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A second birth
When it comes to my second pregnancy, you only have to read my blogs to understand how nervous I was about the whole thing. It wasn't just the thought of going through the baby stages again, how different the whole pregnancy was this time around, or processing all of it with a three year old. There was a lot behind my feelings, though the bit I dreaded most was the birth. The one time in pregnancy that you can prepare all you like for, but you're inevitably preparing for the unknown, in both my cases I was anyway.
But when I got there how did it all go? What can I tell you? Is there anything I learnt that would be useful if you find yourself here and nervous as well? Well here goes.
My first initial fear is something I'm sure a lot of second time mums have worried about before, what happens with my first born when I go into labour. How do I make sure he's cared for at any given time of the day or night and feel he'll be ready for this? While I'd love to say it was easy to put this in place for me, given that I'd not left my son before it was actually an agonising decision. I'll put the boring story aside for now though and focus on the key points I learnt, with the most important being, when the time comes you really do just get on with it.
Despite it being the middle of the night with my three year old awake and needing me, I left the house while listening to him cry with his Grampy. As you'd expect, it was truly heartbreaking for me, but instinct kicked in and I knew I had to go. I couldn't give him false hope or ignore my body so I left focusing on the end goal of being home together again. All without a tear while I took comfort in another lesson I'd learnt, pick childcare based on your child's overall needs.
My little boy didn't need someone who was going to mother him like I would, that's what I'm for. He needed someone who would get on with things while gently telling him everything was going to be alright, and my dad did that perfectly. In fact he reassured both me and my boy and made us strong for our night ahead. With the backup of some big brother books we'd been reading over the last few weeks, and some laughs and cuddles from Grandma covering daytime duties, we did it. We made it through our time apart, created our own memories and came together with the best hugs ever.
While as a mum, my worries tend to be for my children ahead of myself, I did of course have my own worries when it came to the birth too. How was I going to do this again? I'd been so poorly after having my first son, with a pregnancy that was far less textbook this time around, I was sure I'd be back to that. While the fear never fully left me, I did take one important step to coping, talking through my first birth with my midwife.
Although my midwife couldn't make my first birth better she could explain some aspects that always worried me, help me make sense of it all. She led me from a point of wanting everything just so, worrying about what options to take, to going into the Delivery Suite with no birth plan at all and I'm so thankful she did. Armed with knowledge and an open mind, I made my own choices through my birth as they arose. I took everything in my stride and left my previous experience well and truly at home. I will always be so thankful to my midwife for showing me that I don't need a full plan to feel empowered, just the right level of understanding can be enough.
Of course, once the main things are all in place my feelings go straight back to my children. So, after ditching my birth plan I couldn't help but worry how my oldest would react after being my focus for 3 years now. Over the last few months we've talked loads about having a baby in the house, but only having met his baby cousin a couple of times due to CVD-19 it was difficult to tell him what a baby was like. Would he be happy or disappointed? Would he be ok in sharing his mummy all of a sudden?
I'm pleased to say that while we don't have one of those coming home photos of older siblings looking truly proud, we do have a loving big brother. A big brother who wants to show his baby brother his life, goes to every baby nappy change to make sure mummy and daddy are gentle and tells mummy off for shortening his brother's name. We might not be at hugs and cuddles but I honestly think that sibling love can be just as natural as parent love, it's not taught, it's just there and I know over time it will grow.
Which leads me to my last fear, my biggest worry of all, did I really have enough love to give another child? I know this sounds silly, especially with so many parents happily living with numerous children and loving them all, but I couldn't help it. My first born has been my world, my little best friend for all this time. I hated to think our relationship would change, that we'd have less fun while I'm being a parent more often. While, at the same time I didn't want my newborn to feel just wedged in the middle of it all. Not loved enough because he was second.
I really needn't have worried though, because although I'm writing this in the early hours due to a fussy baby, I couldn't love my new little baby more. Yes, he might not do much other than eat, sleep, cry and keep me awake but I'm proud that he's mine. I am missing time with his older brother a bit, wishing we had time for more fun already, but I love my two boys more by the minute. How could I not when my oldest shows me I can do this, gives me a reason to get up in the morning and gives me more love than I could ever wish for. While his little brother is a reminder of how far I have come and all of the adventures we are yet to have.
I've not got this parent of two thing down to an art at all, I have no clue what I'm doing. But I've created two beautiful boys and regardless of my experiences, I'll remember their arrivals forever as two days when I experienced instant love. Two days when my life changed for the better.