First, Second, Third: Preparing During Each Pregnancy

As my family has tuned in to the recent televised worldwide sporting events, we’ve had lots of talks about first, second, and third place. I’m currently pregnant with my third baby — my third son, in fact — and our conversations have had me thinking about the differences between my first, second, and third pregnancies. It’s not so much that I think my kids rate in any sort of winning podium-style hierarchy, but my energy and efforts for each have been noticeably … different. 

1st Baby: I’m 29 weeks and 3 days, and my baby is the size of a butternut squash!
2nd Baby: I’m either 28 or 29 weeks … somewhere around there. I could probably look up the fruit or veggie size of this kid … if I wanted to.
3rd Baby: I have no idea how pregnant I am. Pretty sure I’m still in the second trimester. Or is it the third by now? All I know is my due date.

1st Baby: Time to design the dream nursery! Brand new crib! Brand new dresser with space for a diaper changing pad! Brand new diaper pail! Brand new ceiling fan! Brand new paint color! Brand new artwork!
2nd Baby: Sure, the crib has teeth marks on it from the first kid, but it’s still a functional sleeping space! Maybe some new wall decals will spruce the nursery up a bit.
3rd Baby: Here’s a pack and play and a $40 Sterilite dresser.

1st Baby: Let me rattle off all the stats of the birth for you– time in labor, time spent pushing, birth weight, length, exact time, head circumference, names of the nurses in the delivery room…
2nd Baby: He was definitely seven pounds, can’t quite remember how many ounces, and, uh… was born in the late afternoon… around four or five PM…
3rd Baby: As long as I know the date of birth, that’s probably sufficient.

1st Baby: Let’s make a list of our top ten favorite names and narrow it down… let’s try every possible combination of first and middle name… and when we finally see the baby, we’ll know in our hearts which name to pick, the one and only name meant for him.
2nd Baby: Do we still have that list from our first baby? What was the runner up name? Do we still like that one? Perfect.
3rd Baby: … Are there even any names on the planet left that we like? Does he HAVE to have a middle name??

But sometimes, things work out in favor for the third baby…

1st Baby: ALL THE NEW CLOTHES! ALL THE TINY LITTLE PRECIOUS PERFECT BABY CLOTHES! Hang them up on itty bitty baby hangers in the closet and cry each time the baby outgrows a size!
2nd Baby: Hand-me-downs for years, with a couple of new seasonal items. Aw, I remember when my oldest wore this!
3rd Baby: So many of these outfits have holes in them or are stained beyond recognition. Plus, I gotta get excited about something. NEW CLOTHES! ALL THE TINY LITTLE PRECIOUS PERFECT BABY CLOTHES!

1st Baby: Time to upgrade from our ancient sedan to a new, Mom-cool mini-SUV! And I’ll have the newborn carrier seat installed professionally and safely in the middle.
2nd Baby: A carseat on each side of the car and one hundred snacks and toys littering every spare inch.
3rd Baby: Kid, you’re getting the upgrade of all upgrades. We’re getting you a Swagger Wagon. It’s mini-van time. And for a little while at least … it’s going to be CLEAN.

1st Baby: I have NO idea what I’m doing. At all. Please, please, please let me be doing things right.
2nd Baby: Okay, I know what I’m doing now. More or less.
3rd Baby: Oh, I’ve got this!

How have the ways you’ve prepared for pregnancies differed?

Erica was born and raised in Metairie and now lives in Kenner with her husband Michael, and her three sons: Benjamin (4 years; train enthusiast), Joshua (2 years; budding foodie), and the caboose, Elijah. After graduating from UL Lafayette with a degree in advertising and landing her dream job, she left her chosen field and now works part time as an administrative assistant for a Catholic retreat movement. She spends the rest of her time at home with her boys, finding lost trucks and actively ignoring various messes. In 2019, she self-published her first book, The Sister. In the rare moments she's not working, reading and writing, or chasing her kids, she's probably sprawled on the sofa in casual denial pretending her house is cleaner than it is.

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