After three months of persistent nausea, vomiting, dizzy spells, headaches and the overwhelming feeling of “why the fuck am I doing this again?”, I find myself entering the second trimester a little worse for wear and more than a little apprehensive about this whole second baby business. I look and feel terrible – there’s no two ways about it. There are stray cats living in East Vancouver who are doing better than I am, a fact I find decidedly unfair. When I was pregnant with Budsie, I glowed almost the entire time. Even when I was vomiting, my hair was shiny, my skin perfection. This was my consolation prize, I felt. Sure, I had to get ridiculously bloated and have never-ending heartburn, but at least I had great skin for the first time in my entire life. Worth it.
Not so with baby number two. Hair? Limp and lifeless with a hint of dishwater. Skin? Polkadot with a slightly greyish hue. General headspace? Poor. Relationship with fetus thus far? Largely negative.
Also different about pregnancy number two? The persistent, all-consuming thought that I am, in fact, going to have to push this kid out. Yes, I knew I was going to give birth to the baby last time, and I knew it was going to suck, but I was blissfully unaware of how much it was going to suck. My strategy at that time was just to avoid all mention of labour right until the end, choosing instead to focus on the now. How quaint.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as focusing on the now with baby number two – I know too much about the future. So instead I find myself trying to get internally psyched about the horrors* that lie ahead. I’ve taken to going over my previous labour much like I imagine an athlete goes over a previous athletic performance: self-critically and with a mind to improving one’s technique such that the awfulness isn’t repeated (at least not entirely). There are things I could have done differently, I’m sure of it. Maybe I should have made a playlist of inspiring hard rock music to help me power through, much like I do when I’m running. Maybe I should have been more particular about the personalities that got to join me in the birthing process (I’m looking at you, Bitchy Negative Midwife who gave me the general impression that I sucked at labour). And maybe I should have stayed at home, rather than a) sit in an ambulance with a paramedic who insisted I couldn’t have the baby in the ambulance because she had never done this before, and b) give birth in a too-bright, too-hot room with no ice or nibblies of any kind.
Anyway, so that’s what I’ve been up to lately. I’ll be back soon with a much more positive-sounding post. For now, I retreat to my bedroom which is well-stocked with chocolate biscuits, ice cold beverages and an August Vogue I finally feel up to reading.
*Note: there are those who say their labour was easy. Well good for them. I fall into this category of people. It was a ridiculously fast, and positively terrifying four hour labour with no breathers between contractions and no pain relief. I had flashback nightmares for six months after Budsie was born. I woke up shaking violently, crazy worried that I’d somehow become pregnant again and convinced I could never do it all over. So ducky for those easy labour types who say it wasn’t that bad. I’m thrilled for their success.