10 things I assumed: The second time around.

  1. Recovery will be quicker with a vaginal birth verses a c-section.

Unfortunately this was not the case for me. I opted for a natural birth this time around. I remember thinking “at least the recovery time will be quicker.” I had a c-section with my first born. It took around a month to be feeling better and more mobile. I was looking forward to a quick recovery this time, especially with a cuddly, boisterous toddler at home.

After an unexpected induction, complications and use of forceps with a episiotomy, I surfaced with a 3rd degree tear. The smallest of tasks such as sitting or coughing had me in pain for a while. It was difficult to find a position to relax in and feel okay. I’ll also never forget that terrifying time of using the bathroom for the first and second times and the month after that. It took around two months to feel comfortable again and honestly a lot longer to feel confident, not just physically but mentally. Be prepared for anything.

2. Breastfeeding the second time around will be a piece of cake.

It took me a little while but I mastered the art the first time around. I assumed it would be smooth sailing this time. While my baby latched instantly and it seemed to be a good latch at that, I still found myself swollen, in pain and crying through the night feeding him. I ended up pumping milk to allow my breasts to heal a little, some much valuable advice from my mum. I healed quickly and felt much better. Until of course my baby reached 8 weeks and I developed mastitis out of no where. How horrendous. Laying on the couch crying in front of my babies, fiancé and sister, now that’s something I’ll never forget. Keep those milk ducts empty.

3. I can’t love another human as much as I love my first born.

“How on earth do I have enough room in my heart for another baby?!” The answer is, without a doubt, easily. The love I have for him is exactly the same as the love I have for my first born, its tremendous.

4. The nights feeds aren’t so bad.

They are. Waking up every 20- 1.5 hours to feed this hungry boy was a struggle in the beginning weeks. The night wakes are still frequent and still tough in the moment. I have, however, adjusted to less sleep and getting through the days is achievable (with caffein). We ended spending the first 2 months of having our newborn at home in seperate beds doing shift work like two ships passing in the night. Fiancé, who are you again?

5. We don’t need half of the stuff we had first time around.

Very true. A minimalist approach is just fine for me. All of the cute yet impractical outfits they’ll wear once for a photo; not neccessary. BONDS onesies for the win. Nappy bin system? I just take the stinky ones to the outside bin. Baby gates? We never set them up. The adorable rocking chair I just had to have for the nursery? Rarely used. I feed him in my bed or on the couch. And a change table that we didn’t use the first time around-we still don’t.

6. I won’t be so paranoid this time.

True to an extent. I don’t stress over every tiny little thing. I know the ins and outs, the rashes and the different cries. I still check him while he’s sleeping to make sure he’s breathing though. I’m sure that as he grows there will be plenty of times where I’ll be irrationally anxious over what seem to be silly things.

7. We’ll have an overload of help and support.

Not in the way that I had imagined. Having a baby at the beginning of a pandemic has made for some unexpectedly lonely and tough times. Our families are amazing and we are so lucky to have a core group of family members surrounding us, eager to help and spend time with us. However, I had a picture in my head that looked a lot like our newborn days with our first born. People rallying around and making special trips from far and wide to meet her. This time around that hasn’t been possible for everyone and the thought of our baby and loved ones not being able to meet and connect is quite sad. In hind site, the newborn stage is so short and babies change and grow constantly. It hurts to think so many people have missed that.

8. Mum guilt will come on strong.

The mum guilt is protruding and it began during pregnancy. Balancing my time between my constantly feeding newborn, hyper energetic toddler and the rest of my life can be tough. We have days where my toddler is watching too much television, days where I stew over not spending quality time with my babies and days where the washing and dishes pile up. Ands that’s okay (I try to tell myself).

9. My toddler is going to be all over the newborn.

With my toddlers affectionate, nurturing nature I assumed she would swamp the new addition to our family. This has been very true; the novelty of having a new baby in the house hasn’t worn off. She gets in his face, smothers him with kisses , wakes him up every chance she gets and runs to his cry. The love she has for him is absolutely precious, I hope it continues forever. No doubt he’ll grow up to be one tough cookie with his big, clumsy, sister around.

10. Life will never be the same again.

I certainly won’t, just like the first time around. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Another human being to love and to watch as they grow and learn, to teach and to hug and to call my own. We’ll eventually get that alone time back and perhaps a date night every now and then, in the distant future..

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