First, if you haven’t read my other pregnancy posts, you can check them out here. I wrote a lot when I was pregnant with Sidney and it was a joy to share all the ups and downs of pregnancy, postpartum and motherhood with you.
Getting pregnant again
One of the biggest questions we got was, “was this planned?” The answer is YES! Tony and I decided when I was pregnant with Sidney that we’d start trying again sometime late summer 2020, partially because we wanted to really be able to enjoy ourselves and the beautiful Chicago summer. We had plans to travel, explore and settle into becoming a family of three. However, then the COVID pandemic hit and we kinda were forced to spend all of our time snuggled together at home (a blessing in disguise, I think), without the dreamy adventures we thought up and without any help.
After much consideration, we decided to start trying in June for baby number two; it felt like the perfect time for us because we both just knew we wanted more kiddos. For a little background: it took us almost a year to get pregnant with Sidney, so we figured it might take just as long this time around. However, to our surprise after just two cycles, we found out we were pregnant! Extremely lucky, I know.
For reference, I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding Sidney since he was born. I really didn’t think I’d get my period back until he was older, but right around 4 months I got it back. My cycles were much longer and a little unpredictable, but still consistent. In fact, I started tracking my cycle using the Flo app, and based on my body, I knew when I was ovulating which I think helped us get pregnant so quickly.
Finding out the sex
Many of you asked if we’ll find out the sex of our second baby… and guess what? We already know! We found out right around 13 weeks thanks to an NIPT testing. And drumroll… it’s ANOTHER BOY! We couldn’t be more excited for Sidney to have a little brother to take care of, and since they’ll be 15 months apart, they’ll likely be BESTIES! Such a blessing.
A quick note
Of course, I realize this is not an easy journey for everyone. Pregnancy is complicated, unique to the individual, and comparison is a dangerous game to fall into — especially when it comes to fertility. While I try to be as open as possible, I want to put out there that it’s best to always, always best to consult your doctor, midwife or doula for answers and questions. What happens for my body isn’t necessarily what might happen for yours. It’s really important to do your own research and seek out information. I spent my entire first pregnancy educating myself on birth and labor, and while I am obviously no expert, I felt as though I learned so much about the experience and felt confident with the information available to me.
Please know that my heart is with you if you are experiencing infertility of any kind.
We should not compare struggles or paths to pregnancy, because we’re all so unique. However, it’s important to have conversations and talk to one another openly. I would love to suggest having more open, non-judgmental conversations about pregnancy and fertility because so much of it is tied to our mental health. Women should feel uplifted and empowered instead of knocked down and shamed.
How I feel about two under two
Many of you asked if I’m nervous to have two babies under the age of 2. The answer is… not really. Tony and I are a really great team, and thankfully Ambitious Kitchen runs like a machine, as long as I’m prepared and think ahead of time. I always knew we’d have babies pretty quickly (I’m 31) and so this feels like an appropriate time in our lives, especially with COVID. However, I can’t lie that it was really freaking hard the first trimester, and without as much sleep as I used to get, plus all the duties of being a parent and running two businesses, being pregnant again is… a much different experience than with the first.
Of course, we know it will be an adjustment when baby boy #2 arrives. Mentally, physically, emotionally. We live in a 1600 square foot 2-bedroom condo in Chicago, which we can’t stay in forever. The truth is, we’ve been looking to move for almost 6 months+ but haven’t found a place, or the places we’ve put offers in have fallen through. In the meantime, we’ll make our current place work, and quite honestly, I didn’t want to move while preggo anyway. STRESSFUL.
For now, our plan is that the baby will sleep in our room until he’s about 4-6 months old, then we’ll transfer him to a small office room space separate from Sidney. Hopefully by next summer, we’ll have found a new house though — fingers crossed! The amount of toys and baby things in our current place feels incredibly overwhelming, but what can ya do.
This time, I also plan to take off at least 4-6 months from work simply to adjust into motherhood #2 and taking care of two babies. I’ll work ahead as much as I can (I’m already through most of January with my recipes now!) but it is a lot. There are a lot of things I still want to do with Ambitious Kitchen, and some of that just has to be put on hold — and I’m okay with that!
As for help, both Tony and I acknowledge that we’ll have to likely get a nanny to help us with two kiddos. Right now, we switch off with Sidney but I do find myself working a lot during the night just to catch up on work. Anyway, all of this is TBD, but kinda where our heads are at currently.
Breastfeeding and pregnancy
As I mentioned, I’m still breastfeeding Sidney. I think there’s a misconception that you can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding, but that’s certainly not true. As long as you’re ovulating you can get pregnant, and this can happen with or without a period. This was one of the most important things they taught us in my centering pregnancy group class, because many people didn’t know they could get pregnant while breastfeeding. They wanted us to make sure we had a plan postpartum to ensure we didn’t get pregnant again if we weren’t intending to. Statistically, most women won’t get pregnant again until they get their period. If you are uncertain about this, I absolutely recommend speaking with your health provider.
Breastfeeding is continuing to go well too! I talked to my midwife and she said it was totally fine to breastfeed while pregnant, but that I’d need to get additional calcium in my diet or supplement. When I first got pregnant with baby #2, I felt like maybe my supply had dipped but to be honest, it wasn’t anything crazy.
I’m also not completely sure how much I feed Sidney because I stopped pumping a long time ago so he only drinks from the boob. I realized I didn’t really need a backup stash because we weren’t going anywhere (thanks Covid), so I always just made sure I was home during his normal feeding times. He usually eats 4-5x per day, and has 3 full meals and 1 snack. He’s a BIG eater and luckily, pretty much eats everything and his diet is very nutritious so I’m not overly concerned about how much breastmilk he’s getting. As long as he’s satisfied after a feed, growing well, happy and healthy!
My first trimester symptoms
This time around has been SO different compared to when I was pregnant with Sidney. In fact, it was incredibly worse, which is one of the reasons I couldn’t figure out if I was having a boy or girl, but goes to show you just never know and that each pregnancy is SO different.
I really didn’t have any symptoms until around week 6, when I started to feel nauseous, exhausted and out of it. I couldn’t eat anything, and taking care of Sidney felt like an impossible task. Thank goodness, Tony was there to help me because some days I’d just lay on the ground doing my absolute best to read Sid books without passing out.
By week 8, I had pretty much stopped all workouts and exercise because I just felt terrible. Starting around 10am every day I felt like I had to throw up, and that lasted until I went to bed. Eating seemed to make it worse, and I didn’t feel hungry, which meant I didn’t have energy. I had the worst acid reflux and gas buildup that meant excessive burping. For weeks, I couldn’t even go on a freakin’ walk! I also experienced shortness of breath very early on, which my midwife says was due to hormones changing. Basically I napped every day, laid around, neglected work and didn’t eat. IT WAS TERRIBLE.
By week 14, I felt like I could see the other side. It was so hard to let my body just rest during that time, but I needed it; I had to give myself permission to focus on taking care of my body and baby. Now I’m feeling fantastic again. Still tired some days, but mostly back to my old self!
Food cravings & dealing with the morning sickness
The really weird thing was that I really didn’t have any cravings. I hated nearly all food, I didn’t want anything at all which obviously makes it VERY difficult to get any work done. I also didn’t eat anything sweet for almost a MONTH. How crazy is that?! The thing I ate the most was probably a bagel with cream cheese and sandwiches, which is very similar to my first pregnancy.
A lot of you asked about how to deal with morning sickness: my best answer is to avoid acidic foods, eat every 2 hours or so, enjoy carbs, have lots of ginger and peppermint tea, smell peppermint essential oil and try to lay down as much as possible. Sometimes there is no cure, and the best thing you can do is just take it one day at a time. I know that sucks to hear, but you’ll likely feel better around 13ish weeks.
Exercise and sleep
With this baby, I’m focused much more on taking it easy. When I was pregnant with Sidney I was SO freaking busy, all the damn time. And I still am, but I don’t force myself to workout like I used to. Now I’m working out about 2x per week with Rae from Ladies who Lift; it’s awesome to still be able to lift heavy. The days I don’t lift, I go on walks. I’m also thinking about getting a Peloton, because I know this winter will be cold and going on long walks isn’t as likely. We’ll see!
If you’re looking for pregnancy safe exercises, check out these exercises I did with my prenatal certified trainer Rae:
Currently I’m taking Binto supplements, which were also my supplement of choice during my first pregnancy and postpartum. The founder of Binto is a registered nurse who started Binto to help women get safe and effective personalized vitamins at an affordable price. Not only that, but Binto gives back to women through non-profits.
The best part though? The Binto vitamins are tailored to your needs and body. You just fill out a survey online and then get your results based on your goals. They have regular women’s multi-vitamins, but also have focuses on prenatal, pregnancy, postpartum and menopause. The vitamin packages start at $35/month and are directly delivered to your doorstep! They’re also gluten free, vegan-friendly, preservative free and formulated with methylated folate — (6s)-5-Methylfolate. Methylated folate is important to use over regular folic acid since folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, and relies on a gene and an enzyme called MTHFR to convert folic acid to its active form. Many women have issues absorbing folic acid and don’t even know it, so it’s best to use methylated folate for proper absorption for both mama and baby.
If you are interested in trying BINTO, you can use the code ‘ambitiouskitchen’ for 20% your first order!
Soon I’ll also start to potentially include a calcium supplement as I’m still breastfeeding and will hope to continue until Sidney’s 1 year old. You need extra calcium while pregnant, and especially when breastfeeding!
How I’m preparing this time
If you read Sidney’s birth story, you know that labor was intense, long and that I had an unmedicated vaginal birth. I hope to do the same this time around, but have a much better sense of what to expect. Right now, the current plan is to have our baby boy at the hospital, but to labor at home as long as possible. Last time, my water broke and I had to be induced, so this time we’re going to try and avoid that scenario as best we can by encouraging natural labor.
I think the most important thing to realize is that it’s YOUR BODY, YOUR BIRTH, YOUR BABY. You have the power to make decisions that feel best for you, and it’s extremely important to educate yourself so you feel prepared when the time comes. Of course, birth plans never go the way you’d like them to, but having knowledge is power! That’s why I recommend taking birthing classes, breastfeeding classes, and most of all, hiring a doula.
Without my doula, I would have never been able to have the birth that I did, and I cannot explain how valuable her support was during the process, and how much I learned to make decisions that felt right for me. If you want to learn more about hiring a doula, you can check out a post written by my friend Gina here.
Lastly, encourage and involve your partner in the process. Tony did all the childbirth classes with me, and was there to talk with our doula and understand all possible outcomes. He felt incredibly prepared and I think it really helped me to have his full confidence and support!
COVID & pregnancy
Ugh, Covid. Just another thing to worry about when you are pregnant. I do my best to keep myself protected during pregnancy, by doing the obvious social distancing and wearing a mask whenever I’m in public. Tony and I are pretty cautious, so we always try to understand where someone has been before we spend time with them without a mask on, and of course don’t go to any large gatherings. Basically we have a super small circle that we see, and know and trust. The difficult thing about COVID is that you just never know how it can affect someone, so in my opinion it’s best to be overly cautious.
Books I’ve read
I always get questions about any books I’ve read to help prepare for labor, birth and becoming a mama. I put together a list here and highly recommend checking it out.
Products I’m loving
You can check out all the pregnancy products I love and recommend on my shop page.