Pregnancy with a toddler
If you have read my previous blog on My Fertility Journey you will be familiar with the fact that it took M and I many years to conceive our first baby, S. My second pregnancy couldn’t have been more different and at times during this second pregnancy I keep forgetting that I am actually pregnant again. Firstly, because I have a toddler keeping me busy but secondly because this time it had been……. easy conceiving.
After I had S I had a fantastic maternity leave, enjoying every moment of my baby developing his own little personality right before my eyes and meeting some amazing new mummy friends along the way. I had 9 glorious months off with him before I returned to work. M and I had always said that as soon as I was able, after my caesarean section, we would start trying for another baby as we thought it could potentially take us just as long to conceive another baby. After a caesarean section you have to let your body recover for 6-9 months before falling pregnant again. So the month I returned to work we started trying for baby no.2, and in my mind I just kept telling myself “you’ve done this already it will happen really quickly this time”.
When I went back to work it was a huge adjustment in all areas. I will talk about this in a later blog Returning to Work After Baby.
I had been back at work for 6 weeks when I found out I was expecting again. I had taken a pregnancy test the week before and got a negative result but I just knew in my heart of hearts that I was pregnant. So I waited another week to do a test. At that point S was still getting up once through the night for a bottle. The morning I found out I was expecting again I told M and he was happy but I don’t think it registered with him what I was saying as it was 6am and we had been up at 2am doing a feed and putting S back to sleep, so we were EXHAUSTED. Later that afternoon M called me and said “how good is this new”, it had taken him all that time to actually compute that we were HAVING ANOTHER BABY. I was in shock myself and kept asking myself what was different this time? How had this happened so quickly? After the initial shock wore off I couldn’t help but feel immense gratitude that we had been blessed once again with a beautiful little life to join our family.
I did all the usual things, called the doctor, scheduled my midwife visits and scans and the weeks stormed past. Meanwhile, S had started walking and was off his formula, he’d had his first birthday party and was on his full 3 meals a day, just getting his bottle of cows milk at bedtime. The biggest turning point was that S was now sleeping though the night and this helped with the exhaustion you feel at the start of pregnancy, as I was now getting a full night of undisturbed sleep before I had to get up for work at 5.30!
My biggest advice on getting S to sleep through the night, eventually, was that after his bottle and story reading each night we would let him go to sleep himself by using the Controlled Timed Crying Technique. Even though there were some nights he would cry for 10 minutes at a time we held off going into his room until he soothed himself off to sleep. They say that at 6 months your baby starts remembering things and remembers who you are, so based on that we thought, if we are in the room when he goes to sleep he’s effectively remembering we were there when he went to sleep and when he wakes he’ll wonder where we are and cry instead of just getting himself back off to sleep. We left this until 10 months and I wish we had tried it earlier, a definite lesson learned from baby No.1. Now after his bottle at night he hands me the bottle, rolls over and goes straight to sleep.
My go to guru is Super Nanny, Jo Frost, when I have any doubts about what I should be doing. So I immediately refer to her and 10 times out of 10 it works! Here’s her handy guide to battling the first year.
At 6 ½ months pregnant I was getting bigger and I was lifting S more than I knew I should be. I was getting a pain in my lower back and down my left leg. I knew it was due to carrying S on my right hip and putting pressure on my other leg and this was occurring at the weekend when I was spending the whole day with him, as the rest of the week I was at work. So I called the physio and got an appointment. I was hoping that I would get some advice on exercises I could do to help with the pain, however, I was pleasantly surprised by my visit and the advice I actually received.
I said to the physio “the only thing I’m really doing differently in this pregnancy is that I’m lifting my 15-month old son”. She said that’s interesting that you think that because it’s not true.
- You have already been pregnant
- You had been through labour
- You have had major abdominal surgery, as you had a c-section
“All these factors have completely changed your body”.
That really put things in perspective for me. She also said that I had come in at a really good time as I was scheduled to have a planned section for my second baby’s birth and she said putting things in place now would be good for after the arrival of baby No.2, as there would be strictly no lifting for at least 6 weeks after that operation. Even though I may feel able to lift, the doctors advise no lifting for 6 weeks as you do not know what damage you are doing to the inside and you may be weakening your womb for future pregnancies.
After implementing all the advice the physio provided I stopped experiencing the pain in my lower back and leg and felt like I was in a great place for baby No.2’s arrival.
With this pregnancy I learned my lesson from my previous pregnancy and decided to finish up work for maternity leave a month early. Last time I worked up until 2 weeks before the birth of S and felt exhausted. So this time round I had holidays and took full advantage of using them to finish up a month in advance, especially as (1) I wanted some quality time with S before baby arrived and (2) I needed some me time. Yes, I said it “me time”, why do we always feel guilty as woman or mums to admit that?!
I’m now 8 months pregnant and eagerly anticipating the birth of baby number 2. I have not yet packed my hospital bag as this all still feels so surreal. I said to M the other night as we watched baby kicking away “I still can’t believe there is another baby in there” and he agreed that he still couldn’t believe it either. We feel so lucky and blessed that we are again able to welcome a baby into the world and will shower it with all the love imaginable.
I got my section date last week, so you can watch this space for an update on the arrival…
Here’s my advice to make your second pregnancy easier while you have a toddler:
- Your toddler is actually more independent than you give them credit for
- Get family members to help with bath times- dad, grandparents etc.
- Buy a little step so toddler can stand on the step
- to reach the sink to wash their own hands
- be lifted a shorted distance into the bath/ into their bed or cot
- get themselves into their car seat
- Teach your toddler to navigate the stairs- climbing the stairs on their knees and coming down bum first
- Get a little table and chair for your toddler to sit at and eat so you are not lifting them into their highchair
- Don’t walk the dog long distance- rope in your partner or family members
- Start encouraging your toddler to tidy up after themselves
- put toys away
- put rubbish items into the bin