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I have a tendency to fall off the face of the blogging earth when I have a baby. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, it’s just that when I have down time, I tend to use it in other ways. Like sleeping. Or eating cookie dough straight from the fridge.
But here we are, six plus weeks into life with two children, and I figure it’s about time I document some of it; if not for you, than for me, because oh Ryan, I’m sorry, but what they say is true about second kids. I haven’t even purchased a baby book to document your first spit up, or the first time you said “Ah-glurg”, or all those countless little things that no one really cares about. (I’m lying, Ryan! I totally cared the first time you said “Ah-glurg!” You are a genius!)
My last post where I felt like I was really getting my footing was followed by a week or so of realizing that clearly, I had not. Michael was working a lot and I was home alone and Ryan was growth-spurting and yeah, it wasn’t great. I emailed a friend and told her that sometimes I felt like I was really failing at this two kid thing. Sure, they were both alive and fed and generally clean, but I found myself yelling more, playing less and mostly going through the daily motions of survival. It wasn’t a great stretch, but I finally swallowed my pride and allowed people to help me. (I’m not sure why that was so difficult — perhaps a feeling of I should be able to do it all myself? Who knows…) Michael’s mom and grandmother would pop in and I can’t remember a time I felt more happy to see my in-laws. They played with Owen while I vacuumed, held Ryan while I showered and provided me with adult conversation that I so desperately needed. It wasn’t much, but it was a lot.
And then, just as quickly as the clouds rolled in, they parted, and we’ve been grooving again. You know, until the next storm. At least I will be able to suck it up and ask for some help next time!
Ryan is amazing. One day he took a four hour nap and I swear, he woke up bigger not fitting in any of his clothes. He has started to smile and coo at his play mat and for the last few nights has been starting the night with a 6.5 hour stretch, which I can only hope will continue to get longer. Owen is Super Brother, loving on his baby from the moment he wakes up. He has tested his boundaries a bit (asking if he could push his dump truck into Ryan. No, you may not.), and has had a few regressions when it comes to going to bed and using the potty. (He was kind of interested in it before, now he requests the changing table and a diaper. I get it.) Overall, though, he has transitioned into his big brother roll really well.
As for me, I’m getting there. I’m still not showered as often as I’d like to be and while 30 pounds has fallen off on it’s own, there’s about 12 to go that I know are going to stick around until I start moving. I’m uncomfortable in my flabby post-pregnancy skin right now, anxiously waiting to fit into my pants or wear a shirt that doesn’t blouse out from the waist. I have been pushing the double stroller all over the neighborhood, and while pushing 40 pounds of kids, the stroller and the infant seat up hill certainly works up a sweat, it’s time to bite the bullet and make a date with the 30 Day Shred.
As I’m writing this, Ryan is napping in the crib, Owen is playing at my feet and I’m drinking a chai in the quiet of my dining room. No one is screaming or spitting up or demanding graham crackers. So far, today is a win.
I know not every day will be, but I’m pretty confident in the end, we will have more wins than fails. (I hope.)
Yesterday was one of those days.
There was endless fussing from the baby, and demands paired with meltdowns from the toddler. There was two solid hours of suckage that felt like at least eight, the cliche “hand-off-the-baby-to-dad” move as soon as he walked in the door, and the questioning of whether or not it was acceptable to have a glass of wine at 4 p.m.
Yesterday was a rough one, but later on, our little family of four headed down to the beach before dinner, and as I watched Michael and Owen jumping in the waves and kissed Ryan’s silky head sticking out of the top of the Bjorn, I realized that despite it all, we’re finding our groove.
Ryan will be a month old tomorrow. There’s some saying about the days being long but the years being short, and I totally get that. Aside from a really rough second week where he was having a growth spurt, but I was convinced he was going to be colicky like Owen was (I was thisclose to calling up my friend who works on a psych unit and booking a long weekend), he’s been a fairly easy kid. I mean, relatively. He’s an infant, after all, so he cries and spits up and doesn’t sleep nearly as long at night as I would like, but compared to the first month with Owen, he’s been a cake walk. I’ll take the two 3-hour stretches at night (I bring him in bed with me after that because…yawn…) over the maybe hour and half at a time we got the first time around.
I know a big part of it is I’m more relaxed this time and thankfully am not experiencing the baby blues again, but it does fascinate me how different kids can be.
So, yes. This two kid thing. It takes a lot of multitasking and patience and some tears too.
(Morning multitasking: chai, nursing, emailing, and tiny feet.)
It’s going with the flow and trying not to take things too seriously. It’s showering when I can (that fear I had came true. Showering with two kids is…difficult) and making a point to lie down with Ryan and take a nap as soon as Owen goes down for his. It’s a little extra TV (I both love and loath you, Fresh Beat Band.) It’s doing the laundry, but maybe not folding it right away, running the dishwasher but being physically unable to unload it for 24 hours, and needing to set an alarm to remind myself to put dinner in the Crock Pot.
But our groove, we’re finding it. Little by little.
The day before my due date I was terribly crabby. No, scratch that. I was downright bitchy. Nothing could make me happy, I didn’t want to do anything and I was done, done, DONE with being pregnant. That morning Owen and I met some friends for coffee and when they asked if I was having any symptoms of labor, I regretfully said no. Nothing! After coffee, Owen and I went grocery shopping. I figured the baby had to come at SOME POINT during the week, so I should probably make sure I had some food in the house. After no less than three cashiers made comments about me still “not popping”, I decided we were done running errands.
Later that afternoon we went out on the boat. We had been out on it almost every day that week, and every time I told Michael to really hit the bumps hard. Bounce this baby out! The bouncing didn’t do anything, but we had a nice afternoon — our last as a family of three. I made spicy burritos for dinner as one last ditch effort for the day, and put Owen to bed. By 10 p.m. I was still grumpy and figured I might as well just go to bed. I read a magazine for a bit and at 10:45, right before I closed my eyes I said out loud, “Baby, you are coming out tomorrow. Understand? Good.”
Thirty seconds later my water broke.
With no contractions to speak of, I went to the living room, shared the news with Michael, called my family and told them to hit the road, and started getting things together.
Last belly picture — one hour before being 40 weeks pregnant — baby time!
When we were ready to leave for the hospital, I tiptoed into Owen’s room, snuggled the blankets around him and kissed him goodbye. He didn’t wake, but mumbled a little in his sleep. I was overcome with emotion then, and had to leave the room before my tears woke him. I came out wiping my eyes and Michael gave me a big hug and assured me that Owen was going to be just fine. (Spoiler: he is!)
My mother-in-law arrived soon after, and as I was now having contractions about 5 to 7 minutes apart, we headed out. We checked in around 12:30, in the same room I delivered Owen in. I told the nurse I was maybe interested in using the labor tub, and she was all for it. Whatever you want to do, she said. I figured I would play it by ear. At this point, the contractions were, well, contractions, but they were pretty manageable. They began to set me up for the IV, and this is where things went a little wonky. I HATED the IV last time. Worst part of having a baby. I told them as much as since it was hospital policy I have one, I asked if they could at least put it in a different spot than last time (it had been right below my thumb near the wrist). Their first attempt this time was in my forearm, but it wasn’t taking. As the woman continued to jab me — and talk about how it wasn’t working — I began to get lightheaded. REALLY lightheaded.
Before I knew it, I had an oxygen mask on my face and the nurse was saying something about my blood pressure being sixty over thirty, and I don’t know much about blood pressure, but I know that is not normal. Baby wasn’t in distress, though, so long story short, in a little bit I was fine and they put the IV in the back of my hand. Wish they had just done that the first time.
The clock ticked into the one o’clock hour and as the contractions got stronger, I reflected back on Owen’s birth which was 16 hours start to finish. I’d only been in labor for just over two hours at this point and hadn’t yet slept. This was going to be a long night, I thought. I think I’d like to get some sleep. Right then and there I changed my mind about the tub and asked for the epidural and not long afterwards, I was comfortably resting.
My mom and sister arrived and since the maternity floor was empty, the nurses set them up with some beds in an empty room so they could sleep. I didn’t get much sleep, though, because the nurses kept bothering me. Every so often they would come in and roll me over, move the fetal heart monitor or check something or another. As it turns out, my contractions started getting further apart instead of closer together, and when they reached 10 minutes apart, the OB came to check me. I had gone from 2 cm at check in to about 6 cm, and they discovered that I had a second small bag of water (I didn’t know that could happen) that was still intact and was acting like a little pillow for baby’s head, slowing dilation. I asked him if he could break that bag and he said yes. As soon as he did, I felt TONS of pressure and when he checked me again not even 15 minutes later, I was 10 cm.
I told the nurse I felt like I could push, so they asked me to do a “practice” push before they woke up my family. Michael stood by me, I gave a push and they all said to stop. Baby was coming!
My mom and sister came in, everyone gathered around and I started to push. Unlike with Owen’s birth where it took a while for me to feel the urge to push and I pushed for an hour, this time it was immediate. The nurse laughed that this would be quick, then told me NOT to push for a minute (I don’t know what the reason was, but ah! agony!) I panted trying to fight the urge until finally I was all, “Um, I’m pushing…I have to push. I’m going to push RIGHT NOW!” and I heard Michael say “SHE’S PUSHING!”
And just like that, Ryan Mason literally tumbled into the world. Six hours start to finish, nine minutes of pushing. (And no tear this time, thank god!)
Owen arrived a few hours later and cuteness and sweetness filled the room. He was so excited and proud to meet his baby. We stayed the full two days. I could have left earlier, but I liked the short time of relative quiet where I could bond with Ryan. And then we headed home, our family of four.
Life is good. It’s tiring and chaotic and sweet and wonderful. I am so lucky.
(Ryan says “woe is me”. Life on the outside, man. Crazy.)