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Take Two: 5 surprises on second time around

Editor's Note: Take Two is a series of blog posts chronicling the experiences of three WISH-TV anchors (Lauren Lowrey, Kylie Conway and Amber Hankins) who have been pregnant together in 2018. Each woman is expecting her second child and each will have a baby boy.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) -- There was something magical about the moment I learned I was pregnant for the second time. It was a cold weekend in January and we had canceled my birthday plans, cleared our schedules and opted to stay home to potty-train our two-year old daughter, Samantha. We had already turned what should have been a celebratory weekend into the relatively mind-numbing and sometimes disheartening process of teaching a toddler what to do when she feels the urge.

I took the pregnancy test at the end of that first day of potty training. My daughter was asleep and my husband was already relaxing alone in the living room. I'll never forget the look on his face when I rounded the corner to share the news. His forlorn face immediately shifted to show relief. The doldrums of potty training were replaced by the joy of sweet success. We were having another baby!

I knew it would be different this second time around, but I didn't know what would be different. So, here are five things that have surprised me in my second pregnancy.

Surprise #1: It's. So. Different. 

I had been told before "every pregnancy is different," but I didn't realize how different they could be. Maybe it's because I'm carrying a boy this time and not a girl. Maybe it's because I'm older now. Maybe it's the luck of the draw. Whatever it is, this pregnancy has been so much easier for me. 

Yes, I had a lot of vomiting and nausea in the first trimester, but it didn't last nearly as long as it did with my daughter. I've found myself craving entirely different foods this pregnancy and feeling considerably better than I did with my first. I've felt so great (first trimester excluded) that I've been able to continue my exercise regimen throughout this pregnancy. 

I'm most grateful for a hormonal balance this time around that was completely absent with my first pregnancy. With my daughter, if I felt even the slightest negative emotion -- fear, anger, grief -- I would feel it intensely for three days. In that pregnancy, I could see the hormonal freight train coming but I was helplessly fastened to the tracks, doomed to be steamrolled and captive to my hormones. This time around, I've had nothing of the sort. Why is that? Nobody knows. All I know is my poor husband is grateful for a steady and (somewhat) normal Lauren each day at home. 

Surprise #2: Sleep? What sleep?

When you're pregnant with your first child, you're still very much child-free and your sleep schedule reflects that. If you're tired, you sleep. You can still do whatever you want or need to take care of yourself as you grow.

It's not that easy when you're expecting your second child -- especially when you wake up at 1:30 a.m. for work. Once you have a baby, the 6 p.m. bedtime you clung to religiously goes out the window. You live on five hours of sleep a night during the week and become accustomed to operating at 60 percent of where you could be if you just slept. 

When you add a pregnancy to that unfulfilling sleep schedule, then you can forget getting anything done. The "sleep when the baby sleeps" mantra people shared at the birth of your first child gets used again, only this time, as a way to survive pregnant life with a toddler. I now sleep when she sleeps for her midday nap. Two hours here, four hours there. It's all I can do to survive. 

Surprise #3: Totally different cravings

Pregnancy cravings are so funny. They can range from the entirely normal, to the odd, to the downright disgusting. No matter what the pregnant lady in your life likes, cravings are a way her body is saying "this is what I need, and I need it now."

With my daughter, it was lemons. I needed lemons every day. It was so bad I went to the grocery store and bought 37 lemons to make myself the most gigantic pitcher of homemade lemonade. It was all I could drink to keep the nausea at bay. To this day, my daughter can pick up a lemon and eat it like an apple. The cringe-inducing, mouth-pursing tartness has no effect on her. It's crazy, I know. 

This pregnancy, I've needed pickled okra. Don't hand me pickled vegetables or plain pickles. I need pickled okra. Growing up, my Louisiana-born father kept a large jar of it in the house at all times. It's a regular snack in areas with a growing season long enough to support okra. As an adult in Indiana, it's been a little harder to find, but I've found it. Lord knows I clean out a grocery store's pickled okra stash each time I see it!

Surprise #4: Wow! You get big fast!

This entire second pregnancy, I've found myself saying over and over again "Wow! I've gotten big fast!" My body has reacted so much more quickly this time around. It's as if my body is saying "Pregnancy? I got this!"

I remember being half-way through my first pregnancy before ever looking remotely pregnant. This second pregnancy, I looked noticeably pregnant some six weeks earlier. Everything has just happened so much more quickly for me. It only serves to make me more antsy to finish the pregnancy and move along to holding that sweet little boy!

Surprise #5: Confidence Galore 

By far, the best part of being pregnant again is that I know exactly what to expect. Gone is the fear and trepidation of whether I'll survive, whether my marriage will survive, whether my career will survive.  I had three years to experience pregnancy and motherhood before doing it all over again and I'm so grateful to have the experience under my belt. 

Motherhood is a beautiful journey we never undertake alone. The first time around, you need the support of other mothers to help you through. When you're experiencing pregnancy and child-birth for the second time, you approach it with a confidence that allows you to support other women as they begin their journey.

My life is so much more full with my daughter in it and I can only hope it becomes even more so with the addition of a little boy. That's why I'm confident and excited for this second time around.

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