This is the story of my pregnancy with my second child, Julep. I’ll share details of my pregnancy with my oldest son MaiTai in a future post.
After this post, check out Julep’s birth story here.
Not too many weeks after the positive pregnancy test, we told MaiTai he was going to be a big brother.
We wondered if he even knew what it meant to be a brother… to have a brother or sister… or even the differences between himself at not quite three years old and a newborn baby, much less one in a womb. He knows what a womb is, right?
We had a lot of work to do! Or so I thought.
What do you do when you can’t scratch the itch?
I’d heard of itchy skin during pregnancy before. Caused by the stretching and growth of new skin to accommodate expansion of new life within and coupled with pregnancy hormones that can dry out the tissues, itchiness is as common as stretch marks.
What I hadn’t heard of until a few weeks ago is a condition called Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP or PUPPS) or polymorphic eruption of pregnancy (PEP) as it’s known in the UK.
I noticed an odd rash appear on my abdomen a few times during the start of my second trimester. Strange, I never had this during my first pregnancy, I thought… But it would disappear within a few hours each time and didn’t feel painful.
Until it really did.
**Advance Notice – This post contains several photos of my PUPPP rash (only abdomen is visible)**
Some worries of a first-time mother during pregnancy: Will my baby be okay? Will labor be like that again? Will I know all the answers to the parenthood dilemmas that stump me? Many worries like these plague experienced mothers, too, but it’s definitely different the second time around.
Based on what seems to be common between treatment of first pregnancies by novice mothers-to-be and subsequent ones by their older, wiser selves, I made this list of maternity concerns and progression of reactions.
(Every mother reacts to each pregnancy in her own way that’s impossible to predict. I’m sure many of you had pregnancy tales that contradict these below, but I tried to just stick to a line or two. Feel free to leave a comment about how you can relate or how you felt dissimilarly!)
Pregnancy months one – two.
We begin our maiden expedition into the land of building second offspring. No visible change upon the breast terrain. Toddler says one side tastes “yucky” and, with a smile, other side tastes “new.”
To the people who ask…
“Why do you *still* breastfeed?”
“Why do you breastfeed a toddler?”
…I could tell you a few things.
I could tell you that the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of two years and beyond as desired by the mother and child.
I could tell you that the biologically natural age of weaning for humans is between 2.5 – 7 years.
I could tell you that breast milk is just as nutritious (and actually packed with more antibodies) for young children as it is for young babies.
I could tell you that my child likes to have the option of nursing for comfort, just as much as he likes hugs, kisses, and self-soothing techniques.
I could tell you that breastfeeding is more than just food.
Many of these answers worked for a while. A good two years, really.
But now that I’m growing a second child in my womb and MaiTai is three years old, the questions have changed.
“Why do you *still* breastfeed during pregnancy?”
“Will you tandem nurse and why would you do that?”
This time the answer is simply… I don’t know.