Disclaimer: Since giving birth to Cecilia Marie on July 3rd, almost seven weeks ago, my brain has turned to mush. I’ve wanted so badly to put my first post-baby-number-two blog out into the world, but every time I sit down to write I realize that every word on the screen sounds like someone who is trying desperately not to come off as a sleep-deprived maniac. Therefore, I give up. I embrace my temporary dumbness and ask you to please forgive me if my train of thought well, derails. I assure you that I will soon reclaim my ability to think clearly and write sensibly, although the copious amounts of “Say Yes to the Dress” I’ve been watching while on maternity leave with Ceci probably aren’t helping with that.
Now. Remember how I was really, really freaked out about having another baby? Trying to figure out how she would fit into the family dynamic, how her arrival would affect Maggie, how my husband and I, whose time is stretched too thin as it is, would ever arrange our lives to accommodate one more person’s schedule? In some ways, waiting for the second baby was even scarier than the first – it kind of felt like something I was bracing myself for.
So, when Ceci came after a long but relatively easy induction (and an early epidural), and we had introduced her to her big sister, who was faintly suspicious at first but fell quickly in love with “her baby”, and Matt and I were left with this precious, sleeping angel in a quiet hospital room, feeling so much more confident and at peace than we had the first time around, I was surprised, to say the least. During the first few days, I kept waiting for things to feel hard or overwhelming. Then, weeks had passed, and we were doing just fine. I recovered from the delivery much faster than I had with Maggie, mostly because having a two-year-old prevented me from loafing. We went for walks around the neighborhood with Maggie helping push the stroller, and Matt watched Ceci in between feedings so Maggie and I could occasionally get out and spend some time together alone. Anytime a friend or family member would call and sympathetically ask how I was doing, my honest answer was always, “We’re actually doing great.” Having done it all – the diapers, the crying, the nursing, the late hours – once before, it was like riding a bike, minus the anxiety and fear of failure that we had experienced the first time around.
Some of the hardest moments, but also in a way the most beautiful, have been the times when deja vu takes over. An example: very early on, when Ceci was only a couple weeks old, I found myself holding Ceci’s tiny hand while she was nursing. It was a simple gesture of connection with my new baby, but in that moment I was completely and suddenly transported back to a time when I did the same thing with a two-week-old Maggie. She was right there in my arms, my first, the little person who changed my life. Then it passed, and it wasn’t Maggie but Cecilia I was holding, and Maggie was again the big girl she has become: smart, funny, stubborn, and sometimes naughty, but never again all mine the way she was when she was a baby.
It happens this way from time to time, and as the days go by faster and I find myself returning to work in two weeks, I try to remind myself that it’s all temporary. Before Ceci was born I wanted to rush through the newborn stage and the sleeplessness and fogginess that comes with it. But this stage, every stage, is over before you know it. There will always be something worth missing, which means that there is always something, more than you realize, worth enjoying.