Here he is – another baby boy, born earlier this month. Blame him for me not completing NaNoWriMo this year. And for my lack of inane Twitter rants.
My labour was quite different this time around: three days of mild contractions on-and-off before labour started in earnest at 3pm on the fourth day. I went to the shops, made dinner and watched TV, determined not to pay attention to the contractions (I mean “uterine surges”… I’ve been dabbling with hypnobirthing) until I was sure I really was close to delivery. Then at about 7pm my surges leapt to two minutes apart, and were very strong. About forty minutes after we got to the birth centre, I delivered. The midwife didn’t examine me once- she said from the look of me I was very close. At 10.40pm, my new son was born, in a birth pool, with my husband, mother and older son with me. It was magical.
I had worried about whether or not to have my almost-three-year old present at the birth. I didn’t want him to be scared, or to be a distraction to me. But because we practise attachment parenting, and have never had a night away from our boy (with whom we co-sleep) I wanted him to be nearby. And part of me also thought it might be a good experience for him. I prepared him by showing him pictures of his birth, buying him a book called Hello Baby by Jenni Overend (beautiful book), and explaining what might happen and how I’d behave. We asked him if he wanted to see his brother come out, and my mum was primed to take him out of the delivery room if he seemed distressed. And in the end, he was there throughout. He told me to push. He talked to me between contractions and was there to greet his little brother the moment I lifted him from the water. I’m so glad I didn’t exclude him from such an important event in his life.
It’s… different having two kids. Everyone said it would be a big change, and it is. True, I don’t have any of the first-time-parent culture shocks to contend with: I know how to change a nappy; I know I’ll be constantly exhausted, and covered in baby puke, and reliant on the people around me for support. I had also prepared myself for the fact that my older son might take time to adjust, and would need lots of attention. What I wasn’t prepared for was how much I’d miss my older son. I can’t cuddle him as much as I’d like to, or read to him or play with him or make his snacks. For the first few days, I felt a little heartbroken because of this. Thankfully my older boy took it all in his stride, which I was pleased about, but also a little sad about.
Anyway, we’re finding our feet. Learning to manage our time all over again. Adjusting every aspect of our life all over again, and reassessing our expectations. But it is wonderful, and I feel so lucky to have another little person to share my life with.