Going Second

I can’t decide if being the second one to give birth is better or worse.

Since I knocked her up at home, I think I may have had an unrealistic idea of how easily I could get pregnant.  I felt like we were experts.  I only bought 6 vials of our first child’s donor juice. Yet somehow I managed to mess up my charting and not know that frozen sperm only lasts 24 hours.  Not expert.  How was I to know it would take me a year and a half?  Then I had all of that anxiety as it wasn’t working for my partner, that I wasn’t getting any younger, either.  I, of course, didn’t want to bring that up with her just to add insult to injury.

Being with my partner as she suffered, yes suffered, through her pregnancy gave me a very realistic lens through which to experience the whole process.  After her pregnancy I wanted to be pregnant, but I no longer idealized it, that’s for sure.  I got to go through a series of childbirth classes before I even had my first insemination.  I already have parent friends.  I already have all the baby supplies.  I know how to change a diaper in the dark of evening or on a park bench.  I can hear a baby cry and scream and not have my hair turn gray.  I’ve steeled myself for breastfeeding in general and especially in public.  I feel ready…readyish.  My honey never got the chance to go into active labor.  Sooooo, I haven’t actually been in the room for a vaginal birth, or even extremely heavy contractions.  I do know what to expect from a C-section and the recovery.  But I’m hoping not to be in the room for another one of those.

When my honey was pregnant… for any first pregnancy in a lesbian couple’s life together, the pregnant one can relax while the other one coddles her and attempts to do all the housework.  If the pregnant one is zonked and wants to go to bed early, the other one can go for a walk in the park, or out for a drink with friends.  This all seemed hard to me when I was the not pregnant one.  I felt guilty (but happy) when I went out without her.  I felt exhausted doing all the housework.  My honey was too tired to do the laundry, but she always did the folding, I assume because she was also feeling guilty because I was doing so much of the housework.

Now that I’m pregnant, we’re not the only two people who live here. I’m not the only one who needs coddling. If I’m exhausted and want to go to bed at 6, I can’t really.  If I do, I leave all of the toddler care to my honey.  If I fall asleep upon getting home from work, my honey can’t go out for a walk or have coffee with friends.  She has to coerce a two-year-old to eat, read him books, chase him around the house pretending to be a puppy, then bathe and put him to bed.  Though I have had my share of naps and sleeping in late (late is 8 am, when you have a toddler, BTW), it is just not the same as laying down knowing your partner is going out to enjoy herself somewhere or relaxing in a similar manner in the house.  There’s a guilt shift.  One part of me wishes my honey had not felt guilty for doing little housework the first time around.  Apparently, “little” was a key word there, because actually I was doing just a little work, though it felt like a lot at the time. I am so grateful to my honey for doing so much for me and with Cakie.  (Including reminding me  constantly to stop picking him up.)  I know what she’s going through.  But I really don’t.  I’m glad that my pregnancy has been easier than hers in this aspect, because It would have been 1000 times harder for both of us if the difficult pregnancy came when the toddler was running around the house.

Would I trade places?  Would I have liked to go first?  I don’t know.  I’m still not sure which one is better.

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3 Comments

Filed under family, LGBT, my hon, my son, Third Trimester!?!, TTC

3 responses to “Going Second

  1. Let me tell you — my partner had our daughter and she was pretty hard core about. Never complained and worked child birth like a pro.

    Then there’s me. I love being pregnant — but I complain nightly about the hips, pelvic, and back pain! Then there’s the cankles and sausage toes.

    I think I’d be in better shape having a husband!!! Because I get almost no sympathy!

  2. I think you hit it right on the money with this post. We’re in a similar situation as you guys, except that I carried our first baby (now almost 18 months old) and now my wife is pregnant with our second.

    I think we got through her first trimester on sheer force of will alone. She was beyond exhausted and nauseous and I was on baby and house duty around the clock for three months. We were both thrilled to be expecting our second child, but it was not a fun time all the same.

    It’s gotten easier in the second and now third trimesters, but things are still pretty challenging. With her getting less mobile and more tired again and me still breastfeeding and getting up at night with our son, neither one of us is at full strength.

    People tell me all the time that “it must be so nice not to have to be the pregnant one this time!” It is in a lot of ways, and my wife is doing an amazing job, but sometimes I wish I were pregnant again just so I could get some rest.

    Being pregnant with a toddler in the house is just a completely different ballgame than the first time around. And, I think you’re so right about the guilt factor. I feel guilty because I can’t give my wife the restful pregnancy and pampering that I got. She feels guilty because she’s not able to spend as much time with our little guy or helping out with house stuff as she wants to.

    On the other hand, it has been wonderful to see her going through pregnancy and I admire so much what a great job she’s doing growing our daughter. I hope that the adjustments we’ve made during her pregnancy will help us with adjusting to having two kids!

  3. Awesome post. I enjoyed this read immensely!

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