Elise's comment touched my heart.
I could have written her comment almost a year ago. This is what I wrote when I was about seven weeks pregnant. If you don't want to click back, let me summarize for you. I was overwhelmed and didn't see any way out of the dark tunnel of early pregnancy.
First things first, Elise (and anyone else reading this), it will all be okay. I promise. There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the first trimester of pregnancy sucks HARD when you have a toddler. It will get better. . . until the end of the third trimester, which sucks equally hard when you have a toddler.
The good news is that (at least for me), having a newborn and a toddler seemed easy compared to pregnancy and a toddler. That's right, I said it, easy. After the initial recovery from childbirth, you will feel amazing. You will feel (and be) pounds lighter and that in and of itself will make things easier. When you are pregnancy, you are physically compromised. When you are no longer pregnant, you feel so much better and able to handle things.
Yes, you will be getting up several times a night to feed a newborn, but you'll be able to sleep in the intervals. At the end of both of my pregnancies, I slept like crap. The sleep I got between feedings was deep and restful. And sleep deprivation is not fun, but it's not the same the second time around. Even if your toddler has been sleeping well for awhile, you are still used to functioning on far less sleep, so you will feel more rested than you ever felt possible on very little sleep.
Your son will also be able to "help" you with things. He will be able to get a diaper, hand you the remote control, or even let the dogs out (or something similar if you don't have pets). He will be even older than my Will was, so I will imagine even more helpful.
So, my tips for surviving the pregnancy:
1) Let go of the guilt. You are a fantastic mom. Your child will not remember the daily details of their life at this point in time. Dishes aren't done? Eh, they don't care. House isn't vacuumed? A little too much t.v. in a day? Again, a toddler doesn't even notice. What your son will remember is the pervasive feeling of love that I just know you give him. I know, it's so hard to let go of the guilt. I spent much of my pregnancy feeling as if I was somehow letting Will down. But I can tell you, Will is fine. And he adores his baby sister.
2) Get help. I know you said that family doesn't live in town. That sucks. I am in the same situation. I do, however, have some very good friends that were willing to take Will for an hour here or there when I was really too sick to handle it. Can your husband take him places on the weekend - just for an hour or two - so you can nap or sit on the couch?
3) Get more help. Do you have a house cleaning service? Can you take your professional clothes to the dry cleaner? Can you buy some premade meals through a Dinner's Ready-type service or even frozen stuff from Costco? Anything you can take off your plate for now and again during the third trimester is golden. I felt guilty about spending the money, especially on house cleaning, but you want to know something? It was worth every. single. penny. And then some!
4) Television is not evil. We chose not to introduce t.v. to Will until his second birthday. That being said, we don't believe that t.v. is evil and I don't think the occasional bout of television-watching will be detrimental to your son. If you end up relying on the boob tube a little more than you feel comfortable with on a day here and there, then try to keep your overall average down (for example, when I was super sick last week, Will watched a lot of t.v. so I kept the t.v. off for the next few days to even ths score). So for you, a little t.v. on the weekend when you need the backup is just fine, but maybe no t.v. during the week?
5) Just remember that this too shall pass. I know, it seems like forever until the second trimester arrives and brings better health with it. But it will come and this will fade into your memories. I don't mean to belittle what you are going through right now, because I can remember how difficult this time was for me, too. I am just trying to give you a glimmer of hope.
How about anyone else out there? And coping strategies for Elise?
I'll be posting more on the schedule/logistics of two later on.