Thinking About Baby #2

If I had conceived last month, WZW and baby #2 would be two years apart.  In fact, based on the timing of my menstrual cycle, my due date would have been only one day off from WZW’s.  Although there are worse things that can happen, having two children with birthdays very close, or perhaps even on the same day, would have been annoying for everyone involved.  So we figured we can hold off for a month.

But we are definitely thinking about #2.  Before having WZW, I thought I’d want to have my kids less than two years apart.  But the reality of life after baby is that it’s really tough.  It’s hard having such a demanding job, and also handling life with a toddler, who is naturally demanding in a different way.  So it’s taken me a while to get to the point where I’m ready to start trying for #2.

For a long time, I was hoping to get to a point where I could focus on eating better and exercising a little more.  But after a while, I realized that it’s not realistic given my current circumstances.  Even if I didn’t have a child, my job would take a significant amount of my energy.  When I’m there, I can’t half-ass it.  I need to give my 100%.  Not to mention the time- I would love to have a 40-hour work week, rather than my typical 50-something hour work week.  With the combination of needing my brain to be critically thinking most of the time, staying positive and friendly for my patients, and the long hours of doing so, my usual work day is very draining.

Between work and wanting to spend time with WZW, I just don’t have the energy to prioritize Paleo eating.  While I’m not going crazy with pizza and pasta, ultimately convenience wins out.  Not to mention after a stressful day, I gravitate towards comfort food.

One day my brother-in-law was helping watch WZW when the nanny was sick, and he was gracious enough to make dinner.  It was a fish and greens dish from Sun Basket (like Blue Apron, but faster to make and with Paleo options).  I ate it, and it was good, but I just didn’t feel satisfied.  I needed more- something with more carbs, and/or something heartier.  It’s too bad that even when a healthy meal was made for me and ready to eat, it still wasn’t enough.  It just goes to show how much my mental state can affect my eating habits.

Even if I finish work at a time that would potentially allow for fitting in a little exercise before heading home, that means less time that I’m spending with my son.  Of course, exercise is beneficial for my health and I need to prioritize that.  But still, when I don’t see WZW that much during the work week as it is, it’s hard to choose.  It’s easy to talk myself out of exercising by rationalizing that it’s because I want to see my son, when really part of it is that I’m feeling unmotivated.

I’m trying not to completely give up- if I can choose healthier options, or if I can fit in a little exercise, I’m going to try.  But committing to being fully or nearly Paleo, or exercising a certain amount, not to mention New Year’s resolutions- I feel like I’d be setting myself up for failure.  As a result, I find myself avoiding making specific goals.  I don’t want to have yet another thing to feel bad about, because I didn’t meet those goals.

I’m sure it’s common to feel a little nervous about the prospect of having the new challenge of a toddler plus a newborn.  I also worry about the challenges of pregnancy the second time around.  This time, I’d be entering pregnancy heavier and less fit than I was before WZW showed up.  I already have low back pain from lifting him and such.  So I’m expecting a second pregnancy to be harder on me physically.  A lot of my patients seem to have more pain the second time around.

My first pregnancy wasn’t bad, but the nausea in the first trimester was tough to deal with.  The thought of going through that again, plus probable additional physical discomforts the second time around isn’t something I’m looking forward to.

I can’t help but wonder- what kind of effect will it have on baby #2 if I’m not as healthy at baseline starting the pregnancy?  And I know based on my current habits that I won’t be able to eat as healthy or exercise as regularly during pregnancy compared to last time.  We know statistically that there are risks of obesity in pregnancy, which is why we recommend starting a pregnancy at a healthy weight when possible, and once pregnant, gaining the appropriate amount of weight based on one’s starting weight.

It does depress me a bit that I’m no longer in the normal weight category, but well into the overweight category.  So there are probably some subtle effects of being overweight, but if I keep waiting to get back to a normal weight, then it’s never going to happen.

It almost makes one wonder if it’s all worth it.  Ultimately, it would be nice for WZW not to be an only child.  There is nothing wrong with deciding on one child, and my husband and I are very grateful to have one healthy child.  But having grown up with siblings, we’ve always envisioned having a second.  I thankfully have a good relationship with my brother, probably more so now that he has twins and we can relate about parenting stuff.  I would love for that to be the case with my children.  I also wonder if I would inadvertently put more expectations/pressure on WZW if he’s an only child.

Beyond two, I don’t know how we would handle it.  I mean, we’ve talked about wanting a dog, but even that I’m not sure I can handle.  Given how challenging I find one child to be, I truly find it a bit difficult to understand how some people want like 4 kids.  I just can’t imagine staying sane, especially if they’re all close in age.

It’s funny, because despite all of the above fears, I’m also scared of the other possibility- what if it’s not so easy to get pregnant with #2?  Since I’m not keeping up with the Paleo lifestyle these days, and I’m a little older, what if I have trouble this time?  One of my friends was maybe 37 when she was trying for baby #2 and ended up needing to do IVF due to age-related infertility.

In any case, I can’t keep worrying about all the what ifs.  We’ll deal with what happens as it comes, right?



Happy 2017!

I’ve been wanting to post for a while, but things have been a little crazy lately.  We spent Christmas weekend through the end of the year moving, so it was hectic living out of boxes, and uprooting out lives, even though it was a local move.  Working during a surprisingly busy holiday season didn’t help things.  Now that I have some time off, I can finally get around to the things I haven’t had a chance to do.

WZW is now 16 months old, and it was interesting to see his transition to the new house.  He was of course excited to explore the bigger space, with all new drawers and cabinets to check out.  The first night, going to sleep wasn’t a problem.  I think it was another night or two in that he realized that this wasn’t a temporary trip, and he refused to go to sleep.  He would cry and cry, so we finally let him out of his room, and you could see him playing to fight the fatigue.  One morning I took him on a brief outing to go to the bank, and when we came back, he got very upset as I carried him in through the front door.  So much so that he held onto the door frame with both hands in an effort to prevent me from bringing him back inside.

But after a couple of days, he seemed to get used to it for the most part.  These days, he is busy climbing everything he can get away with.  We don’t have a gate for the new kitchen, so he has figured out that he can push a chair into the kitchen so he can climb up and try to touch the buttons on the oven or stove.  Which is just great for us parents.

He just recently started talking a little bit.  We’d been using a few hand symbols for things like eat and milk.  One of the newer ones was more.  Our little guy loves food, so it wasn’t too surprising that he first attempted to say “MO” for more oranges.  It started as a long “MOOOW” and now turned into a short “mo.”  He kinda uses the eat and more symbols interchangeably, but it’s easy to know he wants to eat.

It’s fascinating seeing how they pick up language and communication at this age.  He even used symbols to communicate something new to us.  WZW typically waves good night to us, and only uses his pacifier when sleeping.  So one evening, my husband was changing his diaper, and he did a symbol like eat (hand to mouth) followed by a wave.  At first he was confused- you’re hungry at this hour?  It took my husband a minute to realize the eat symbol was his way of communicating that he wanted his pacifier, and the wave was to go to bed.  What a refreshing change from the newborn days when it was a struggle to get him to sleep.  Now he readily tells us he’s tired, and will walk himself into his crib (which is on the ground) and put himself to sleep.

He says mama but not in reference to me.  In fact, since I’ll point to myself and say mama, and then point to him and say his name, he’ll then point to himself and say mama.  What’s even funnier is that when he says dad, my husband will ask him to say it again, and he’ll say mama.  Oh, toddlers.  If adults exhibited this kind of behavior, they’d be called bad names.

So we have an interesting update on WZW’s allergies.  We’d taken him to an allergy doc, who confirmed with testing that he has egg and peanut allergies.  The plan was to bring him back in a year (when he was around 2 years old) for repeat testing, since they often grow out of the allergies.

Well, one day when our neighbor was watching him, I’d thought to myself that we should probably remind her of his allergies since she doesn’t take care of him regularly.  We had told her initially, but it’s easy to forget.  I wondered if I myself would accidentally forget about things like peanut oil that might be used at a restaurant.  Though these days I would hope anything with peanuts is clearly labeled on a menu.  My husband apparently had been thinking the same thing, but didn’t end up telling her when he dropped WZW off at her place because she’d mentioned what leftovers she had that she was planning on feeding him, and they sounded safe.

Well, it was a good reminder that we need to remind caretakers of his allergies, because she fed him a poached egg.  Afterwards, he didn’t have a reaction but the Advice Nurse said to go ahead and give him Benadryl, which we did.  But given the time course, he definitely would have reacted by then.  We asked her if it was just the yolk, but she said he ate the whole thing.

A week later, we got around to emailing the allergist about it, to see if he needed further testing or anything.  The allergist said that feeding the actual food is the best test, so if WZW didn’t have a reaction to the egg, it meant he was no longer allergic.  Hooray!

We texted our neighbor to tell her the good news.  In the course of it, we mentioned that he just has the peanut allergy left.  She said um, he had a peanut butter & jelly sandwich while he was there as well.  My response was, are you serious?!  She said yes, they were all eating them so WZW had some as well.  Our response was shock, relief, and laughter.  We won’t be winning any parenting awards soon, but sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.  We accidentally found out that WZW has outgrown both his egg and peanut allergies.

Please don’t try this at home.  This could have turned out very differently, so make sure to remind caregivers, particularly if they’re not frequent ones, about allergies.  We got lucky.  Very lucky.