I think it’s really important to be able to laugh at yourself – and this is what I’m doing right now as I sit here with a cup of tea looking back reminiscently at pregnant me just a mere 12 months ago making mental lists of everything I was going to do differently (and better) with baby number two.
I felt experienced. I’d read all the books the first time round and felt much more relaxed about the whole thing. After being part of 2 amazing mothers’ groups I felt like we’d been through almost everything and all celebrated our little one’s first birthdays feeling very smug (if not a little dazed – kind of like that feeling you get when you’ve just got off a massive roller coaster that goes upside down a few times or just done a skydive)
So in my parent level expert state of mind these are the things that I remember thinking I would do with baby number two – who is now a strapping 8 month old which makes me a whole new level of expert and gives me that magical gift of the wisdom of hindsight:
The Birth. OK this is the one thing that I feel was a whole lot better than first time around. Not that my first birth was traumatic or particularly bad – it was a long labour that ended in a c-section which kind of left me feeling a bit robbed. During my first pregnancy I did so much preparation – birthing courses, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, hypnobirthing, chiropracty (is that a word?), massage, reading, yoga and probably more that I’ve already forgotten – and I suppose I had the luxury of lots of time back then. But I don’t think that having a toddler was my reason for doing nothing the second time around. I somehow felt I overprepared last time and the birth was nothing like I had planned or envisioned (although the outcome of course was perfect!) So in my odd logic I felt if I did nothing this time around I would get the VBAC that I so desired. It worked! Although some could say we were slightly underprepared. I had to be induced first time around at almost 2 weeks overdue and felt the second time that if I expected to give birth on my due date I would somehow jinx it and delay myself more. Is my superstitious nature becoming apparent to you yet?! I even told everyone that my due date was 2 weeks after my actual due date so I didn’t have to go through the agony of well meaning friends and family asking every day if anything was happening. (‘yes we had the baby yesterday – sorry I forgot to tell you it completely slipped my mind!) Anyway I ended up going into natural labour 5 days early and hadn’t even packed a hospital bag. I was still convinced I wasn’t in labour when we arrived at the hospital fully expecting to be sent home as happened first time round so when we were told I was 8 cm dilated it was a bit of a shock. A quick glance in the bag my hubbie had grabbed on the way out of the house revealed we had brought an ipod, a spare shirt for him and a torch. Useful. We didn’t even have a camera or a charged phone so the only birth photos we have are a couple of blurry ones the midwife took. My expert parent level has dropped considerably and we’ve not even left the hospital – things weren’t looking great for me!
Sleep. Hahahahahhahaha. Just writing the word makes me giggle a little deliriously. Our oldest boy was never what can be called a good sleeper – waking every night 2 or 3 times for almost a year (I wrote about my views on sleep here) but I was convinced that this time around I would fall into none of those same ‘bad’ sleep habit traps that first time parents are so prone to make in their simple naivety. HA! I think I have been even worse this second time round – doing absolutely whatever it takes to get the little one to sleep – especially in the first few months. First time round we had the luxury of an absolutely silent house when we needed it – this time there is always some crazy toddler noise coming from somewhere. For the first 3 months our new arrival slept in our bed right next to me – which I had never done with our first being far too terrified of rolling on him or him falling out. Maybe this came with experience but somehow I was less scared this time and found that sharing a bed was the best way for us all to get more sleep and for me to have enough energy to get through the day with 2 under 2. Although having never done it before I resorted to lots of google advice again and was soon convinced I would be sharing my bed until he was 15. He was actually 4 months when he decided enough was enough and got his own bed and now point blank refuses to sleep with us even when begged.
Photos. Despite getting off to a bad start with the photo thing I had vowed this time to be much more organised – especially when transferring photos to my computer. I am renowned for taking about 10 almost identical photos saying to myself I’ll pick the best one later and delete the others but then never being able to – seeing some slight cute difference in each one that made it impossible to get rid of. I still have about 4000 pictures to sort out from this year alone.
Chilling out. I was sure that this time I would be much more relaxed and laid back about everything (still basking in my aforementioned expert level parenting level). I have surely seen everything that a newborn can throw (or throw up) at me and having done it so recently it would all be fresh and clear. Not so. I got newborn induced amnesia and frequently turn into a blubbering idiot. I check that he is breathing many, many times when he’s asleep and press a glass up to each slight rash in case I need to get to the hospital immediately. I am possibly more neurotic this time as there are so many more perils out there to endanger a newbie with a tornado of a big brother looking out for him. My parent level has just returned to amateur and the smugness has been replaced by a slightly startled expression.
But as I sit here feeding my 8 month old tinned spaghetti from his brother’s plate I get to thinking that maybe I have nailed this last one after all.
What did you or do you plan to do with your second or more babies? I’d love to hear about them!