How my second pregnancy compares to my first

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With six years between pregnancies, sometimes it’s interesting to me to think about the things that are different and the things that are the same.

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I was 29 when I was pregnant with Clarissa. We got pregnant very quickly once we started trying. I was surprised at how quickly I felt like I started showing. Most of my friends who were pregnant about that time were losing weight during their first trimester but I gained 8 pounds. I didn’t get that sick as long as I kept eating, which is why I gained weight in the beginning when everyone else was losing. I was so concerned that I was going to be huge by the time it was over, but I was fine. I only gained about 35 pounds total.

At 35, it took a few months longer to get pregnant with Tiffany. I feel like I started showing before I even knew I was pregnant (and I found out at 3 weeks!). I think I gained 12 pounds during the first trimester? But I weighed more before I got pregnant this time so I felt like I was way bigger. I was more sick in the beginning and I had to avoid certain foods or I would get sick. But in general, I had to eat every couple of hours. At 25 weeks, I have already gained 30 pounds so I anticipate that I will gain more than 35 pounds this pregnancy.

I am more relaxed this pregnancy.  Well, we did move to a different continent, so maybe peaceful is a better word. With Clarissa, I had several friends who had miscarried and I was so worried that I was going to lose her. That is why God told me early on that she would be “a little girl with great faith.” And even then, I was worried when things weren’t perfect on the ultrasounds.

With Tiffany, I had ultrasounds every appointment in Korea. That probably helped me to know that she was fine. I didn’t really have a word for her other than the day we found out we were pregnant God told me that “mercy and grace would follow me all the days of my life.” So when we found out we were having a girl, I really didn’t have any ideas for names right away.

I switched obs during both pregnancies. With Clarissa, I didn’t care for several doctors in the group that I was going to see. I wasn’t concerned at first because I really thought that we would move to Korea at that time. But when it became clear that wasn’t happening right away, I switched doctors. We did do a natural child birth class where the teacher talked about all of the natural things to do and talked about how bad epidurals were. I wasn’t really prepared for my 54 hours of back labor and really felt defeated that I got an epidural at like hour 45.

The reason I switched obs this round is that we moved from South Korea to Northern Virginia. It was harder than I thought it was going to be to switch obs. First of all, prenatal care is different in Korea than it is in America so my records were “incomplete” because they did different tests. And then there was the fact that some of my records aren’t in English. So it was difficult to find an ob to accept my records. Eventually they did when I went in person to explain my records.

They eventually were like, “Oh are you State Department?”

“No, but my husband works for the government.”

“So the government sent you to Korea for four years?”

“Yes.”

“Ok, then you’re fine.”

So basically, if we had been missionaries, English teachers, or just expats returning from Korea, they wouldn’t have accepted an otherwise healthy patient with insurance?!

I did get to do an anatomy scan at my 24 week appointment with the new ob since I hadn’t had the official anatomy scan. They confirmed that Tiffany is definitely a girl and everything looks great. And then they proceeded to ask me if I wanted to do genetic testing to make sure that everything was fine because ultrasounds don’t catch anything. I was like, “as long as insurance covers it, you can do blood work. But I’m not paying for anything out of pocket.” So the blood work people call and tell me how much it will cost if insurance doesn’t pay for testing but can’t tell me if my insurance will pay anything, even though they know what my deductible and copay could be…I declined the testing and they were surprised. With Clarissa I would have paid the ridiculous price just to have peace of mind. But this round, I am not worried about the baby. She’s fine. And even if she isn’t for some reason, she’s still our baby.

I am not dreading the labor and delivery process, per say, but I don’t know that I am looking forward to it either. If I have back labor again, I will not hesitate to get an epidural this round. I may get one anyway and not feel like a failure. Clarissa was healthy with an epidural. God has given us medical technology so there is no shame in using it.

Along the same lines, I tried to do everything naturally with Clarissa. I didn’t even take over the counter medications unless I absolutely had to. I tried to do neti pots and things like that instead of taking decongestants. This round, if it is on an approved list of medications, I take it without feeling bad about it. Especially when we were in Korea and I was getting headaches from the bad air.

I am interested to see how different Tiffany’s personality is than Clarissa’s. Clarissa is a mix of me and Tim, but more Tim than me. Tiffany is definitely really active in the womb like Clarissa was. But she is in a different position so I am hopeful that I won’t have back labor this round. I am also interested to see how this 6 year age gap plays out in their relationship. And what it will be like to be a mom of two. But I look forward to the challenge and know that God will guide Tim and I as we raise these beautiful girls.

It’s a good thing Clarissa had a change of heart…

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Until the end of last week, Clarissa was pretty adamant that she wanted a little brother. I was confused because she spent the past three years asking for a little sister. She finally told me why.

She doesn’t want to share her toys. An only child for five years gets used to having her own things. Clarissa assumed that if she had a baby sister, she would grow up to want to play with all of her toys. But a little brother would ignore her girly toys and play with his own. When I explained that a little brother would want to play with her toys too, she was very confused.

On Monday, the realtor asked Clarissa if she wanted a brother or a sister. She responded “both” and kissed my tummy.

We had an ultrasound on Tuesday. The doctor asked if we wanted to know the gender of the baby and we all said “Yes!” The translator said, “It’s probably a girl.” Clarissa was very upset, but not for the reason that you think. She said, “But is it a boy or a girl? Why don’t they know for sure?”

I guess Tim will name all of our children. The name Clarissa was his idea and it took a few days to grow on me. This time it did not take as long.

As we were walking out of the hospital, he said, “What do you think about Tiffany?” Tiffany means manifestation of God. Upon further research, Tiffany is a translation of the word epiphany and is often given to girls born on January 6. We actually found out that we were pregnant on January 6.

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By the time we arrived at dinner, the three of us agreed that her name is Tiffany Grace so “manifestation of God and grace.” This is the perfect name for her. If we got pregnant when we first started trying, she would be due in June which would be either very difficult or not possible with our PCS (moving) date. This way, our furniture that will take at least 3 months to arrive to our new house should arrive in August. We will have plenty of time to get our new home set up and comfortable before Tiffany comes in mid September. We didn’t know the timing of any of this, but God knew. And it also fits with the word that God gave me in the beginning of the pregnancy that “mercy and grace would follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Tim also had a vision a while ago that this child would be in ministry.

We of course followed dinner with a trip to the px to find some cute little girl clothes. We each had a different favorite, so we bought them all.

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I think that the reason that we could not tell the gender at the last ultrasound was that four weeks ago Clarissa was adamantly against having a baby sister. Now Clarissa is very excited about her baby sister. I think it helps that she has a name now too.

Clarissa’s announcement

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When I was a summer camp counselor, we used to sing this song at mealtime.

“Announcements, announcements, announcements. What a horrible death to die. What a horrible death to die. What a horrible death to be talked to death. What a horrible death to die. Announcements, announcements, (begin obnoxiously long drumroll of kids hitting the table) annnoooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwncements. ”

And then a particular male counselor would always say,” I sold my cow…. ” and the program director would give us whatever announcements we needed to hear.

I was hoping to make a few announcements all at once. But an official offer for Tim is taking forever. And we have pretty much already told everyone our other secret. So we decided to announce them on the blog separately.

Clarissa has been asking for a little sister since she was two years old. For a long time she was adamant that she wanted a little sister, then it was two sisters (the backseat of the car can fit 3 carseats), and if it was a boy we should give him back. Last spring she started saying that she wanted a sister AND a brother. By summer, she was like, “I don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl. Just ask God to put a baby in your tummy.”

Clarissa is finally getting her wish. Baby Faust is due September 21, 2019. At first, Clarissa was pretty adamant that she wanted both a brother and a sister- twins! In the beginning, I thought it might be twins because the day that I found out that I was pregnant God told me that “Mercy and grace will follow me all the days of my life.” So I figured we would have two girls with the middle names Mercy and Grace. Interestingly though when I looked up the verse it is actually, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6) But God doesn’t only speak in Bible verses so I am going to go with mercy and grace…

But there is only one baby in there. So now Clarissa has decided that she would prefer a brother. That way, she can be Eva when she plays Wakfu and her brother can be Dally…But if it’s a girl, we are allowed to keep her.

We are all excited about this new addition to the family. Well, I’m not sure about Mittens. Tim and I are happy and Clarissa is thrilled. She kisses my tummy multiple times per day and pretty much tells everyone we see in person, “Mommy has a baby in her tummy!”

We have some idea of where baby Faust will be born, but nothing is official yet. Our DEROS (the end of Tim’s contract) is April 30, so we will likely have ample time to get settled in and have our belongings from Korea arrive before baby comes.

Pregnancy Tips

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Congratulations on becoming a mom! Whether you expected to become pregnant now or not, congratulations! God has chosen you to be the mom for this baby. No one else will be able to love or care for this child the way that you can.

Being a mom is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But it is also probably the best thing ever. There is nothing like watching your baby sleep or cuddling for hours.

There are a ton of websites, articles, and books about being pregnant. I wrote a post about my favorite pregnancy books. You can read as much or as little as you want.

I have a few of my own pregnancy tips for you.

1. Don’t worry about what all of your other pregnant friends are doing.

I was pregnant at the same time as several other people from church. They were all on kid two, three, or four. It was my first baby, so I didn’t know what to expect. As long as I kept eating, I didn’t get sick. They were all sick and not eating. Naturally, I gained ten pounds in the first trimester and freaked out because they had all lost weight. I thought for sure that I would gain 100 pounds with my baby. But I didn’t. I just ate when I was hungry and ate what I was craving. I did really well.

2. Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry. Sleep when you are tired.

3. Get good prenatal care. Thanks to the Affordable Healthcare Act, most insurance companies cover prenatal care. You and your baby will be healthier if you do.

4. Take a prenatal vitamin. That being said…

5. Eat what you are craving. Your body knows what it needs. In the beginning, I wanted a lot of chocolate. I realized that if I had a banana everyday, I didn’t crave the chocolate. My body needed the magnesium or potassium or something.

6. Get some exercise. It doesn’t have to be much. I just walked my dog each day. 15 minute walk. That was it. But it helped me to have a little more energy in the afternoon. I also slept better and didn’t get as stiff.

7. Set up a support system. You are going to need help when baby arrives, in more ways than you know. Join a mom’s group at your church or through the recreation center in your area. Talk to friends who are already moms.

8. Drink plenty of water. Some recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces. I know you already need to use the bathroom a lot, but trust me on this. You will have more energy and it will prevent dehydration as well as constipation.