Feeling frenzied all the time can take a toll on your fertility. Here’s how you can chillax and boost your odds of baby-making success.
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“During my second pregnancy, I knew what to expect and what kind of mother I wanted to strive to be.” Vera M. Hourani, Glendale, Calif.
When I was expecting for the first time at age 28, my emotions ran the full spectrum from being scared out of my mind—how am I ever going to learn everything I need to know about being a mom in 40 weeks?—to amazed at the transformation my body was undergoing. By all accounts, my first pregnancy was easy. I had some morning sickness and a few headaches early on, but nothing unbearable. I also ate better than I ever had. (I couldn’t get enough carrot juice!) My son, Tyler, was born at 38 weeks. I arrived at the hospital at 5 a.m., was given an epidural and coasted through contractions. Five hours later, I held him in my arms.
Physically, my second pregnancy was very similar to my first. I was 12 years older, so I had to have more prenatal tests done because of my age, but I felt fantastic. Emotionally, I felt calm and serene. Plus, I had a bigger circle of parent friends who were there for moral support.
One of the biggest differences with my second was having access to the Internet. When I was pregnant with my first, I didn’t own a computer. With my second pregnancy, I signed up for a weekly email that provided me with up-to-date pregnancy information and advice. During both pregnancies, I hiked and walked for exercise, but I added swimming while I was expecting my second. Being in the water helped me feel lighter and eased my lower-back pain, especially during the last trimester when I felt heavy and bloated. It also eased the swelling in my hands and legs, and I slept better.
I approach life differently now than I did 12 years ago. So, of course, I approached my second pregnancy in a different way. The first time around, I was nervous and apprehensive, but eventually those emotions changed to excitement and anticipation. (I kept a journal throughout my first pregnancy, so it was nice to go back and reminisce.) During my second pregnancy, I was much more relaxed. And I was able to share the experience with my son; at 11 years old, he really understood what was happening. It was really special to have conversations with him about what I was going through while pregnant with him and to hear what he was feeling emotionally during my second pregnancy.
My doctor had warned me that a second baby usually comes faster, and given the fact that my first son came relatively quickly, I worried about not getting to the hospital in time. I arrived at the hospital at 5 p.m. with very mild contractions. I sat, walked around, played cards and ultimately fell asleep, with little progress. Then at 1:45 a.m., the contractions became so strong that I was begging for an epidural, which I was told I didn’t have time for. Sixteen minutes later, my second son, Lincoln, was born. As the mother of a child under the age of 2, life is so much easier because my older son is self-sufficient. He can play with Lincoln while I take a shower. And when the baby cries, we fight over who gets to soothe him! Tyler is so caring and protective of his little brother. The sweetest part is that I am getting a small glimpse into what kind of parent my older son may eventually be.