Bringing Home Baby #2- What they don't tell you and what I've learned (so far...)

motherhood, mom of 2, daughters, sisters
On August 2nd I gave birth to our second little girl, Ruby Jean. 

baby #2, daughter

I had a pretty normal pregnancy and though both my husband and I agreed that we were ready for our second, and happy that there would be 3 years separating our girls- if anyone asked me how I was doing as it neared my due date my answer was always that physically, I was doing great. The only aside was one major difference that became apparent immediately: being pregnant when you already have a child is an entirely different and not as enjoyable experience. No one really tells you this! Everyone just assumes that since it's your second go around everything will be easier. No false alarm emergency visits to the OB (none of the "<gasp> I think I'm leaking amniotic fluid!" "Nope- you just peed a little," moments,) no need to purchase a crib, ask a million questions about baby paraphernalia or spend hours researching the safest car seat and how to correctly install it. You know what else there's none of? Rest. When Violet was born I had a killer tan. I spent the entire summer floating like a whale on a noodle raft in the pool.
 See?!? Violet was born at 12:22am and this is the very next day! I still couldn't even feel my legs and had just labored for almost 24 hours then had a c-section, but somehow I look rested. You want to see a picture of me this time around? You can't! I don't have any pictures of myself from the hospital this time and anyone who does is under strict orders not to share them. <Sigh> I look so young and clueless there...I think I've aged a decade in that last 3 years...
So, when it comes to comparing the first pregnancy to the second lets just chalk it up to "different." The positive side? My feet were only Shrek-like the last month as opposed to my first pregnancy when they swelled up at 4 months and I kissed my ankles goodbye until well after the delivery. Still, I didn't hate being pregnant the second time around, but I surely didn't adore it as much as I did the first time so don't let that pic fool ya   --->

This is one of the only "Preggy Meggy" pics I took this time. The angle definitely diminishes the hugeness that was me (or at least how I felt) and the smile is genuine as I was about 7 months in. That smile was a bit less frequent two months later...

Anyhow, as soon as we brought Ruby home reality set in and a few things became apparent that no one really elaborated on when we were in the midst of family planning...

1- Amnesia sets in. True, it had been 3 years and I'm not exactly a spring chicken, but how is it that I suddenly forget how to hold a newborn? I thought one of the best things about the second go around would be that I was now a "seasoned pro" and here I am Googling things on my Iphone every 20 minutes and asking for my "What to Expect" book back (which we affectionately dubbed "The Baby Bible.") If I had a dollar for every time my husband and I say, "did Violet...(poop this much, eat this much, sleep this long...) " we'd be hiring a nanny ;)

2- Gimme a G! Gimme a U! Gimme an I! Gimme an L! Gimme a T! Whats that spell? The story of my life.
During my 1st pregnancy, the majority of the guilt I was feeling had to do with all things breastfeeding (see #3) Now guilt is a normal part of my daily routine. Trust me, I'm no stranger to Mommy Guilt, but I promised myself up and down that I wouldn't let it get to me this time and yet I can't help but feel guilty that I don't hold Ruby nearly as much as I held Violet. Every time I have to tell Violet that "I can't" because I'm feeding Ruby or "after" I'm done changing, burping, bathing Ruby, I let it creep in and then I feel guilty for feeling guilty. It's a vicious cycle.

3- Breastfeeding still sucks. No pun intended. I was well aware of how difficult it can be, and is for most women, and I am by no means looking to start a debate, but instead will reference this post written by Penny Chevalley on her blog The Real Housewife of Caroline County as it pretty much speaks to exactly how I feel about the topic. I know it may seem harsh to make such a statement, but if I'm being true to myself and really expressing the thoughts I've had while nursing and pumping, pumping and nursing- it is usually, "this sucks." Much of the awe and beauty of the moment wore off with my first pregnancy. Not all, just most. I still love the closeness and cuddly moments, the little bit of rest it sometimes provides, and the strain it takes off of my wallet, but I don't love being a milk factory, having sore nipples, feeling ridiculous milking myself while hooked up to my double breast pump, and inevitably left wondering why I even bother wearing a shirt. I should just go all National Geographic up in here.

4- It is MUCH harder to accept help. I am lucky enough to have a close support system of family and friends all who have offered to take my 3-year-old for the day, or come by and help with Ruby. Still, I find myself constantly assuring everyone that I'm "ok," then choking back tears, miserably counting the number of days its been since I've showered or left the house, then wondering if it's too early to have a beer. Part of me wants to be all, "look at me, look how put together I am. I totally got this," and the other part of me hears "no I'm fine" coming out of my mouth and then looks around like "wait, who said that?"

5- There are moments where you will feel like a superhero for accomplishing the most menial tasks, you will find creative ways to do some of the things that used to be so easy, and meeting the baby's basic needs involves a whole lot less pomp and circumstance. If it wouldn't have been more than mildly inappropriate, I would have documented my morning yesterday as I was preparing breakfast for Violet while
nursing Ruby in the football hold. I'm talking toasting and buttering waffles, left handed, using a stick of butter (not that easy spread stuff either!) I kinda felt like a rock star. As far as the menial tasks, this time around we realize that all the bells and whistles aren't necessary or practical. Where we used to have the pack and play all set up and stocked with our arsenal of diaper changing supplies, we now have a small diaper caddy on the coffee table and we change the baby on the couch. My sister recently had her first little girl, Quinn (there's Quinn w/ Vi-->)
We were all at my Aunt and Uncle's new place for a family BBQ. When Kel (that's sis) had to change or feed Quinn, she and her hubby retreated together to my aunt's bedroom together as a team. We all laughed when it was time for me to change Ruby and I just threw a receiving blanket on the table (to be clear, I was at an empty table where no one was sitting...)

I have only been a mother of two for three weeks and in the coming weeks I know there will be many more challenges to overcome, things to learn and blog posts to share it all, but despite my sometimes cynical tone, I truly wouldn't change a thing. Every beautiful morning when Vi wakes up and crawls into bed with me and Ruby I marvel at my beautiful little girl who now looks so big next to her little sister. Watching her gently stroke Ruby's face and cuddle her brings tears to my eyes and I know I have to hang on to each and every one of these special moments.

How about you?

What is the biggest change you observed when bringing a second child in to your home?


Have a "superhero" moment you'd like to share? I'd love to hear it!

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