Bringing Home Baby (#2) is a series of guest posts focusing on life after baby #2 comes home. If you want to contribute please contact me – I’m finding the stories fascinating plus it gives me a break while we adjust to life with our own baby #2 born August 18th.
After Desirée was born, I promised myself that I would never, ever do that again. Then my Neanderthal brain took over 2 and a bit years later and assured me that it would be okay if I did.* Within 48 hours of this primitive reasoning, baby number two was on its way. I decided not to think about the actual giving birth part until it was inevitable, at which point I decided I really shouldn’t have done this again. And, of course, there were points along the way where my doubts about a second little tyrant surfaced. These points included (but weren’t limited to):
- When my partner went into hospital and was diagnosed as having acute kidney failure, requiring dialysis and a transplant.
- Pretty much the entire time the Sydney summer sweltered at 45 degrees.
- When one of my friends, upon hearing the news, wrote an email that consisted of two sentences – “Again?” and “Sew it up!”
- While thinking of how many friends and family members we have for support in Sydney. Oh wait, make that not thinking of any friends or family members in Sydney. There aren’t any.
- The time Desirée pitched a fit in the supermarket and lay full length on the floor, screaming.
- During the endless, repetitive, tiring discussions about names for the kid. In the end, there weren’t any chosen when the baby was born and she remained nameless for a few days.
- Every time I thought about how much work it was going to be to take care of an infant while weaning Desirée off the non-stop attention.
*I’d like to take just a second here to tell that part of my brain to butt the hell out next time there is any big decision-making to be done.
Fast-forward to March 2010 and we meet Alba Valentine. Here is a photo of me a half an hour after she was born looking pretty happy with myself.
While most people would attribute the cause of this to the sweet little bundle I am holding, it will be our little secret that I am really overjoyed because I am never giving birth to anyone ever again (hear that, imbecilic reptile brain?) I was home within 24 hours of the birth and determined to take everything in stride. I didn’t forget about the fact hat there is no stride anymore. When you come home with baby, it is more like a slide into some strange, sleep-disturbed paranoia where you worry about things like how to take a shower and where did I put my keys this time and oh my god, is the baby breathing? With number two you get to add things to your internal muttering like, “where is Desirée? Why is breastfeeding so painful again?! What happened to Desirée? Please don’t wake the baby up, Desirée! Who are you, again? Oh right, second baby! Alba! Right! Not Desirée.” And so on.
Imagine my surprise when I realized that, with baby number two, I was mistaken in my assumptions that everything would go to hell. There was a stride! Yes, I was tired. Yes, I was a bit muddled up in the key-remembering department. But I knew how to do this. Twenty-five hours after giving birth to her, I had Alba in the sling and was picking Desirée up from daycare. Twenty-five hours after giving birth to Desirée I was in a stupor in a blood-stained nightgown, wondering if that tiny thing making noises and warming my chest was really mine? I underestimated the vast difference knowing would have on bringing home baby number two. Baby number two is a relative breeze. Because you already know. You know you won’t get any sleep. You know breastfeeding isn’t fun until your baby’s mouth grows a bit bigger. You know your world isn’t all yours anymore, because it hasn’t been since your first baby. You’re used to coming second and it’s easy to come third.
Taking care of two is trying, definitely, but they sort of balance each other out. One talks nonstop and the other doesn’t talk. One can’t sit still and the other one doesn’t even know how to roll over. One wants everything RIGHT NOW and the other wants everything RIGHT NOW, too, only you can reason a bit with her. They both want to be held all the time and have all of your attention, (the best trick in Desirée’s book being the all-consuming need to pooh as soon as I’m nursing Alba), and amazingly, you love them both, even though you were worried about sharing. Bringing home baby number two made me dream more often of the day when both babies have flown the coop (when I’ve had 20 minutes in which to dream at all), but it has also made me savour the differences between big and little. Or, (really), little and littler. And appreciate them. And if I need to lift someone onto the toilet to pooh while nursing someone else and live to blog about it – well, I can do that, too.
Bess Grant is the author of the blog Crash Into My Arms. She moved to Sydney, Australia from Vancouver, B.C. for her work with Lush Cosmetics. Her first daughter was born in Vancouver, her second was born in Sydney. She says that if she could do anything and didn’t have to worry about bringing home the proverbial bacon, she would act again – and someday she will! If you want to read her fascinating – and funny – story about picking a name for Alba click here. (And I know you all love baby name stories because you always comment on them!)