New Year, New Baby (Natalie)

Happy New Year Mother Siders! I hope the festivities brought you all wonderful memories of your littlies enjoying themselves with family and friends.

What does 2019 have in store for you?

For me, 2019 brings us our second baby and a rather large milestone birthday. One of those events is obviously going to have a significantly bigger day to day impact than the other!

So the dark January mornings find me trying to persuade my toddler that it is too early to get up; that, yes, Mummy does think Bear should have a nappy on (but Mummy might do that just a touch after 5am), and simultaneously wondering how the transition from one to two babies will affect our family.

Thanks to previous Mother Side posts, we have found some great books to try and get our little one used to the idea of a baby.  I think at 19 months though she is still unlikely to comprehend what it actually means. We talk about the baby and I show her babies as often as we can. She seems to like them from afar, she shows an interest in the baby dolls at nursery (the unblinking plastic eyes of which scare me witless), but I think until it actually happens she won’t know what it means for her. I wonder if I really comprehend what it means for her, or me, if I am totally honest.

At this stage of my first pregnancy I was spending hours reading about the changes to my growing baby each week. I was practising hypnobirthing.  I was researching all the things I wanted to use with and for my baby. I read forum after forum and recommendation after recommendation. I was so excited for every appointment. I did pregnancy yoga and ate and slept all things baby.

This time around, I rely on an app to tell me what week I am on, and try to squeeze in some hypnobirthing refreshers and pelvic floor exercises while rushing to an appointment I have almost certainly forgotten about until my phone flashes with a reminder. Working, entertaining a high energy toddler (who doesn’t always sleep), and a husband who works shifts mean that this time the pregnancy is just racing along and I will be due before I know it.

I wonder how it will be to attempt to leave the house with a toddler and a newborn? Will I manage it? Will I ever leave the house again? Is popping to the shop going to be a thing of the past?  Is life going to require the planning of a military operation? How will I manage a trip to the park? How do I make it work for the baby my daughter, my husband and I?

I have friends who seem to be totally rocking mothering two small ones and hope I can follow their example.

Amongst the queries and guilt that this baby is somehow missing out on my attention and doubts over how I’ll manage, there are wonderful reminders of how special this pregnancy is too. Last time I had an anterior placenta and this time I have a posterior placenta so every time I feel bad about how little attention I am giving this baby, a movement (much earlier and stronger than before) reminds me of the promise that lies ahead! I remember how excited I am to meet our baby and that innate love for our baby is there by the bucket load and I know we’ll manage somehow.

I realise, too, how lucky I was with my first pregnancy in terms of my health and overall experience. This time around everything aches a bit more and I am that little bit more tired and beset by colds and viruses although, of course, I still recognise just how lightly I am escaping the havoc pregnancy and previous labour(s) can cause and am thankful to largely be very well indeed and even to be in this position.

We have started trying to think about where we want to have our baby. Overshadowing all my decisions are what will be best for our little girl. Should we have a home birth and send our daughter for a sleep over at her grandparents? She’s never done that before so how will she react? Will she feel that she has been sent away for the new baby? Should we leave our girl at home with grandparents staying with her in her home with her things and go to the hospital to have the baby? How will she feel when we come home with a baby?

It’s very hard to know what to do for the best.

We had very much considered a home birth last time, but first time anxiety about transfer time in the event that something went wrong, stopped me. Then we very belatedly found out our baby was breech and that seemed to further vindicate our decision as first timers to head to the hospital (although a successful ECV meant it was still technically possible to have a home birth it definitely didn’t feel right). I had a wonderful experience at the hospital for the few hours I was there so have absolutely no qualms about delivering there again. The midwifery team and consultants are fully on board with hypnobirthing and have nearly all undertaken hypnobirthing training themselves. It was very calm and supportive. I needed no pain relief whatsoever until it was time for some stitches.

I had a very quick delivery last time (my baby was delivered an hour after I got to the hospital and I was birthing her with my coat on) and the midwives tell me it is likely it might be even quicker still this time.  So another concern is whether in fact I might not make it to the hospital in time and might be better at home with midwives coming to me.

There are however two things I am very sure of in the midst of my decision making:
1) I do not want to have my baby in the hospital car park because I did not make it in time. No one needs to see that on the CCTV?!
2) my little girl likes to ‘help’ with absolutely everything I do.  Labour is not something I need her involvement with! I don’t want to be concerned about waking her up or my husband needing to go to settle her at a crucial moment. It seems almost guaranteed that the baby will be coming on a night that is not one of those on which she sleeps, or a day at which she is at nursery.

I also want us to be able to focus on the baby the way we focussed on our little girl when she was born. Enjoying that newborn haze and revelling in the marvel of it all.

I have friends and family that had super successful home births and feel buoyed that at least I know what to expect this time around.

I guess my first lesson in parenting more than one child is that life will now be a constant balance of trying to do what’s best for everyone and potentially compromising for all!

So 2019 finds me looking forward with trepidation and excitement. I think I have decided that whilst it  might not be pretty, and there will definitely be some challenges and I’ll certainly feel torn, we’ll be ok! Yes, my first child is going to have some lessons in sharing and my second child might not get responded to quite as quickly as my first would have been, and there will be good days and bad for everyone but I’ll be doing my best!

How have you balanced the competing needs of your littles? Is 2019 bringing you any parenting dilemmas?

Natalie, The Mother Side x

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