So, you’ve done it. You have managed to keep the party going in that lovely unbelievably stretchy womb. But this time you are also chasing, changing, feeding, and loving on your first little. I wanted to share some things with you that I wish I had known when I felt a little worried about bringing home baby no. 2:
1. Things may not go as you plan. Just like the first time you gave birth there are no guarantees. I had such an awesome plan for baby number 2: I would get a much-needed deluxe pedicure a day or two before my due date, my mom would care for my barely-2-year-old, first-born son and he would barely miss my absence because he would be so busy scarfing down her home-cooked food. My sister would arrive the night before my due date and we would have a lovely meal at the cheesecake factory, and I would have an effortless natural birth.
Reality- I ended up having an emergency C-section at 3a, two weeks before my due date and seven hours after my mother left town to go help my father, who was having a medical emergency in another city. I went through labor so quickly that I barely had time to even call my sister and she made it in to town the next day. My son ended up sleeping at the hospital with my sister in law, and snacking out of the vending machine. I never got my pedicure.
2. Even if things aren’t perfect, they are still perfect. No matter how the little monkey got here, he is here now and he is perfect. I was so stressed at that hospital, my wonderful doctor was not on call, so a perfect stranger walked in the room and told me I would be having a C-section in 45 minutes. He wasn’t mean, but he wasn’t the doctor I had grown to love over the previous 9 months. And the words that came out of his mouth were not compliant with my dreams for how my second son would enter this world. But the doctor did work his magic and my 2nd son and I both came out in good health and my 1st son, Isaiah, discovered he loves Cheetos.
3. Baby no.1 will need some time to adjust to baby no. 2. When Isaiah first met Baby Jay, he sort of acted like he didn’t exist, at first I thought I was imagining things but this “if I don’t see him, he isn’t real” phase lasted for 12 days. He also gave me the cold shoulder which REALLY broke my heart. But there was nothing I could do but give him time. He eventually came around to being his usual happy, funny self and him and his brother, now 3 and 18 months, are literally inseparable. Seriously, I have to pry them a part all day, every day.
4. Baby no.1 needs his own special time. This can be tough during those first weeks at home with a new baby. All the diapers, feedings, lack of sleep, and adjustment to a new baby can make it hard to do anything other than wish for sleep. But you absolutely must set time apart each day to read, do a puzzle, watch a show, or have a special snack with your first munchkin. They desperately need to know that they are still a central part of your life and you will see a vast improvement in their overall attitude the more undivided attention they get.
5. Finally, and probably the most important. ASK FOR HELP. Let people cook your meals, do your laundry, take baby no. 1 to the park, make sure your bills are paid, mow your lawn, and on and on. Tell your spouse to take off from work as long as his job will allow and your family can afford. You cannot go at this alone. This is the time, if there was ever one, to let people care for you and your family.
So, congratulations on your new adventure. Get sleep when you can, and when you can’t, just remember that you do have super powers. God gives mommies special powers to survive on the smallest amount of sleep and He gives us hearts that can grow exponentially for new littles. Our hearts can stretch more than that uterus. Your children are proof of His super natural love for you. Goodness, I look at my two little boys sleeping and I know, without a doubt, how much God loves me. So, don’t worry, OK, worry a little, but know it will all be fine or you wouldn’t see so many people with 3 kids!