My youngest, Kaden, turned a year old today. As any parent will say year after year regarding their child(ren) getting older……”that year flew by.” This whole weekend I reminisced on my last day of work before maternity leave. Going to the hospital that night. My long, arduous, painful labor that lasted over 30+ hours (that should be a whole other blog) and meeting Kaden for the first time.
For those of you who don’t know me, my children are 12 years apart (also should be a whole other blog on that subject). I was a fresh 22 when I gave birth to Kai and a not so fresh 34 when I had Kaden.
I’ve learned a lot these last two go rounds. But mainly how different it is having a baby in your 20s vs your 30s. Before getting pregnant with Kaden I thought pregnancy was pregnancy. But I soon realized the moment the egg was fertilized and I was walking around looking like the crypt keeper, pregnancy is indeed not pregnancy. Below is a comprehensive list (some negative, some positive) about my views on pregnancy, labor and newborn care in your 20s vs your 30s.
1. Pregnancy was not magical this time
When I got pregnant with Kai at 22, I thought pregnancy was magical. And don’t get me wrong. It is. If you ever read up on what actually takes place inside your body when you get pregnant, its like this choreographed dance with perfect timing. Everything has to happen precisely. If one thing is off, it doesn’t happen. The human body IS amazing. But I did not feel amazing. In fact from day one I felt like I had one foot. In the grave. For 9 months. With Kai I had some aches, a few pains but generally, all was good. I was only tired for the first couple weeks and my energy came right back WELL before the 2nd trimester. I maintained eating fairly healthy, I was active (not working out but active). I kept up on housework and grocery shopping. I had a life with my friends still. I basically lived my normal life with a basketball tied to my front. Nothing really changed. THIS TIME THOUGH?!?? I was angry and emotional (ask Joey about our trip to the beach before we knew I was pregnant), I was SO TIRED, I had odd cravings (I ate nothing but grilled zucchini and Coco Pebbles for MONTHS), my friends didn’t even bother texting me to ask if I was coming because the answer was always no. I hated everyone at work. I laid in bed and ate 4-5 slices of pizza a night
I quit working out, I quit cleaning and grocery shopping (thanks for picking up that slack Joey), I basically became the grandparents from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Someone would come and roll me over so I didn’t get bed sores. Anyone who asked me “how’s it going?” and didn’t have children, immediately took their own uterus out, and burned it upon hearing my response.
2. Labor doesn’t always get easier the second time around…..
So I’m going to spare you the minute details of my epic labor and delivery but I will tell you that it felt like I was in the movie Groundhog Day. Every time I woke up from a nap it was the same thing. I was still pregnant. I was still in labor. This went on for 30+ hours. Yes folks, went into labor Friday and had the baby Sunday. While I know people have been in labor for far longer, I’m talking about me, so don’t send me no messages about how you were in labor for a week. This is my blog. My story is worse than yours. With Kai, I think I had a very textbook labor and delivery. Water broke at home. Went to the hospital. Tried to be a hero for a few hours with no meds, tapped out, got the epidural, pushed the baby out in 10 minutes, whole ordeal done in 11 hours. With Kaden, he jacked around all weekend. I went to the hospital on Friday night around midnight and then got sent home Saturday morning around 4am. I labored everywhere in my house all day Saturday trying to find a comfortable spot. On the ground, in the kitchen, in the basement, on the toilet, in bed. It wasn’t until I was in the shower on all fours, looking like Toni Braxton in the Un-break My Heart video did Joey decide we should probably head back to the hospital Saturday night around 9pm.
12 hours after THAT on Sunday afternoon, Kaden was finally born via C-section. Whoever says you can cut your labor in half the second time around can have several seats. Issa lie.
3. My body is still bouncing back a year later
When I had Kai, I did have a period of time where I didn’t care how I looked. I had just had a baby and weight loss wasn’t really my main concern. Maybe because in your 20s you know that you get skinny just by having skinny thoughts. I remember that when I decided it was time to “bounce back” as they say, I hopped on a treadmill a few days a week, added some lettuce to my diet, upped my water intake and BAM back to 130lbs in like 15 minutes. Two. Piece. Ret-ay. This time, not so much. I literally have to run 721 miles a week and sniff Kale (not actually eat it) to lose one pound. Then I get pissed that I killed myself for two weeks and only lost one pound so I eat Portillos. Its a vicious cycle of self sabatoge. I completely blame age on this one (and some Google article that says you have to limit alcohol to lose weight. #AreThereOtherOptions?)
4. Awwww, something positive! I have more patience in my 30s.
While pregnancy was magical, labor was smooth and losing weight was a breeze in my 20s, I had zero patience for Kai and his baby antics. Looking back, my patience was thinner than frogs hair. I got frustrated quicker, I was irritated easily and I just didn’t have the patience.
Don’t get me wrong, Kaden gets on my last nerve. And I will be the first one to tell you that at any given moment I’m ready to drop him off to the nearest willing babysitter. But it’s just different. Yes I get impatient at times but it takes awhile for me to get there this time around. Where I noticed this change in patience the most was breastfeeding. Any mother, whether you’ve had 1 kid or 7 knows breastfeeding is challenging and each baby is different. Kai was a NICU baby so he had gotten used to the bottle prior to coming home. He preferred the bottle. That, coupled with my impatience, led to me giving up on breastfeeding by the time Kai was 3 or 4 months old. When I tell you that I beat myself up over it for 12 years…….
I vowed that if I ever got pregnant again, that baby would have two options. Booby milk or booby milk. And that is what I did. Kaden acted up at the booby in the beginning. Not latching right, always sleep 2 minutes into a feeding, choking on milk because the flow was too fast. Getting mad because the flow was too slow. All the things. But I had the patience to get through it all and we successfully breastfed (with many challenges!!!) for one year. And I’m so proud of myself and him too!
5. Men are universally the same in your 20s and 30s
There is no candy coating this. A man’s life changes minimally compared to a woman when a baby is born. While Joey was the picture perfect man throughout my pregnancy and labor, I knew I was in trouble here:
Yeah. That was the night I went into labor. I had woke him up to tell him that it was time. And he rolled over (ON MY PREGNANCY PILLOW I MIGHT ADD) and went back to sleep. Three times. Now I’m not here to bash men (haha, yes I am) but you guys amp up your naps and pooping at least 10 fold after a baby is born. You’re a little helpless (“Help me! The baby spit up!”), babies and multitasking aren’t your thing (“Someone take him so I can eat”), and I feel like you notoriously cut corners to make less work for yourself and disguise it as truly being concerned for the child’s well being (“He doesn’t need a bath tonight, he got one on Tuesday. Too many baths dry out his skin”) *cue side eye*
Lets be honest. Dad’s really shine when the kid is walking, talking, feeding themselves and basically in college. Yet dads always want more kids. Ask Joey how many he wants. The number would make your vagina shrivel up and cave in on its self. And when you ask him why on gods green earth do you want this many kids he says “cuz I just do. I like having babes” Lets all have a nice hearty laugh at the “I” when he says “I like having babies”
You aren’t having the babies. You aren’t giving up your body for 9 months (a year and 9 months if you choose to breastfeed), you aren’t pushing humans out of your pee hole (or getting them cut out of you) you aren’t getting fat, you aren’t trying to lose weight, you aren’t obsessing over whether the baby is getting enough breastmilk, or beating yourself up if breastfeeding isn’t going how you imagined, you aren’t the main one waking up at night (lord help them when they do have to get up more than one night in a row. Friends will ask him how he’s been sleeping and he’ll say:
When really its been like 2 nights.), your boobs aren’t leaking, you’re not pumping 3-5x a day at work……Shall I go on?
While I love Kaden and loved this whole year watching him grow, I seriously waffle back and forth about having another one every single day. Pregnancy was tough this time! A lot tougher than it was 12 years ago. My labor didn’t go how I imagined. Healing time was longer than I thought and my energy levels are literally non existent with Kaden who is like a mini tornado every day. Don’t even get me started on my jobs maternity leave policy (Only 2 weeks paid. The rest you better have your vaca/sick time saved up or you are going unpaid and eating ramen noodles for 12 weeks).
Being that I’m 35 now, that means I’m automatically moved to the “high risk” category in pregnancy. What’s that mean?! Is my baby going to have two heads? Am I going to blow up? I have anxiety thinking about it. But here’s Janet in her 50s popping out a kid. Beyonce still being a instagram model while carrying twins and keeping Jay in line. I mean, I can do it right???
That remains to be seen.