It’s incredible how different a second pregnancy can be. With Charley, my first, it was months of agony and uncertainty. My stomach ballooned almost immediately and before the end of the first trimester I had already shot up two pant sizes. I was sick everyday and depressed for most of it. Even the small baby clothes couldn’t cheer me up. Hours after buying a striped onesie, I would burst into tears and retreat to bed. It was hard to conceptualize that the little onsie would soon be filled with a screaming little person. This time around, three years later almost exactly, I have a toddler to keep me busy. He points to my belly and says, “Bay-bee!” He starts conversations about everything, wants to know the word for every object and emotion. This is such a fun age and I am worried he will always be my favorite. I was the oldest child and my husband was the baby. I understand the older sibling role. I’ll be more prepared to bond with Charley than this next baby. I'm relieved that having such a fun, active toddler will hopefully distract me from the monotony of staying home with an infant. After he was born I wished for these days when I could take him places and hold a conversation, and they have finally arrived.
Most of the time during this pregnancy I actually forget I am pregnant. Friends ask me, “So, how are you feeling?” and it takes me a second to remember they aren’t talking about a cold. I have started to feel little kicks and movement. Even still my body is in a gradual change. I’m wearing my old jeans with a belly band, something I could never do with Charley. I don’t feel that different. Well, apart from a few things. My hair is fantastic again, thick and growing fast, and the sex is so much better! With my first I didn’t even want to hold my husband’s hand or snuggle. I was uncomfortable and didn’t feel very sexy. This time around the hormones are raging and I take any excuse to rub up against him I can get. It’s certainly helped our relationship after the rocky first six weeks of morning sickness.
I haven’t bought anything new for the next baby, and it still feels surreal. Every few days I look toward my husband and marvel, “We’re going to have another one of these . . .” It’s usually after Charley does something ridiculously cute, or horribly stressful (toddler tantrums, inopportune pooping). I feel like soon I should buy a little stuffed animal, or a blanket or outfit, just to start warming up to the idea of meeting this person inside me. I still remember the very first things I bought Charley. We were visiting Baltimore, checking out the Johns Hopkins campus where I was supposed to go to graduate school (never happened). There was a little gift store down by the harbor and in the children’s section were a bunch of small stuffed animals that rattled. We chose the owl, and Mr. Owl is still his favorite thing to sleep with every night. He looks a little gray and weathered, but the love is still there. I wonder what the next one will attach to like that?