They say you have you first baby for you, and the second one to teach your first one how to share—toys, the backseat and of course, love.
Being that my wife and I both have brothers we adore, we knew we wanted to give our daughter that same indescribable bond. But now that I’m officially expecting #2, I have to admit my emotions are mostly consumed by an overwhelming “Why are we doing this again?” reprise that I say out loud more than I should.
With my first born I was over the moon with excitement. With baby #2 I am nervous and haunted by guilt for having another just 23 months after my first.
Guilt that I will be taking maternity leave from my kind-of-a-big-deal job and burdening my co-workers yet again. Guilt that Aria will now be left in the dust as I pour all my energy into making ample breastmilk and feeding and caring for a newborn again in a sleep-deprived haze that likely won’t make me Mommy of the year in her eyes. Guilt that my marriage can’t handle someone else stealing time from the already precious few hours we have as a couple when we aren’t cooking, grocery shopping or keeping a house (mostly) in one piece while our 18-month old toddler tears through our cupboards, our free time and our carefree travel plans of yesteryear.
It probably doesn’t help that the difference between the first 17 weeks of my first pregnancy and my second couldn’t have been more significant. With Aria, I had an easy peasy “I should opt to be a surrogate” type of pregnancy, bypassing any signs of moodiness or morning sickness.
But with baby #2 I have slogged through the early weeks of an IVF frozen embryo transfer and endured rounds of estrogen and progesterone injections that this time came with the crazy side effects like insomnia, insane headaches and what turned out to be all-day nausea I will never call morning sickness, but rather a round-the-clock, hormone-induced hangover from hell. For four weeks I drank only bone broth and orange juice, unable to choke down any food aside from oyster crackers and the occasional gummy bear.
For all my sanctimonious banter bragging about the ease of pregnancy my first go around, karma is a real thing and I apologize!
Now that I’m in my second trimester, I am feeling much better and have even had enough energy to start working out again, which is a godsend for both my psyche and my Peloton profile. And even though I am still nowhere near the level 10 excitement I had when pregnant with Aria, I know when this little one comes along I will be just as in love with her or him as I was with my first. Soon our family of four will be experiencing a life filled with all the even-numbered adventures we can muster. Rollercoasters, doubles tennis matches and of course, ski lifts for four.
And as an LGBT couple relying on both science and the State of Illinois’ edict for insurance companies to pay for fertility treatments like IVF, my gratitude for living in this era, in this country and in this city supersedes all the trepidation.
We can’t wait to meet you, #BabyBetterTimesTwo!