Sunday, March 1, 2015

2nd Pregnancy: Week 26

How To Prepare For Your 2nd Baby
These are not headlines you see very often, and if you do the article usually includes 5 "how to's" to prepare your 1st born for his or her upcoming sibling. What about me?! The mom?! With your first born, there are a thousand blogs, articles, and lists of things to do before your first baby gets here. The list includes but is not limited to: register for an explosion of baby paraphernalia in your home, have multiple showers for people to contribute to that explosion, arrange that explosion in to a baby nursery, monogram and gender-label everything with initials, names, and appropriate colors, take a birthing class to teach you how to have a baby explode out of your vagina... Okay, maybe that last "explosion" analogy was a bit too graphic. I digress...

The point is, there are a million ways to prep you, your house hold, your mental and physical being for a first born, but there is very little to prepare you for a second baby if you are in my position.
  • I do not need to register for the 300+ "must haves," because I just had a baby 16 months ago and still have everything I need for a newborn. We did not find out the gender with our first so everything is gender neutral. Again, showers would be pointless, except for the ones where I lather my body up with soap and wash my hair every 4 -5 days. (I realize that is under average, but why shower when I could be sleeping? Amen?)
  • I cannot prepare a second baby room or nursery as I live in a 2 bedroom and we are preparing for baby 2.0 to stay in our room until he or she is sleeping through the night. Then we plan to have both babes sleeping in the same room. 
  • We have decided not to find out the gender as it was the best surprise of my life with our first, but that cuts out another step in "preparing" for a new baby. Forget the southern tri-initial monogrammed bag in florescent pink and white chevron or camo.
  • Lastly, I reiterate, I just had a baby 16 months ago and do not need to take a second birthing class. 
So for all you mamas in my position having two under two years of age, not finding out the gender of your baby, living in a tiny two bedroom, and attempting natural birth, here is my best list of "how-to" prepare for your 2nd baby for you. Otherwise, I am likely just writing this list for myself.

  1. Pick Out a Name For Both Genders. This is one is absolutely driving me crazy, because my husband and I cannot seem to agree on names. We have somehow created an unwritten criteria for how we pick names. The name cannot be on the top popular names list. It has to have significant meaning - both the first and middle name. The name has to be easy to read and pronounce, and the name gets a bonus if it is unusual or unique. However, picking out names helps you think about the baby and mentally prepare, which you would have done with your first registering and practicing relaxation techniques in your birthing class. So think long and hard about this one.
  2. Exercise. I was way more fit during my pregnancy with my 1st, but that is because I had time and energy to workout. I could also take periodic naps whenever I wanted. This time around I was much more in shape doing CrossFit before I got pregnant, but with some difficulties I had early on in the first trimester, which you can read about here, I have barely worked out in this pregnancy, which I regret. IKEA about did me in last Saturday - TALK ABOUT A WORKOUT! More on that later though. Exercise will help you prepare for the marathon labor and delivery is. I am starting to build my stamina and endurance back up by walking. 
  3. Read a Birthing Book. Let's face it, we spend a lot of money on a birthing class for our first child, but we have slept or not slept nearly enough since then. My first didn't sleep through the night until 6 months, and the phrase "I about lost my mind" is applicable to me, because I actually did - ask my friends - I absolutely freaking lost my mind. I plan on reading The Birth Partner, which you can get here. Read a book that fits your birth plan.
  4. Make a Birth Plan. Write an outline of your preferences in the birth process. Talk these out with your doctor or midwife. Just because you know you don't want to be asked to have an epidural because you didn't get one your first time doesn't mean the nurses understand your plan throughout your labor. If you'd like a good example of a birth plan contact me at and I will send you mine from my 1st birth. This is crucial for you to be respected and have all of your care-providers on the same page as you.
  5. Make a Hospital "To Bring" List. There are items you may want that is different than you wanted the first time. This time I will absolutely have those clever nursing cami's like this one from Target for easy access for the baby to nurse. The first thing on my list this time is to bring my diffuser and certain Young Living essential oils. Plus we bought a wooden train and tracks as a gift for Shepherd, our first born, to feel special when the new baby comes. There are several items on this list that is different from the first time, but the biggest one for me is my breast pump to pump in the hospital. Not pumping heavily impacted my milk production, but that is a subject for a different day.
  6. Make a List of Instructions For People to Help Out. If grandparents or friends want to help out with the big baby then let them! Write out the normal steps you take to put big baby to bed or a normal schedule throughout the day. Write out instructions on how to clean cloth diapers if you do cloth. Have a list of where things are located in your house such as the vacuum, dish washing soap, cleaning supplies, etc.. People are going to offer you help, so give them the tools to make it easier on you and them. 
  7. Prepare Your First Born. This is much easier to type than it is to implement, but here are a few ideas that we have done to prepare our now 16 month old who will be 19 months when baby 2.0 comes. We have a baby doll and are teaching him what "gentle," "soft," and "nice" touches are and aren't. We transitioned him out of the crib by placing the crib mattress on the floor. This transition happened beautifully, and he actually plays in his room for about 20 minutes or so before demanding to get out giving me a little extra sleep time.We also read books about a baby brother or sister coming in to the world, but I think the biggest help is having Shep around younger babies to learn hands-on. 
  8. Wash Everything. This includes washing all those nicely folded newborn clothes that you washed and stuffed in to huge Ziploc baggies and put in your storage. Rewash them. Annoying, I know, but just do it. Wash everything that you put in storage such as bouncers, swings, infant carriers, etc.. Sanitize all those bottles that, again,  you already washed and stored. 
  9. Deep Clean Your House. Either deep clean your house and all your floors or have someone do it. Let's face it, toddlers make your house dirty. They throw syrup dipped pancake bites against the walls letting maple drip down and dry so that a chisel is required to remove it. Toddlers also make it so you do not have enough time  or energy to clean out all those dust bunnies under your bed. I still have not retrieved my glasses from under my bed, because I cannot figure out how to maneuver my large-and-in-charge body to get them. Plus I do not want to inhale all those bunnies. I will either coax my husband in to doing this or hire someone to clean. Don't be scared to spend a little extra cash in this department. You want the environment to be as clean as possible when your new little one comes home with you. 
  10. Stay Calm. The only words of wisdom I have gotten from asking more than a dozen women on how to prepare for a second child is that "you can't" and to "turn the toilet paper roll around." Thus, in all my anxiety for trying to prepare for this second child the way that I did for my first born, I have found out that I just can't in the same way. This baby is totally different, and I am way more equipped than I think I am. You are too. So my words of wisdom I have gathered is just to stay calm and let this 2nd baby enter in to the family that has already been evolving for the past, well, less than 2 years. We will figure it out as it happens.  
There is more I could add to this list, but I am specifically speaking to those who have put themselves in a predicament like I have by not finding out the gender and not having a spare bedroom to prepare for a nursery. So... freak out a little because you are about to encounter the hardest thing ever by having two kids in diapers, zero sleep, and the same if not more will be expected of you regardless of how exhausted you'll be. After your deserved freak-out/tantrum/panic attack, calm down and realize you can totally do this. You are not changing your life around for baby 2.0. You are welcoming baby 2.0 in your already existing family, lifestyle, and home.

How far along? 26 weeks
Baby is as long as an: English hothouse cucumber 
Total weight gain: 23 pounds
Waist Measurement: 38 inches still
Maternity clothes? Yes.
Stretch marks? None.
Sleep: Sleep has been odd. I really cannot wait to sleep on my back again. 
Best moment this week: Nothing too monumental, but I have loved just spending time with Shepherd. He said "snowball" for the first time and is starting to learn new signs and communicate more. I am learning his fears and his love of certain things. Each moment has been special.
Movement: Movement has been bigger and in multiple spots at one time!
Food cravings: Nothing in particular this week.
Gender: Nobody knows!
Symptoms: Nausea still and a little morning sickness. 
Belly Button in or out? Out!

Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood?: My mood has been normal I would say. Happy!


Brooke said...

i love this. You are so fun. I'm a big fan of all the things.... how things change for the successors of that first child :) Have a beautiful week, friend!!

Terry Peak Photography said...

You are just so smart!!! I love you!

Anonymous said...

It's going to be great! I would add one that I wish I had known... Grieve what you need to grieve about the changes that are coming, especially in relation to how your first born and you interact. It sounds weird but as much as I loved meeting Asher, I had a lot of conflicting feelings about losing solo time with Isaiah. You might not have that but I'd encourage you to make space to listen to what's going on inside so that if you do, you can process, pray, journal, whatever so that you're emotionally ready to meet baby 2.0.