This time almost two weeks ago we were getting ready to go in to the hospital and after only a two night stay we came home as a family of four. The whole first week home (and most of this week) we did nothing more than spend all of our time together. It was a perfect blur of daily visits from friends and family, lounging around playing with toys and staying up late watching movies in our pajamas. Our house still slightly resembles one that had a tornado tear through it, but every minute of not doing laundry has been completely worth it.
I can’t believe how “right” it feels being a family of four and how happy we all are simply being together. Jaxon has taken to being a big brother more than I could have ever imagined. He is so in love with baby “Lolo”. I worried a lot in the last weeks of my pregnancy about how I would make sure Jax didn’t experience any feelings of resentment toward the new baby. I wanted him to know that he is so loved and so important to us. That his baby sister would be his best friend and companion for life and not something replacing him. That a family can grow and our love will grow with it. But it turns out I never needed to worry. He already felt everything I wanted to show him and has made me so proud as I get to watch him be a big brother for the first time. He instinctively sits to the side of me when we cuddle so we can make room for Lu to cuddle with us too, and always asks where she is if she’s in another room. Even my worries about them using the same type of wubbanub ended up being unnecessary. My fear was that he would try to use both of them and not want to share something that he has gotten used to being his, but instead he screams out “Lolo’s!” every time he is near hers and tries to help put it in her mouth (even though she hasn’t ended up being as much of a pacifier user as he is). You can tell that he wants her to enjoy something that he enjoys. I just couldn’t be more thankful that he wants to be around her and be apart of what she does because I think we all know that it won’t always be that way.
Even though Its only been almost two weeks of us all together at times it feels like the days have flown by and there we are sitting on the couch at midnight wondering what we did all day in between the meals and the baths and the story times. At other times it feels like it has been so much longer than two weeks that we woke up before the sun came up, grabbed our bags, and I tried to process what the next few hours, days, and years would entail during the short drive to the hospital. I can still feel the mix of excitement and nerves that I felt on the ride. We had talked about a lot of different birth plans but decided on a scheduled cesarean after seeing that there was no progression and not wanting the same experience that we had with Jax, who was an emergency c-section.
There was some comfort in being able to schedule Luella’s birth. The most important being that we were able to have a place for Jax and plan out when he would come to visit us. Which was before we went back for surgery and then again right after we had the baby. We wanted him to be able to see me before going back and also after so that he could try to process what was happening. We wanted him to feel a part of the entire birth as much as we could. And while he was a little afraid the first time he came in to see us and didn’t want to come near me in the bed, he was completely fine the second time he came back and got to meet Lu. He even ended up falling asleep in the same hospital bed he wouldn’t touch the time before.
With this being kiddo number two, it was hard not to compare it to my first pregnancy and birth. I was terrified of labor at the being of my pregnancy with Jax and after reading and thinking, and obsessing I eventually got comfortable with the idea of child-birth. To be honest I think near the end you get so excited to meet the baby and so uncomfortable in your own skin that you just want to get them on the outside of you instead of on the inside and anything starts to sound like a good time. Jaxon however was not in the same boat as me. We went almost the full 42 weeks with no progression and then decided to induce. A whole lot of effort later he still wasn’t ready for labor and his heart rate would drop every time I had a contraction. After 13 hours of laying in the same position trying not to move him the doctors finally decided on a c-section. By the time that I got back to the OR I was so out of it that I wasn’t even able to hold Jax after he was born, and instead Justin held him out in front of me to see for the first time.
I hoped that this time around would be different, and it definitely ended up that way. I had a small idea of what was to come, but it was still new, and the only memory of delivery that I had was the one I experienced with Jax. One of the good things about a second pregnancy is being able to some what expect what was to come and have a sense of familiarity no matter how small, that was something I still didn’t feel I had.
The most positive part about this delivery was that it was planned and I was slowly walked through the things that were rushed before. We even ended up getting delayed which gave me even more time to process everything and get ready.
This time around I walked in to the operating room instead of being rolled in under pressure. I was well rested instead of exhausted from labor, and I only had the absolute necessary drugs that I needed for the procedure so I was completely aware the entire time.
That by far was the best difference. I was aware. I got to really see Luella when they showed me her for the first time and I got to really hear her when she cried. I say “really” because even though I heard Jaxon, I never got to process what that meant because of how “groggy” I was. When given routine questioning before the procedure and asked why I was there it took me minutes to actually remember. My entire mind fell blank. This awareness also meant that I felt every tug, every pressure, and every pain of them physically removing her from my body. The pulling and the tugging is something I won’t forget. It’s a weird feeling to know what is happening and that your body is being completely opened up to the world. Justin will tell you it was amazing to see how they brought our babies into this world and that he couldn’t take his eyes away, but I am forever grateful for that blue draping in front of my head. All I needed to see was my babies for the first time.
While Jax’s first impression on this world was peeing on the surgeons, Lu’s will go down as having one of the strongest sets of lungs the doctors had ever heard. She cried the whole 45 minutes it took for them to close me up and get us both ready for recovery, then she cried the whole way to recovery, and for about another 15 minutes in recovery. She didn’t stop until she got her first meal. Which I blame on our after midnight food ban. And to be honest, I don’t think she has cried 45 minutes total since that… Just like me, as long as we have a full belly, we are pretty happy campers.
Thankfully she hasn’t been much of a crier and is all around pretty laid back because recovering this time around has been a little more of a struggle for me. Justin was home for the first week with us and aside from it being a completely perfect week of us all together, I also don’t think I could have done anything without him. He made our meals, let me sleep in, and made sure all of us were comfortable. Even now he is still picking up slack for me as I ease the kids (and myself) into a new routine and get back on top of the housework.
Even though the house is a mess, sometimes I can’t remember my last shower, and I don’t sleep more than a few hours at a time I couldn’t be happier. I look back at the beginning of my pregnancy and remember being so nervous. People make comments about the second baby and “having two in diapers”, that “the second one is the hardest”, or “make sure to give everyone equal attention”. And regardless of whether what they say has any merit, its hard not to think (obsess) about all of those things and more. It’s hard not to wonder how smooth, or how rocky the transition of adding another baby to the mix will be. It’s hard not to wonder if it’ll be okay. Or worse, whether you will be the mother you want to be. I have no idea the answer to those, but talking from the other side I can say that it is never as bad as you imagine and for us life couldn’t be more perfect. Even if it is harder, rockier, or different, I couldn’t imagine the world without either of them. There is something about life right now that just feels complete.