ten thoughts on a wednesday |24| {second pregnancy edition!}

happy thanksgiving eve! while i have embraced pre-thanksgiving christmas festivity here in london, i am still making good efforts to preserve the hearty celebration of thanksgiving in our little family. sorry, ian, no christmas music can be played until you’ve written down five things you are thankful for on paper leaves and added them to the thankful tree :) six of my eight siblings are together in arizona enjoying turkey day together, which makes me happy and makes me sad. i wish, wish, wish we were there … but i’m extra grateful this year for facetime!

today i wanted to share some thoughts and info about our pregnancy! thanks for all the kind congratulations here and on instagram. this thanksgiving, we are tremendously thankful for the tiny bebe in my belly - what a miracle and what a blessing.

baby is due to arrive sometime around 21 april (i am just over eighteen weeks along). we are particularly excited about this due date because my brother eli and his wife are due to have a baby just a few days prior - i.e. we could totally have a baby on the same day! eli and julie told us they were pregnant when they were here visiting us in london in august, and we found out we were pregnant (and then told them!) just a couple of days after they shared that happy news! we schemed up a fun way to announce both of our pregnancies to our parents and siblings (eli put together a video of drone footage that he got on our trip together to the faroe islands and slipped in some clips of us in london and his family in new york city holding ultrasound pictures :) ). i’m also super pumped that a couple of my friends here in london are having babies around the same time as us.

this pregnancy has been very different than my pregnancy with moses. i had a tough first trimester, which i didn’t expect after my first few months with moses were mostly a breeze. i still have it soooo much easier than so many women, but i remember telling ian at about eight weeks in, “i really, really just want to just sleep for the next month or so…” i luckily wasn’t vomiting, but i had awful tension headaches (it felt like someone was constantly squeezing my head as hard as they could!) and pretty intense food aversions (everything sounded pretty revolting to eat, even though i was so hungry especially because i have continued to breastfeed moses). luckily all of this, along with the extreme fatigue, faded around thirteen weeks and i am feeling pretty great now :) in my first pregnancy, i completely lost my sweet tooth, but in this pregnancy my sweet tooth has intensified! and this time around is also very different just because it’s not my first time! it’s fun to experience this all again … and i feel so so lucky to experience this all again.

we are planning and preparing for a home birth, which we are both super psyched about. we decided to hire private midwives and we have already grown to love both of the wonderful ladies that will be caring for us throughout pregnancy, childbirth and the few weeks after baby comes. sarah and natalie are part of an awesome team of super-experienced midwives that work throughout the south of england. all of our prenatal appointments/check-ups happen with one of them, here in our home - except for scans and blood work, which we go to the nearby hospital for. we are so glad to have a little birthing team of people that will all be on the same page around our hopes and preferences in welcoming our new baby into the world! of course we are prepared that anything could happen and that a hospital transfer may be necessary, but we are looking forward to a happy home birth. i am a fierce believer that every woman should (as far as possible!) give birth in the circumstances that make her feel the most safe - and having the baby in our home is what makes me feel the most safe.

we are so excited to see moses as a big brother!! he’s mo the bro! i’m positive he has basically no idea what is going on, but we have been talking to him a lot about his brother/sister … and every time we ask him “where’s the baby?” he points at my belly (well, for a few weeks he was pointing at his own belly, but he’s got it now :) ). he likes to wave at and kiss my belly, and repeat the word “baby” when we mention that in our prayers (which we do every prayer!). moses and the this little babe will be just over twenty-one months apart.

speaking of two little ones not quite two years apart, i’m admittedly pretty nervous about it! basically everywhere i go and everything i do these days, i think about how i will go there/do that with two tiny humans with me to take care of! it will just be an entirely new life for me, i think - just like it was when i had my first baby, but a little more intense in a lot of ways! of course both ian and i are so thrilled and grateful to be having another baby, but it’s also a little overwhelming! i’m sure we will find our way and the challenges will only make the joys more rich :)

we find out if we are having a boy or a girl in just a couple of weeks, and we are so excited! we are both amazed (and kind of confused, haha!) by people who choose to not find out the gender of their baby. we want as much information as we can get! ian is pretty convinced it is a girl, and i just think it’s such a win-win either way - two boys in a row and close together in age would be so fun, and it would also be great to have one of each (plus, both ian and i are pretty attached to a girl’s name that we can’t wait to use…). we will see!

i am generally a pretty emotional person (i bet you’d never guess! ;) ), but i have to say it has been nice over the past few months to blame some irrationality/mood swings/lack of control over emotions on pregnancy hormones. dang, that stuff is real! let’s just say i’ve been crying a lot, for lots of different reasons. but many of those tears have been happy tears! i also felt quite overworried at the beginning of pregnancy and was pretty much convinced that we were either having twins or i was experiencing an ectopic pregnancy (since i was experiencing a lot of one-sided cramping). man, it sure feels good to have an ultrasound technician tell you that everything looks good (and there’s only one baby in there!).

i started feeling the baby move a few weeks earlier than i did with moses, and i love it so so much. there’s been lots of discernible dancing around in there since about sixteen weeks. there is just nothing like that feeling! i am, again, totally in awe of my body and how it is creating another human. it’s such an incredible miracle that i am so passionate about.

having discovered my insatiable appetite for learning when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth when i was last pregnant, i've continued my study in this pregnancy. i recently started reading the positive birth book by milli hill and i am really loving it. it was recommended by one of our midwives and now that i've dug into it i highly recommend it to anyone. lots of great information about all types of births.

(to bring this full circle back to thanksgiving, i guess!) we are just so so grateful to be pregnant. we are extremely lucky that it didn’t take long to conceive and that both baby and i are very healthy. i am really fortunate to have a tremendously supportive husband (and extended family and friends), to not have to worry too much about the extra financial cost of growing our family, and to be able to chose the circumstances around the birth of my baby. i recognize that i am very, very privileged, and i am so, so, so thankful.

happy wednesday! life is beautiful!
and happy thanksgiving!

{artwork by my friend and absolute favourite artist, caitlin connolly}


  1. So happy for you Charity! I love how you're cherishing and embracing this magical time. As you well know growing,birthing, feeding, and raising babies/young children is awe inspiring; awesome joy and awesome challenges. I'd encourage you to think of ways you and Ian can make it as easy and peaceful as possible. i find letting go of a vision of how things "should be" and embracing what IS helps tremendously with the overwhelmed feeling you allude to here.

    You are enough just as you are. You have within you everything you need to take wonderful care of your babies. Anything else (birth planning, nursery organizing, decorating new home, holiday entertaining etc etc etc) is extra and can be dropped if it stresses you out.

  2. My boys are 21 months apart. We got around by having my older one hold onto the side of the stroller. He always stayed with me. With my 2nd, that never would have worked--he was a run-away-without-looking-back type of little one. In that case a double stroller would work perfectly! Or wearing one and pushing the other.

    When I had my 2nd I felt really (irrationally) guilty about what I was doing to my first because I thought he was too little to understand what was happening. I remember really clearly the day when my younger was in the jumper and my older one was making him laugh (the younger one was about 5 months old). My oldest told me to go back to the kitchen...so I did and they kept on laughing and laughing. I realized what a gift it was that I had 2 little ones so close in age--they are best friends, truly.

    Having two for me was easier than just having one because they play with each other so much. Also, I wish I would have let go of everything in the beginning until I felt like myself. When people brought me meals I wanted to clean up everything so people didn't think I was messy. Now I realize how stupid and a waste of time that was--I had a hard time enjoying the newborn stage with my younger child. You'll get in your groove in no time. Congratulations again!

  3. I think I know what you have given to Ian for his birthday present in the park... :-)
    If I'm right than this was the only time, I thought that there might be another baby on the way.

    1. good guess! i actually did give ian a positive pregnancy test in a wrapped birthday package - but a few days after his birthday (when it was time to take a test) ... not in the park :)

    2. Then I'm not as clever as I'd like to think! :-D

    3. Englischtipps:
      I think I know what you *gave* to Ian...
      If I’m right *that* this...

    4. Hey Anonymous - do you want to rub it in that I am not as clever?

      Haha! Thanks for the advice!

    5. Koennte vielleicht hilfreich sein, um cleverer zu werden:

  4. That stupid book. Do not read it. Imagine if someone needed their gallbladder removed and decided to do it at home and read books about how they wanted a positive experience and told all the nurses and doctors what they wanted. You would think they were crazy. So why is child
    Birth different?! It is such an insult to the men and women who study and work hard to be experts in their profession to then have people like you come along with their books who think they know more and know better about their profession then they do.

    1. hi :) i knew i would get a few comments like this one.

      childbirth is different than having a gallbladder removed for many reasons, a couple of which are:
      1. gallbladders are not designed to exit the body.
      2. the removal of a gallbladder is not a huge life event that results in the beginning of a human life.

      i certainly do not claim to know more than medical professionals when it comes to medical processes!

      have you read the book i mentioned? it's actually not pro-home birth. it is encouraging to all pregnant women to have positive birth experiences regardless of scenario (including all kind of medical interventions and surgery).

      ps. if i had to have my gallbladder removed, i would certainly educate myself a bit and then advocate for myself to help make the experience as positive as possible...

    2. The book advocates for women to be in control of their labour which usually means women telling midwives no when they suggest something that will help their baby because they either don't believe in it or don't want it. Midwives know a lot more then you'll ever know about birthing babies and all the fads "delayed cord clamping, eating the placenta" (even though the cord stops being of any value as soon as it exits the body but one blogger decided it does and Made it the new thing to do).

      I also just don't understand the concept/thinking behind home births. Why would you put your baby into that situation? You won't even wait to find out the gender but you'll birth the baby in danger. It's all good to have a home birth if everything goes right and you are so naive to think things don't go wrong. What if your baby dies? And you have to deal with the guilt that you could have prevented it if you were closer to a hospital and medical care earlier. And don't be so stupid to think it won't happen, just google home birth deaths there tonnes. But you know, it's all okay if your baby dies, as long as you have your positive birth expedience right?

    3. i haven't finished the book, but it sounds like you have ... i'll make sure to watch out for what you are suggesting it advocates because i would definitely be against actively going against midwives' concerned suggestions. midwives absolutely know more than i do about birthing babies and that's why i'm so grateful for them!

      i suggest you do a bit more research on home births if you are genuinely wanting to understand more about why many women choose them. of course i know that things could go wrong and of course i don't think it's okay if my baby dies because i had a positive birth experience (pretty sure that's absolutely impossible if your baby dies...). the truth is, we take big risks every day in life - it is absolutely more risky to drive somewhere in a car than it is to have a baby at home rather than in a hospital. every woman deserves the opportunity to birth their baby in the place they feel most safe. i completely understand why many, many women feel more safe in a hospital than in their home, but i feel more safe in my home than in a hospital. i can see how that would be hard for you or others to understand, but it's what i have concluded after a lot of prayerful study and thought (and considering we live literally around the corner from a hospital, by the way!).

    4. Hi! Just wanted to quickly chime in. As a disclaimer: I'm Dutch, and in the Netherlands home births are still widely accepted (although less so than a couple of years ago). I think I'm in the quite unique position of currently being pregnant as well as being a physician (with a special interest in pediatrics). I know what can go wrong, I also know from both sides what the expectations of labor can be and why. And I'm planning on a home birth.
      The main difference between having your gallbladder removed versus giving birth, is that a gallbladder removal is always due to something pathophysiological, while birth is a physiological process. But, birth has been medicalised more and more in recent years/decades. And this is especially the case if you give birth in a hospital; if the resources are available, you're more likely to apply them, such as a C-section, an episiotomy, having an epidural, etc. The most common way of giving birth (lying on your back) is actually one of the least conducive ones for giving birth, but women lie that way because it's more convenient for your ob/gyn!
      Being at home for my birth will hopefully have me in the most relaxed state as possible, doesn't expose my baby to hospital bacteria, means I can just start relaxing and enjoying my baby in my own bed immediately, etc. If need be, I can be transferred to a hospital (I can be there in +/- 10 minutes), and I trust my midwifes to be capable to make this decision in a timely fashion. It also allows me to give birth on my knees (although I still have to see if I like that idea at the moment supreme), I'm less likely to need an epi, and I hope it'll make my birth experience more positive (all the while guaranteeing the safety of my daughter, of course!). Additionally, if I happen to not feel comfortable at home, I always have the chance to transfer to a hospital.
      We all assume that "the medical professionals" know what's best, but throughout my pregnancy I've discovered that a lot of interventions that are applied are either used too early or used solely for the convenience of the medical staff. (I've actually discovered some things I used to do that were absolutely not in the best interest of baby and mother, and I've decided to change my way of working because of it!)
      And, like Charity said, it's wise to research each and every medical procedure; if my gallbladder were to be removed, I'd also research which medical center has this as their expertise, and I'd look into the different surgical methods to see which is most conducive to recovery and least likely to have complications.

      Birth is a natural process, and should be viewed as a normal part of life (even through all of its extraordinariness!), rather than something that requires a hospital admission!

    5. Not read this book - but I can't understand why it would be wrong for a woman to "be in control" of her labour?

      And I had no idea that delayed/deferred cord clamping is a fad - seeing as though for term births it's recommended by WHO and specifically in the UK by NICE, RCOG and RCM.

      Charity - go for it. My mum was a district midwife in London and Manchester in the 60's - delivered many many babies at home. I chose hospital for my two - but of course home is a safe option with a good midwife and the reassurance of a local hospital if needed.

    6. Jonneke, you have really good English! I would not have known you aren't a native speaker if you didn't say anything!

    7. Is there a law saying you can not be on your knees in a hospital? Didn’t your SIL do that for her one birth with a breech baby also facing up?

      I do not understand anything other than getting the baby out with the least tearing of the mother and quickest way for the baby to come out alive. This argument is like the working/staying at home one. Each could be detrimental to some and the absolute worst miskate, but most people are going to be fine. People are going to decide if something they read or whatever happened to their neighbor’s sister’s cousin. And then once it is done some will find the experience underwhelming Since Charity seems fine about calling 911 the child will be fine. I can not believe this will be an important life event years down the line. Mom’s remember the baby’s face the first time they saw it, not the process of the baby coming out on the day they marry, arrive at college, drive a car, day to day. Unless something goes wrong. But that could happen in either place. Since she is 30 she should have them close together, closer if she wants more than 2 or 3. Irish twins are usually within 12 months. I just hope if she does not get the dream birth she wants she will be upset for a moment about it.

    8. Yes, Jonneke’s English is excellent, but not exceptional. The Netherlands is essentially bilingual and *everyone* grows up learning English in school.

    9. thanks so much jonneke for sharing your unique perspective. you've shared a lot of the reasons i am choosing a home birth and beliefs i have about childbirth, but much more authoritatively than i can given your profession ;)

      to original anonymous - given that both a home birth and the book i mentioned were highly recommended *by my midwives*, do you think i should go against what they suggested? i do find it a bit ironic that you are advocating that we should do everything medical professionals tell us to do, but also that i should not take these specific recommendations from trained and experienced midwives...

    10. No idea whether anyone will read this comment, but quick update: last week, November 30, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl AT HOME, and it was such a good (albeit - shocker! - painful) experience. I was able to get into my bed right after (I used a birthing stool in the end), and just snuggle with my daughter and husband without the knowledge I'd have to get into a car in a couple of hours. If you're comfortable with home births, and if the logistics are in place, I'd really recommend it!!

    11. Jonneke,
      Congratulations! I'm glad you had a comfortable, healthy birth at home. Every new baby is a miracle.

  5. Twin cousins! Best thing ever!

    21 months is close, but it's not unusual within your extended family, right? Maybe I'm wrong, but I always assumed that knowing how to gracefully manage many children and children close together is something you learn by watching other people do it. I really wish I'd seen more big families handing their lives well when I was younger, I would have had more. You'll be fine!


    1. totally. i'm lucky to have so many examples in my family of navigating this transition!

  6. Congrats!!! Siblings are truly the best. My oldest two are a boy and a girl, and they have so much fun together! You will do great juggling two kids. The nice thing is that Moses is so young- you don't have to worry about driving him to school or activities. Your schedule is so flexible that baby can take his nap times and you can nurse whenever and not have to worry about getting places on time. That was the hardest part for me when I had my third baby- my oldest had places to go and it was stressful toting the baby around.

  7. Charity, I think you're having a girl! With my son (now three) I totally lost my sweet tooth, but with my daughter (now 14 months) I couldn't get enough pastries. So happy to be along for the ride!

  8. Home births rock. There are great and awful hospital births, and the same goes with home births. A knowledgeable mother/father and midwives can make really concrete decisions about the birth using the same diagnostics that the hospital uses. If you decide on a hospital birth later, or a transfer, then that's what is right for you and the baby. Some hospitals will even let the midwife in the delivery room as an aid. For the nay-sayers, the statistics for an average healthy pregnancy has a better outcome for a baby at home, than in the hospital. Home births can be self selecting for healthy parents, so, especially in Europe, it's a wonderful and safe option. In the US, we are now having some of the worst pregnancy outcomes of any developed nation, especially for maternal mortality (we are the highest). So the data just does not support home births, with knowledgeable midwives, as being a dangerous practice.

    1. "Some hospitals will even let the midwife in the delivery room as an aid" :D Of course in the UK the vast majority of babies are routinely delivered by midwives - a doctor in the delivery room is the exception here.

    2. "Some hospitals will even let the midwife in the delivery room as an aid" in Italy , France, Spain, Uk, China,...many places in the world...norm is to have only the midwife in a hospital room with a bed. Not an operation room, not a doctor in sight unless really needed for urgencies...Italy has one of the lower maternity death rate...the US has the HIghest ion the developing countries.

    3. thanks all for sharing insight and thoughts.

  9. Bless you, Char, for your kind response to some unkindly worded and anonymous comments.

    I have had three births- one in the hospital with an epidural, one at home, and one in a birth center. All three were beautiful and wonderful and hard, each in their own way. You are right that every woman deserves the right to a safe birth and to choose for herself what that is. Control over women's bodies continues to be a hot button issue, including with birth choices. Good for you for educating and advocating for yourself and your family. And you are also right in your humble gratitude for the many choices that you and I enjoy. Many women aren't that lucky. Many congratulations to you!

    1. thanks, barb! cool that you had a home birth. we should chat about it sometime!

  10. Wishing you, Ian, Moses, and the new babe all the best!

  11. Loved loved LOVED both my homebirths. Im so excited for you. I literally can't imagine anything other then birthing in my home (in the birthing pool). Best most sacred experience ever. Moving next time will be even harder. I literally feel like our last apartment is hallowed ground. Im pretty sure i have posted this before. But you are welcomed it read my firsts birth story. I haven't gotten my stuff together for my second!
    Sending prayers for healthy pregnancy and birth! ♡♡♡

  12. Hi Charity! I recently emailed you about a trip to Italy and the Dolomites- and realized I never properly thanked you for your thoughts!
    Anyway, congratulations on your pregnancy! Such an amazing time in a family’s life.
    I also had one child at home; our third. It was a wonderful and hard experience. Definitely pros and cons. But I think you’re correct on saying a woman gets to make these choices! You are a smart woman with a smart husband. You are making a chop that feels right to you at this time. Good for you!

  13. I've mentioned this in the comments before, but now I have another to add. I have now had 4 home births (4 boys!). Number 3 was breech on top of it. They were wonderful! I love labor and giving birth. What a gift to be able to do it at home! Congratulations on number 2!


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