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Friday, February 1, 2013

bringing home baby #2!

*This is part 7 of a series of posts about what it's like to go from having one baby to two.

More to come!*

Oh, new mom of 2, you survived pregnancy, labor and now you're headed home! 
Now the FUN begins!
Once you get through that hospital stay and head home it's oh so much fun! And chaos! 

It started for us on the drive home. Oh man, that was ROUGH. Our newborn screamed the entire 35 minutes or so to our son's babysitter's house where we went to pick him up on our way home. Screamed. Bloody murder. I was turning around - with C- section pains and limitations, mind you - to shush her, sing to her, put her pacifier in, whatever I could do (I could not sit back there with her because our son's car seat was in the seat next to her and nothing in between... another change from 1 to 2 ...). As soon as we got to the sitter's my stressed husband took her out immediately. We showed her off and got our son and drove down the road, a family of 4 really for the first time. It was a very surreal incredible feeling. Our son's face was confusion and excitement, a precursor for the months to come.

However you do this process, getting home, make sure it works for you. And let it be what it is. Just accept its difficulty or chaos or sweetness, whatever it ends up being. Just roll with it.

Once home, a few things to remember:

*Enjoy. You know how fast it went by the last time around, this time will go by twice as fast because your attention span and focus and time are split in two directions. So enjoy it. Every moment. Take time to take pictures. Write in the baby book often or else you'll forget entirely. Be present as much as you possibly can - for both your babies.

*Rest while baby sleeps. SO important this second time around. I know you will think, how on earth can I do that? But it's important. Try to figure it out so you can have help with your older one so you rest. Our son went to daycare almost daily the first month and I was home sleeping with baby. Yes, of course I felt guilty at first, but honestly we all needed that. When he got home in the afternoon I handed over our baby to my husband and just played, played, played with my son. It was a win-win for everyone. I needed rest to do that though. You need more energy now that you are mom to two babies. Make YOU a priority.

*Speaking of sleep... You WILL sleep again, I swear! It's like we forget how horrendous those first few months are when we didn't sleep with our first. If we remembered we may not have had a second one right?! So it's really a good thing we forget.Just keep telling yourself this mantra though to get you through, "my first learned to sleep, this one will, too."

*Seek help. If you thought you could do it all with one, then halleluia to you. But with two, no way. You NEED help. And it's OK to admit that. Have someone take your older one so you can bond with the baby for a while, and your older one will benefit from having some attention. Accept someone folding laundry, washing the floors, picking up milk, etc. Two is BUSY. Take what you can get and move on with a thank you later. Both of my sisters came to help me the first week out of the hospital. One sister came and stayed with us for a week after my daughter was born. She was one-on-one help and play and fun with my older one. He thought he was the king around here. He didn't even know he wasn't getting my attention that first week. It was wonderful for all of us. Whenever my son was taking his nap I'd hand over the baby to my sister to rock for 30 minutes to let me sleep. I NEVER would have done that with #1, but having two kids makes you more practical I think and you realize what you need in order to be a good mom. Sleep is at the top of that list people, so ask for help in getting it!
     People expect you to ask for help. It's really OK. Within the first two weeks my husband had to return to work and I was home alone with my kids for a few hours before my husband got home. Well I could not lift my heavy toddler after having had surgery so I called my neighbor to come over and just lift him out of his crib after his nap. I felt so weird about it, but she smiled and said, "Honey, I have been here. Call any time!" It's good to ask for help.

(one of my amazing sisters!)

*Remember: your first will not hate you; you will overcome the guilt. You will feel guilty at first about not being able to pick up your older one, not being able to run in the yard or read stories at night because climbing the stairs hurts too much or because baby is screaming for milk. You will feel like you aren't doing all you should for your first. You will wonder if your first will ever like you again. It all will pass, I swear. Accept your first IS going to have a reaction to this new change in the family. That's OK.You have given them the best gift ever - a forever best friend, remind yourself of this often.

*Let them take turns sharing you. Your two will need you at different times for the most part. In the beginning baby needs you constantly, then your older one will and baby is fine to sit a while. In the very beginning few months when baby ate all the time of course my son was waiting. Now that my daughter is able to sit and not eat every 10 minutes and my son was potty training I could focus on him a little more. You feel in the beginning like it'll always be you choosing the baby over your older one. But that's not true. In fact, your second will learn to wait a lot more than your first did because you need to help the one who can move and talk and do things on his own before he gets into trouble or hurts himself. It's just natural and they will adjust. When you feel like you are split in two like that learn to incorporate your first in with the things you have to do for your second - your first can grab the diaper or wipes or throw out the dirty diaper when changing; he can read a book next to you while you feed the baby, etc.
     Now that my second is 9 months old and takes a morning nap when my son is awake, that's our special time. We have at least an hour where I don't do chores or shower or anything, I just focus on him and play games. We do puzzles and things that his little sister is too young to play with. We go outside sometimes if it's too cold for her that day. It does round out at some point, despite that you won't feel that way at first.
     I said a lot of "In a minute, I'm coming, Just a second, wait...." in the beginning. I hated it and felt guilty, but it's normal. It's a good thing to learn -patience.

*Try not to live by comparisons. Your second is NOT your first. My first slept through the night at 5 weeks... so you better believe when 5 weeks came and went I was like um, daughter, did you not get the message that we sleep around here after 5 weeks?! She was closer to 8 or 10 weeks or something like that when she slept through the night, still wonderful but not as awesome as 5 weeks. It's OK to look back at the first's baby book for things like when do I feed solids or how many naps approximately should she be taking now? But don't live by those comparisons. They are different babies, despite having the same parents.

*Accept your new normal. Things will not adjust back to how they were pre-second baby. Ever. It's just different now. After my first I said it took like 4-6 weeks to feel "normal" again. I felt like I could walk without hurting, eat whatever, we were sleeping slightly better, we knew what we were doing, trying to get on a routine, etc. It was easier. With the second child, I didn't feel like it got easier or slightly normal until 10 weeks / ish. It took longer to adjust this time around. You will get it under control though and into a routine at some point. Just be patient with yourself, take your time figuring this out. It's very new, despite that you did this once. It's normal to feel like you don't know what you're doing this time around, because it's the truth - you don't know what you are doing, it's brand new!

*Stay connected. Get out a lot. It's good for your first to be busy, active, doing fun things. And talk to other moms. I was lucky to have two other moms who had their second babies within a month of my second and who also had first boys the same age as mine. We got together weekly and vented about lack of sleep, figuring out breastfeeding, our our toddlers were driving us crazy some days, the happy moments, the annoying moments, etc. Find people around you who know what you are going through.

*You'll figure it out somehow. I remember being so confused, frustrated, not having a clue HOW to do the specifics like leaving the house or getting to a doctor's visit or packing the diaper bag for two kids. You just DO. You will leave the house all together and return in one piece and the first time you do it will feel amazing.

So really, remember, your to do list will never be complete, but you WILL sleep again and laugh a ton and realize it's ALL OK. Somehow you figure out a brand new routine, and you stick to it and it works OK for everyone. You improve, too - time management is much better. You get even more able to do 10 things at once, crazy right?! It's a good thing. And seeing the two together is AWESOME, makes it all worth it. You will learn that from day one.

A great article :
What nobody says about having a second child...

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