The second pregnancy is easier -- you know what to expect. You know how contractions feel and you know what you really need in your hospital bag.
Humor Parenting

Not My First Time at the Rodeo: How the Second Pregnancy Is Different from the First

The second pregnancy is easier -- you know what to expect. You know what contractions feel like and you know what you really need in the hospital bag.

By Lauren Wellbank of

When I first became pregnant with my first daughter, I was a consumer of information.  I Googled, I read books, I asked every woman I laid eyes on who had birthed a child all of my many questions. 

I felt buoyed by the satisfaction of having knowledge.  Every ach or pain got Googled or a call to the OB to make sure it was within the range of normal.  I checked and cross checked every item that I ate.  I even made the special no egg cookie dough when my craving got to be so bad that I thought I would die without it (it was garbage, by the way… spend the money, buy the good stuff). 

Now that I am pregnant with my second, things are considerably different.  My Google list has been short and sweet, mainly focused around how much caffeine is really too much caffeine.  And I have to re-Google it at least once a week because in addition to being overly tired, my brain has become a veritable sieve. 

Other than that, my quest for knowledge has been limited.  Actually, it’s been nonexistent.  Sure, there are things that I don’t have to worry about this time because this isn’t my first rodeo, but also, my brain just doesn’t have the room for any new information. 

I’m too busy spending my days lugging around this sweet belly and chasing after a two-year-old to have even a fraction of the concerns I had last time.  However, I think I can safely say that I have narrowed down some of the major differences between my first pregnancy and this one:

I’m not worried about the “how much will it hurt” question.  Mainly because I’ve been through it already and know the answer is that it will hurt ALL OF THE HURTS, but also because I know that every pregnancy is different.  I better fucking not experience the same pains or complications.  Yes, it’s going to hurt.  Recovery is going to suck.  The sleepless nights are going to be awful.  However, newborn babies smell like brownies and feel like little sacks of warm, freshly baked bread.  And your brain has this really wonderful way of forgetting about the pain and trauma after a while. 

OMG, is this a contraction?!  Girl, that is a feeling you don’t forget.  Now that I know what it feels like, I can never unknow it.  Plus, I am intimately familiar with Braxton Hicks contractions, having had them my entire third trimester with my first daughter.  When they began, almost as if on cue at the end of my 27th week, it was as if an old, familiar, annoying friend had come for a visit. 

I’m not going to “poop out” the baby.  Yes, I worried about that a lot last time (way more than someone who knows the difference between a vagina and a butt should have).  Every time I went to the bathroom, the thought was in the back of my mind.  Unfortunately, I now know that childbirth is considerably more difficult. 

The trials and tribulations of the car seat.  The whole car seat thing was a nightmare.  We researched every seat.  Armed with lists of pros and cons, we tested every seat Babies R Us had to offer.  We finally settled on one (with a matching travel system because why not) and spent hours trying to get it installed correctly.  Finally, a few YouTube videos later, and we had the car seat in the car.  The piece that we didn’t take into consideration was that we had no idea how to put an actual baby into a car seat.  There were a lot of tears (from both me and the newborn) and our first fight as parents, but in the end we managed to get her home.  Now we’re pros.  We even joked the other day that we hoped we would have the same escort when we left the hospital with the new kid, just so we could show him that we aren’t complete idiots. 

Packing the hospital bag.  I am not even going to tell you about the size of my “hospital bag” from my last pregnancy, or what all was inside of it.  It was an embarrassment of riches.  I could have left the country for a month with that thing.  The worst part was that I used exactly two things from it: my phone charger and my tooth brush.  And I only used my toothbrush twice that entire week-long stay.

The birth plan.  The first time I stressed over everything.  Not just how it would feel and how much it would hurt, but also what I would want (epidural), what I might need (episiotomy), what I definitely didn’t want under any circumstances (any drugs that would make me unable to hold my baby when she was born).  Guess what happened?  Everything went so much faster than they told me it would — that is until everything slowed down and we required some interventions.  I didn’t need to worry about my choices because in the end, I didn’t make any.  Pretty much everything was decided for me once the baby and I began to decline.  The things I thought I would care about, I didn’t.  The things I thought would be the end of the world, weren’t.  And best of all, everything worked out in the end, even though before the end, everything kind of went to shit. 

Whether my husband will be able to handle it.  He handled everything like a champ last time and I am confident he will again this time. 

How my body will change.  Basically, you become a vessel for a human being to enter the world and then you’re kind of a crumpled-up candy wrapper for a while until you aren’t anymore.  At least that was my experience. 

Granted, now having a child already, I have a whole new host of things to worry about.  How she will handle being away from us overnight for the first time ever?  What will she make of the new baby and my suddenly divided attention?  Will our family dynamic change in a negative way?  If I die during delivery, will my daughter remember me? I feel like my concerns this time are both less, and deeper.  I am confident, though, at least in this one thing: that everything will work out okay in the end. 

And seriously, how much caffeine am I allowed to have again?!

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About the Author

Lauren Wellbank is a thirty something wife, mother, and recovering cat enthusiast. When she isn’t too busy doing those things, she writes. Lauren’s work has also been featured on Scary Mommy, The Huffington Post, Yummy Mummy Club, SheKnows, and BlogHer. Read more at and follow Lauren on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.