Two weeks ago I gave birth to a screaming, pink seven-pound-seven-ounce baby boy. I will spare you all of the details, but long story short, my water broke two weeks earlier than anticipated [because aren’t babies supposed to be punctual and just arrive a 9AM on their due dates?], just before our toddler’s – wait, I think he’s a preschooler now – bath time, and after a five-hour labor ending with the blunt realization that my epidural totally didn’t really work at all, I became a mom of two boys.
There are many things that I was not shocked by this time around. I was still in awe that I gave birth to a tiny human being, but it didn’t surprise me that nurses and doctors man-handled that little guy all over the delivery room. I no longer had any shred of decency like I did the first time. I willingly hugged my delivery nurse through the administration of my shitty epidural like she was my high school boyfriend whom I thought I’d never see again after sixth period. I willingly let my recovery nurse walk/carry me to the bathroom and help me pee for the first time in 24 hours. I was also not shocked at the number of people – pediatricians, nurses, volunteers, etc. – who just come waltzing into a woman’s hospital room in the two days after she gives birth.
Something that did shock me? I started crying when my older son walked into my room to meet his new baby brother. There is something crazy about how your older child suddenly grows 11 inches over night and triples in weight the minute you have a newborn. I am also proud to have a son who, although he is an energetic and stereotypical boy who loves trucks and dirt, also has a loving and sensitive side and doles out kisses and hugs like the best of them. It was also so neat to see my husband take over diapers and swaddling like an old pro, without having that slight look of terror in his eyes that he had in the hospital with our first baby.
Two weeks into maternity leave I’m appreciating the time off much more than I did the first time. The sometimes endless crying doesn’t seem to phase me as much as it did the first time around. Don’t get me wrong, it drives me crazy, but I used to literally think I would die in my house, alone with a wailing baby in my arms. Perhaps because I know these phases will end sooner than later – a mantra I can 100% credit to a colleague at school. There’s no way I could rationalize that on my own! Or maybe because I know that this time off is just as much for me as it is for him. I know the heartbreak I will probably feel when I go back to school in August, but I also know that I am fortunate to get a few months off without having to earn it or buy it like a lot of women. I wasn’t nearly as conscious of that fact the first time.
Overall, our adventure into having two children is an insane roller coaster. PK is acting like a three-year old – i.e. not listening to anything we’re saying, or very obviously listening but blatantly choosing not to comply. We are learning how to balance meals, bath times, store errands, gym time, yard work and a host of other things that a family with one baby doesn’t necessarily need to think about to the degree that a family with more than one child does. We are lucky that our plan going into this was, “there is no plan.” In fact, I believe my husband even said at one point, “We’re just going to hate each other for a few years and then it will get better.”
But he’s wrong. We don’t hate each other. In fact, I forgot what a really good parenting team we are. I think that surprised me this time around again too. I forgot that he willingly just does “baby things” that I’ve seen other dads brush off as mommy jobs. It is comforting to have a partner who does not need justification for why he needs to do things that I am just as capable of doing in that moment. He also does not ever remind me that I am not working right now. In fact, I am always the one who feels bad and never asks him to get up in the middle of the night to rock or readjust a pacifier. He reminds me often that it’s not just my job.
I’m glad that he remembers that being the only care giver is not the deal I signed up for. It’s good to be reminded of that fact by the guy who’s in this with me for the long haul.
[Yuck. So gross and sappy, right? OMG who wrote that??]
So overall, having two kids in insane, but is our new life. I think we’ll keep the new little guy even after his 30-day money back guarantee expires. Kidding! Relax. We love him and we wouldn’t have it any other way.