If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I am currently approaching the third trimester of my third pregnancy, expecting a baby boy, due this Fall. We are already blessed with two beautiful girls, Big M (3.5) and Lil’ M (nearly 2), and while my husband adores his little girls, I knew he would love a boy. We talked about it last Fall, decided we were ready to have a third, and before we blinked, the test was positive. And since this isn’t our first time to this rodeo, we knew exactly what to expect… or so I thought.
What I Didn’t Expect from My Third Pregnancy
After delivering two beautiful girls, with Lil’ M getting bigger by the second, and neither my husband or me getting any younger, we began to talk about whether we wanted to try again. We were hopeful to add a little boy to our brood. Several of my friends had great success with the ‘Shettles method‘, outlined in Dr. Shettles’ book, How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby.
According to Dr. Shettles, it’s all about timing and body chemistry… but mostly timing. When I raised it with my OB, she looked at me doubtfully, and informed me that with your first, the odds are 50/50, and even with your second, still pretty much 50/50… but after you’ve had two of the same gender, chances are you will have a third of the same.
Undeterred, and ever the dutiful student, I went home, read the book cover to cover, and hubby and I agreed we would try for a third following these instructions. Well, mother nature intervened and before I had even begun any charting, I was already pregnant.
Having already carried and delivered two, I figured, I’ve got this. I know exactly what to expect. I know to steer clear of the nameless, faceless crazies on the What To Expect message boards, and to find a great Facebook group with a shared birth month instead. I know precisely what clothes I can still wear and for how long, and what my favorite maternity pieces are. I know exactly how big my boobs are going to get, and how much bigger still they will become after the baby is born and breastfeeding begins. I know I need a pregnancy pillow to get decent sleep. But, I didn’t know there would be so much I didn’t expect from my third pregnancy…
Big M’s Reaction
There are many good things that have been pleasant surprises with pregnancy #3. Lil’ M has been a baby lover for as long as I can remember, so it’s no surprise that she is over the moon at the prospect of being a ‘big sister’ and talking about all things baby. Big M, however, was not Lil’ M’s biggest fan when she first arrived. Her attitude towards her little sister, and baby dolls in general, would best be described as indifferent. She prefers dramatic play of other varieties, and until Lil’ M was really big enough to interact with her, she paid her little attention.
With this third pregnancy, however, she has become more than just interested. She is her baby brother’s protector, always reminding Lil’ M to be gentle with Mama’s belly. She loves to feel her brother kick in my belly, talks to him and even gives him a kiss or two on occasion. She loves going to the doctor to hear his heartbeat, and even assists my OB.
The maturation of 2 years is fascinating. She is the first to tell everyone we are having a new baby, what his name is and that he is a brother!
While this pregnancy (although I didn’t know I was at the time) started off with a rough stomach bug that worked its way through our whole house, I have been pleasantly surprised at how good I feel. Other than a little first trimester exhaustion, it has in some ways been my easiest pregnancy so far… of course, ask me again when I’m 8 months pregnant at the end of August if I still feel the same way.
Maybe it’s the 4 extra months we waited between Lil’ M and M3 vs. between Big M and Lil’ M. Maybe it’s because I started running last summer or because Lil’ M is a tireless ball of energy so I am in better shape this time. Whatever the cause – I feel great! I still sleep comfortably at night (when I sleep – a bit of insomnia is my only complaint). I haven’t had the back and round ligament pains I experienced with the first two. And fingers crossed, no kidney stones this time either.
The Reactions of Others
What I have been most disappointed by in my third pregnancy is the reaction of everyone else. By the third time, you’ve come to expect the obnoxious comments from total strangers, as well as their opinions on what you must be having by the way you carry, how your hair looks, your glow. What I least expected was the less than positive reaction from friends and family.
From the day you get engaged, it seems as though people want to know when you are going to have your first child. The congratulatory cheers can be heard from miles away when you first tell people the news. Before you even bring your first baby home from the hospital, people begin asking when you will have a sibling. And when you tell everyone you are expecting again, they shower you with how great siblings are, and oh, two girls – how wonderful, they will be best friends.
When you announce you are expecting a third, that is not the reaction you get. Reactions have ranged from, “Wow, you are really going to have your hands full,” to a repetitive and persistent “You need to look for some help – you are really going to need it,” to “Three kids under four? Your life is going to be really awful.” Few have offered a congratulations without one of the above reactions attached to it. Seriously? Even if that’s really what you think, what is it about pregnancy that makes people think it’s okay to express their every thought and opinion about your family decisions?
I will admit, hubby and I were both in a state of shock when the test was positive. It was a few months earlier than anticipated, but we were excited just the same. We are both from families of three children. And while the national average of children per family in the U.S. may now be below 2, does having three really make us that much of an outlier? My mom was one of 8, and my great grandmother was one of 14. And while I certainly don’t plan on going Duggar, what if we decided to have a fourth?
The Boy Bandwagon
My husband keeps telling me not to worry about what other people think. And to a large extent, I don’t. But it still makes me a little sad. When we subsequently announced M3 was a boy, suddenly, everyone jumped on the bandwagon. How wonderful, you are getting your little boy! A part of me can’t help but wonder what would they have said if he was a she?
The most surprising thing about this entire pregnancy was the fact we are having a boy. We thought for sure since we didn’t even get to implement the necessary methodology, we were definitely having a third girl. People keep asking me if I feel different. The truth is, I felt so different with Lil’ M from Big M, I swore she was a boy, and was wrong, so this time, I barely paid any attention.
My husband and I both about fell over when the ultrasound tech told us it was a boy. We are thrilled beyond words, but I will admit I think the shock is still wearing off. And while I am loving shopping for his nursery, I must admit – shopping for boy clothes is no fun… and more surprising, expensive!
40 Short Weeks (I Hope!)
The most surprising thing about the third pregnancy is how fast it is flying by and how little I notice I’m actually pregnant. Literally, for the first few months, I would wake up every morning, and suddenly remember, oh yeah, I’m pregnant again.
With your first pregnancy, you know down to the day exactly how far along you are and what fruit represents the size of your baby this week. With your second, you generally know what month you are in. People regularly ask me know how far along I am, and my go to response has become, “I’m due in early October.” Unless I have a doctor appointment today, or I intentionally look it up, I have absolutely no idea how far along I am at any point in time.
And I say I hope it’s 40 short weeks, because all of my pregnancies have exceeded 40 weeks to date… Big M was 24 hours away from induction, born at 41 weeks 6 days, and Lil’ M was born at 40 weeks 6 days. Maybe M3 will continue the trend and show up at 39 weeks, 6 days… not that I would know since I can’t even keep track this time!
The other surprising thing? I’m not worried about anything. With my first, I fixated on labor and delivery. I was terrified. With my second, I knew labor and delivery was a cake walk compared to the first 6 weeks at home with a newborn. Instead, I fixated on how Big M would react to the new baby, and whether I would be able to love another baby as much as I loved my first.
This time, I know I will adore this baby as much as my first, and fall even more in love with my older two as they take on their roles of as big sisters. I know I will soak up every sleep-deprived second of the newborn stage because they are only that tiny for a moment, and it’s over in the blink of an eye. I’m not worried about how I will handle a third child because I know I found a rhythm that works for our family with two, and will figure it out again… it just takes a little time. I know I can buy myself time by saying yes to all offers of help, and by stocking my freezer with food before the baby comes to take something off my plate for the first few months. And I know that my husband is awesome at keeping us all fed, even if it means picking up a lot of takeout in the early days, and at keeping the girls entertained when I literally can’t hold my eyes open for one more second.
And I shouldn’t say no worries… I’m most worried about moving into our new house before this baby shows up!
How many children do you have? Did you have different pregnancies every time? What surprised you the most each time?
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy the Baby M3’s Gender Reveal and the story of his birth – This Was Not Part of Birth Plan. You can find all my posts on Pregnancy here as well as on my What to Expect board on Pinterest.