Asher Jet arrived on March 29, 2014 at exactly 38 weeks, weighing 6 lbs 15 oz and scoring a 9 on the apgar scale. Everything was planned and scheduled- arrive at hospital at 6:45 am, head into surgery at 8:00 am, have a baby, and begin life with 2. Neat and tidy. No drama. No (visible to me) blood. No NICU (well kind of. in a twist of irony, they had no more rooms left and we were sent up to the rooms in the NICU unit. I *might* have started crying as they walked us to our room and I spotted all the kangaroo chairs and isolettes...). Everything was "normal". So why was I such a hot mess???
We're almost 11 weeks in, and the fog has finally started to clear. Life is becoming routine-ish. And I can look back on those first weeks with some clarity and hindsight and see that I was COMPLETELY unprepared for this scenerio. I spent 9 months holding my breath, waiting for the trauma to occur. for the other shoe to drop. We had a miracle kiddo at home. a 29 week survivor. a thriver. we were pushing our luck with this second baby. we would not be so lucky this time. this would be our payback for getting too greedy, wanting too much. TWO healthy kids at my age with this body's history??? we should have just been happy with 1 and left well enough alone.
and a BOY? what did we hear over and over again in the NICU. They had a phrase...weak little white boys. because boys tended to not fare as well. little girls were feisty fighters. little boys? not so much. and we were having a boy. PANIC.
and how on earth could I possibly devote my time to being in a NICU with this baby when I had a 2 1/2 year old at home. one that falls apart when I'm not around? I know that the time I spent with babygirl made all the difference in her recovery. how could I not devote that same time to baby a? but how could I desert my babygirl?
HOW CAN I POSSIBLY MANAGE THIS?
Friends, and even hubbs, would tell me everything will be fine. This baby will stay in. the last time was a fluke. you're well-monitored. my mom understood. but I don't think even I knew how much I was panicking. until I exhaled. with this huge (to me) hungry and ready to nurse newborn with fully developed lungs and zero issues.
and so our relationship really began. because let's be honest. I was not exactly warm and fuzzy about my pregnancy. I loved him. but it was so very different from babygirl's birth. that was survivor mode. fierce mamma bear. THIS GIRL WILL LIVE AND THRIVE. we were attached from the second I peed on that stick and we still are. at 29 weeks I thought I lost her as I sat in the bathroom pouring blood and begging God for a miracle. That's a bond that I'll never have with anyone else.
so A's birth? calm, peaceful, flawless? what the hell was I supposed to do with that? I was expecting the worst for those months. and now? now what. here's this tiny little man who I tried not to get too attached to during pregnancy just in case. and now he was here. all ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes of perfection. and I loved him. but it was a slow simmer, not a boiling over.
and so we started to build a bond. and those first weeks. those were HARD. because babygirl was having a rough transition. mommy was gone for the first time EVER. and overnight. she loooooves her nannie-eat-face, but it was not mommy and she was OVER. IT. and I just wanted to comfort her. but I have this baby. who I also love. and who needs to eat. and his cries are more urgent. and hers are a little heartbroken. and I had to choose. mom guilt doesn't begin to describe it. I was never NOT there for her. and he deserved the same. but he was fine and she is still my little miracle. and I felt really alone.
so we struggled. and her temper tantrums were epic. and mommy kept breaking down. and baby took it all in stride. I did all the things I had with babygirl- we co-sleep, I carry him everywhere (cause I make em needy and he doesn't like being put down), we nurse on demand. but I felt a little bit like a fake. an imposter. because that level of urgent love....that wasn't there. a friend suggested I might be having a bit of postpartum depression, and part of me knew she was probably right. the other part fought like hell against believing that. because I don't fail at things. I don't "have issues". I am able to handle it all. I can do it all. and do it by myself damnit. it's my MO. always has been. it is not possible that I was in need of help.
and so I continued to breakdown. cry. a lot. wonder how I was ever going to manage with 2 as joyfully as I had with 1. I knew I could handle it. I just didn't know if I could be happy doing it. I was slowly, oh so slowly, falling in love with A, but only when babygirl wasn't around to see it. late night, all night feeding sessions. moments when she was with nana or daddy. I could smother him in affection without seeing that look on her face. that look which was partly "hey lady where are my kisses and hugs" and partly just my imagination. because she could not have been happier having a life size doll to tend to, to nurse, to diaper, to hold.
I think the MMR vaccine issue started to clear the fog a bit. I really had to sit down and think about the health and well being of BOTH of my children. We could wait longer and risk baby getting measles. or we could trust that her digestive system was now grown and healthy enough to not be negatively affected by the shot. Here's that story, and she's fine. And I started to realize that having 2 wasn't going to break my love for her. But I needed to step it up for him.
My hormones finally started to let up a bit around week 6, and babygirl seemed to finally fully accept that she had company, mommy wasn't going anywhere, and life could resume almost as normal.
And I began embracing life with 2. loving on him a ton, even in front of her. appreciating all the little quirks of this tiny new man in our lives. finding I could maybe not go food shopping as often by myself with both of them (that is now a full family affair), but I could do most of the other things and enjoy them. snuggle with babygirl while he was sleeping in the moby. still have our dance parties, and play cars and castles. be patient MOST of the time. definitely not all of the time. when all God's children are screaming and crying mommy starts to lose it.
But here I am on the other side of what most likely was a bit of depression. feeling a tinge of guilt about not jumping in full force with a fierce love bomb. but knowing that our little courtship is working out quite nicely and finally appreciating the quiet, calm way he came into this world.
And his constant smiles melt me.