I blogged a lot about my 1st pregnancy (here, here and here) but I haven't had as much time this time around. But I do want to commemorate this special time with some thoughts, so here I am back to writing. And I'll start from the beginning.
My husband, Russell, and I were hesitant to have a second child. We told ourselves before we got pregnant with our first, Harlem, that we were a one-and-done family. We valued our time, space, and independence, and wanted to give our all to just one child. But in the process of having a baby, I fell in love with babies and being a mom. We talked about whether or not we should have a second all the time and went back and forth. We agreed to wait until 2020, assess our situation and re-consider then. I knew I needed to make some changes if we were going to have a second, so I started preparing. I quit my job in the city that required travel and a grueling commute. I found closer jobs to home. I meditated extensively (and found my spirit animal which turns out to be a beaver). I talked to my family about the kind of support they could offer if we had a second. And then I convinced my husband it was time, even though we were a year ahead of schedule. It was a serious process and not a light decision.
Things weren't perfect. Our financial situation has been tighter since I left my full-time corporate gig. I was trying to launch a family yoga business and working 7 days a week. I didn't have maternity leave benefits. The health plan we signed up for this year only covers the bare minimum and has a huge out-of-pocket. But I let go of control and went with my gut instinct.
I knew almost immediately that I was pregnant; I could feel the shift in my body. But the first pregnancy test I took came back negative. A week later I took another test before my husband's birthday to make sure I could indulge in a night out. The test was negative again even though I could swear I was pregnant. I enjoyed a nice bottle of wine that night anyways. Two weeks later I realized my period was late and took my 3rd test, and finally the pregnancy was confirmed.
The first trimester was exhausting. My body felt sick and tired all the time in the middle of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I wanted to sleep but didn't have the time between work and a 3-year old. I had to eat crackers as soon as I woke up in the morning to quell the nausea. I never actually threw up but felt on the verge of it constantly. I was breaking out with acne around my mouth and painful cold sores around my lips. Hormones running wild. My mind was in a fog and I kept forgetting things, like pajama day at Harlem's school. I felt so terrible I snuck back later to change him in to his pajamas so he wouldn't feel left out. They were small but enough little things that made me feel like I was losing my mind.
I went to my first doctor's appointment and got an ultrasound image that's non-decipherable but looks like a little angel with wings to me.
I felt like I was showing right away (though now that I look back, it was really nothing). I shared the news early with family. I also shared with one co-worker, and somehow the news spilled out/people guessed before I was even 10 weeks along.
I felt so much better as soon as I entered my second trimester. I negotiated maternity leave benefits with the company I work for. I let go of teaching some yoga classes to spend more time at home. I got my energy and sanity back. Maybe most importantly, I decided not to push myself too hard physically, mentally, or try to keep up with my endless to-do lists. I gave myself a break.
I was religious about keeping track of how many weeks I was and the size of the baby with my first pregnancy, but I'm afraid I wasn't as enthusiastic this time around. I would only look up the fruit size of the baby every once in a while because Harlem wanted to know.
Because I'm 35 and considered a higher-risk pregnancy, I was able to get early blood testing that revealed the gender of the baby at 15 weeks, compared to waiting until the 20-week ultrasound with my first pregnancy. Gender reveal video here, spoiler alert, it's a girl! By the second trimester ultrasound, baby was looking much more defined.
And we even got a 3-D image ultra-sound. I think she looks so much like Harlem in this one.
We discussed baby names as a family and as soon as Harlem heard the name "Joy" he was hooked. Any time we tried to deviate to another name, he would literally yell at us or start crying. Russell on the other hand really liked the name Rei, which means gratitude in Japanese. So we've decided to name her Joy Rei (no middle name) Sato, and we plan to call her J.R. for short.
Instead of a traditional baby shower, I invited my lady friends and family to a yoga session in the redwood parks where I led a flowy yoga class and loving kindness meditation amongst the trees. I wanted to set an intention to raise my daughter with a strong tribe of women. It was truly a lovely and magical day.
I'm grateful to my yoga practice for supporting me throughout this pregnancy. I taught adult vinyasa flow up until the end of my second trimester and I continued to teach kids yoga well into my third. I switched to practicing exclusively prenatal yoga just a few weeks ago. The yoga has been so vital to my health and energy. Plus it feels so good, creating space in this ever-growing body.
As of this blog post, I have one week of work to go and two weeks until baby's July 20th due date. I've been surprised at how resilient my body has been. While I suffered from low back pain during my first pregnancy, I've only experienced mild hip pain for a few weeks and smooth sailing since. I've been able to stand for 8 hours a day at work with minimal fatigue. I think being on the move has been helpful.
It's funny how once Russell decided he wanted a second child, he hasn't wavered at all. He's been excited and supportive ever since. He's going to be an amazing dad of two. I'm most anxious of losing time with Harlem and drifting away from him as I have to spend a lot of time with a demanding new-born. I hope that this change in our family is a positive change in his life. Joy Rei is so lucky to come in to this world with a big brother like Harlem already on her side. I know there are going to be challenges and adjustments to our family ahead, but I hope we can all learn and grow from each other, awakened and present to each moment.
If you're still reading this, thanks so much for indulging in my over-share! It's so therapeutic for me to get everything down in words, and I enjoy being able to go back to my blog posts to help me remember specific events and my state of mind. Hopefully I'll be able to share my birth story soon (here's Harlem's). Wish me an easeful and safe labor!