also helps with restless leg syndrome if that is something with which you struggle. When I first started slathering on the magnesium oil every night, it really itched badly, but I read that was a sign that I was deficient. It took several months, but now I have absolutely no itching or burning when I apply the oil! I take that as a sign that I am finally at an optimal level with my magnesium.
6) I want us to take a birth class
When I was researching birth classes during my first pregnancy, I just felt like it was a huge time and monetary commitment to make, and then when I found out we were going to have to have a C-section anyways, I stopped looking at birth classes. This next time around, I plan on going through a birth class with my husband. Since we are planning on a VBAC, we will be essentially starting over (since I’ve never experience a vaginal birth), and I want both of us to be as prepared as possible before we go into labor. We live over an hour from the nearest birth classes, and so I am planning on taking Mama Natural’s birth course with my hubby (and I am so excited that she has a section on VBACs), as well as reading books together, and watching The Business of Being Born.
7) Not go on a babymoon
We went to California on our babymoon when I was almost in my third trimester, and it just wasn’t the right time to go. I felt super uncomfortable in the airplane (having to get up to use the restroom constantly), felt like I had to ask for a patdown at the airport because I didn’t want baby to be exposed to any excess radiation, and felt worried about being that far from my midwife/hospital if something went wrong. This time, I want to forego the babymoon completely, or–at the most–go on a day trip somewhere, but not an across-the-country-trip.
8) Not Sweat the Sleep Deprivation, and Chaos of the first few months
Everyone told me to not worry about the dishes or laundry, because those newborn days go so fast. And I did soak in every single moment. I held him nonstop for the first four months of his life. But even though I did do everything I could to enjoy every minute, it still went so fast! And there were times that I felt incredibly overwhelmed, exhausted, and desperate for sleep. It felt like I was never going to have a life outside our apartment or sleep longer than two hours again!
With my second, I will have the perspective that I was lacking with my first. I now know that life will settle down eventually, that babies do sleep through the night at some point, and that the newborn phase really is gone in a blink of an eye.