Some of the biggest questions for second time mothers are:
How will this experience compare to my first?
Will the labor be easier?
How will I manage two children instead of one?
This blog post will tell you all about my experience transitioning from one child to two and the differences and similarities in my pregnancies, labors, and postpartum months.
My first pregnancy took place in 2017. I had been with her father for a little less than a year when I found out I was pregnant. It was a big surprise. I was sure I wasn’t pregnant, but Eric was the one who insisted I take a test because I was sleeping so much. I was shocked, scared, and excited all at the same time. I knew that my life would be
changing in extreme ways, forever. Before I got pregnant I was living life in a constant drunken haze, completely wasting my life away. This pregnancy came during a time that I really needed a reason to turn my life around.
It was a wonderful pregnancy. I worked the entire time at a very laid back bakery and was able to nap in the car during breaks. I had some nausea during the first trimester but no vomiting and nothing extreme.
During my second trimester I experienced a placental abruption. My placenta slightly separated from the uterus and caused bleeding. We drove to the emergency room where I was monitored for several hours then released. They didn’t give me an ultrasound so I didn’t know that I had the abruption at that time. They advised me to call my doctor the next morning. I called my doctor and was given an ultrasound immediately which led to being admitted to the hospital where I stayed for an entire week. A few days in to my stay they were going to let me go home but just as they were discussing my release the baby’s heart rate dropped for a consistent amount of time. They were about to take me in for an emergency c-section when everything went back to normal. I stayed for a few more days for monitoring and then I was released.
First Induced Labor
My labor began as an induction due to mild gestational hypertension. My blood pressure was just above the limit so they decided to induce me at 39 weeks exactly. The induction process began around 4 pm on November 17th. They started by giving me cervadil, a pill used to prepare the cervix. This was the only method used until the following morning. I had very mild contractions overnight but nothing extreme. They were, however, enough to keep me awake and get no sleep at all.
At 6:00 that morning they decided to insert a cook balloon. It was extremely uncomfortable for them to insert it, and once they did, everything progressed much quicker. Half an hour after they inserted it, my water broke. The balloon was removed and I labored for 3 hours until my girl was born. About 45 minutes before she arrived I asked for nubain and since I was only 6 cm at the time they thought I had enough time to be given the medication. Had they known she was coming only 45 minutes later they wouldn’t have given me the nubain.
30 minutes after birth the doctors determined that I had a retained placenta and they would need to manually take it out. I had the option to go to an operating room all alone and be given a spinal anaesthetic and removal there or they could give me fentanyl right there in the room and take it out with their hands. I opted for the latter. To be honest I don’t completely remember the pain but I know I was screaming bloody murder. After they took it out I began bleeding heavily. Likely due to both the abruption as well as the extraction of my placenta. I was terrified. The doctors looked like they were working hard and honestly they looked worried. They eventually got the bleeding under control and all was well after that.
My labor and delivery was very difficult due to the retained placenta and heavy bleeding, but besides those things, it was actually easier than I expected. The painful, active labor didn’t last long at all. My daughter was born 3 hours after my water broke which is very fast, especially for a first timer! However, I’ve heard that your labor will be similar to your mother and my mother had very fast birth experiences as well.
For my first daughter, my postpartum experience was pretty much a blur. I was exhausted beyond belief. I went from sleeping in until noon to waking up every 2-3 hours and getting very little sleep. I also had trouble with nursing. She didn’t latch well and it took a lot of time and effort to finally be successful. In the first couple of weeks I would use my breast pump, feed her with syringes, and use a nipple shield to help. I also visited a lactation consultant twice which I believe helped tremendously. Once we got the hang of things I nursed her until a week after her second birthday, when I was newly pregnant with my second.
If I could go back and do my first postpartum experience differently, I would pay a lot more attention to my own personal health. I would pay more attention to my nutrition. I didn’t care about my own health and wellness very much and I believe that’s why I was extremely exhausted all of the time. After a few months though everything improved and I loved being a stay at home mom.
Unlike my first, my second pregnancy was planned. I got my birth control arm implant removed and I was pregnant three weeks later. I was so excited to be pregnant again because my first pregnancy was very joyful. Little did I know that this second pregnancy would be far from enjoyable.
My first trimester I experienced similar nausea that I had with my first. It was slightly worse and I was slightly more tired but I believe that’s because I was also raising a 2 year old. During my first trimester we were buying our first home, moving, and I was very sick for a couple of weeks with what I believe was the flu. It was a very stressful time and I fell into a deep depression. Despite the fact that I was on anti-depressants and going through an exciting time in life purchasing our first home, I was extremely depressed. I would spend days in bed doing the bare minimum. I took care of my daughter of course, but we spent a lot of time in the bedroom.
I ended up seeing a therapist which was very helpful. I also started listening to inspiring podcasts, made a vision board, visited my mom, and started looking into nutrition for improved mental wellness. Check out THIS post to read about how I fought against this seasonal prenatal depression.
My research on nutrition for mental wellness led to somewhat of an obsession for me. I was fascinated with the information I found. I implemented nutrition for mental wellness strategies into my life and I truly believe that helped me. I just recently created a 32 page nutrition e-guide for mental wellness! It is full of information I learned and implemented to improve my personal mental wellness during trying times. You can check out that e-guide HERE! Or if you want to read a little bit more about this topic without purchasing a whole guide, you can check out my blog post on the top 12 anti-depressant nutrients HERE!
I slowly but surely got past this depression and felt so much better. I give so much credit to changing my nutrition habits. Doing so even gave me tons of energy which isn’t typical in pregnancy. I even had a good amount of energy in my third trimester.
Recurring Placenta Issues
Similar to my first pregnancy, I experienced placenta issues. This time it was in a completely different way. I went in for my regular prenatal appointment and when they were listening to her heart beat, they heard a deceleration and wanted me to be monitored just to make sure everything was okay. I got monitored and was given an ultrasound. They determined that the blood flow from my placenta to my baby was slightly off and that my baby was considered IUGR (intrauterine growth restricted) which meant that she was a lot smaller than she should have been. They said that the nutrients that my placenta was providing were going to her brain rather than her stomach and caused her head to be larger than her stomach which is a sign that the baby isn’t getting enough nutrients from my placenta. I was confused. I ate exceptionally well so why wasn’t my baby getting enough nutrients? It turns out that this can just happen and if you experience placenta issues in one pregnancy, you will be more likely to experience them in future pregnancies. It wasn’t anything extreme, but they wanted me to stay overnight for additional monitoring. I was admitted to the prenatal ward and stayed overnight. It was my first night away from my toddler. All monitoring was satisfactory and I was discharged the following day. They wanted me to get two ultrasounds weekly to check the blood flow from the placenta to my baby. A few times the blood flow was slightly off and other times it was normal. They told me that they would likely be inducing me at 37 weeks to avoid any issues.
Second Induced Labor
I was induced at 38 weeks. I was happy to be induced because I hadn’t experienced a “natural” birth the first time and I was afraid of what could happen. The entire process took about 17 hours, just like my first. In fact, my second daughter was born 1 minute after my first! The induction began around 4 pm on July 1st 2020 and my second daughter was born at 9:45 am July 2nd. This time around they skipped the cervadil and started with the cook balloon. The balloon was in for about 12 hours and they decided to remove it and start me on pitocin. When they removed the balloon I was at 5 centimeters. The pitocin was working well and the contractions got progressively worse. For this labor I opted to stand and move around a lot more than my first. I found that I was able to withstand the pain better while standing rather than laying down. For my first I spent the majority of labor between the bath and the bed. This second labor I spent in the bath, standing and rocking, and on my hands and knees. Finally around 9 am my water broke while I was on my hands and knees. The pain was worse than I remembered. I got into bed and labored there until her birth. I didn’t get any medications this time around. I was extremely worried about having a retained placenta again so the doctors were very active on getting it out imediately. It came right out and all went well. Luci latched on to my breast immediately and nursing went, and is going, extremely well in comparison to my first. Like my first labor I didn’t have any tearing and didn’t require any stitches. I feel extremely grateful for that.
In comparison to my first labor, my second was very similar besides the fact that I had no complications this time. Both labors were induced, both took around 17 hours, both progressed extremely fast after my water broke and both brought me the most beautiful, perfect, healthy girls.
Postpartum Round Two
My second postpartum experience was better than I could have imagined. I was terrified that I would experience the baby blues or postpartum depression because of the mental health issues I experienced during the pregnancy. However, as soon as I saw my girl and remembered all of the wonderful things that come with the newborn phase, all of my worries disappeared. I had so much energy and joy during my postpartum experience this time around. I was very intentional with my health and nutrition and I truly believe that is a major reason why I have had such a wonderful experience.
What I learned going from one child to two
>>All pregnancies, labors, postpartum experiences, and babies are unique.
>>Good prenatal and postpartum nutrition is essential for an optimal pregnancy and postpartum experience.
>>Prenatal depression does not automatically mean postpartum depression.
>>Intentional healthy living and nutrition can make a huge positive impact on your mental health & daily energy & motivation.
Advice for new moms
If I could give any advice to a new mother, I would say to prioritize your own health just as much as you do your newborn’s. Sleep when you can, make sure you are taking a postnatal vitamin, ensure that you consume enough nutrient rich food and are drinking plenty of water. A good amount is half of your body weight in ounces of water.
Prenatal and postpartum nutrition is such an important thing to learn about and implement yet it is only briefly discussed by doctors. I am excited to announce that my next nutrition launch will be all about prenatal and postpartum nutrition. As a newly certified health coach specializing in pregnant and nursing women through Doctor Sear’s Wellness Institute, I have so much information to provide to expecting and new mothers!
Transitioning from one child to two has been a much more enjoyable experience than I thought it would be. I believe that the transition from none to one is actually much harder. If you’re expecting your second child and you’re worried about how you will handle it, I want to tell you not to worry so much. Many women told me it was easier than they expected and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were right. You did it once, you can do it again. Only this time you will be equipped with so much more knowledge and experience from raising your first!
If you want to learn how to eat for more energy and better moods in order to kick ass as a mom, check out my nutrition e-guide! It’s only $10 and you will learn all kinds of valuable nutrition information that can transform your life & help ensure you raise healthy eaters!