I’m officially a mom of two! My son Vincent is almost 7 weeks old now, born the day after Mother’s Day / three days after my own birthday / five days before his estimated due date.
(And yes, Sebastien is holding up a bag of crackers in our first official family photo because it’s the only way we could get him in there. Baby brother? That’s cool, but… CRACKERS.)
I meant to write an update earlier but understandably I’m still in the fog of adjusting to this new dynamic.
[credit: unknown, but so accurate.]
Right off the bat, I need to address Vincent’s birth and the fear I felt for months leading up…
It ended up going soooo smoothly!
I felt a bit silly afterward for spending all that time worrying, but I think that forced me to prepare as much as I could to get into a confident mindset. So when the moment actually came, I was still scared of the pain that I knew I was about to feel, of course, but I remained calm inside simply knowing I could do this. That made all the difference right there.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I read a book called ‘Guide to Childbirth’ by Ina May Gaskin in my third trimester. I took what I wanted to use from it (not every tip or method was for me) and applied it to my labor. In preparation for the possibility that I would experience back labor again (ugh, which I did!!!) I taught my husband, Nic, some massage techniques for my lower back, hips, thighs, and butt ahead of time. This got me through 7-10cm! Seriously, hallelujah hands emojis.
I also trained him (ha ha…) to repeat four phrases over and over to me:
- “You can do this.”
- “This is temporary.”
- “It will be over soon.”
- “You are doing so great / amazing / you’re so strong / you’re the best ever, etc.” Mix it up.
Encourage me, remind me that this won’t last forever, and compliment the hell out of me.
It worked! Even though I told Nic ahead of time to say these things to me, I knew he genuinely meant it every time he said it. Having that constant reassurance, again, just made it so much easier to get through. I gotta stop pumping his tires though, he might think he did all the work.
I also really focused on my breathing this time. The book said to exhale in this deep throaty almost animal-like way but when I read that, I was like, “Yeeeah right, it would be too embarrassing to make those sounds.” Well, guess who didn’t give a sh*t in the moment? Moi. It truly does help, I swear, I felt less pain when I breathed out that way instead of going to a high-pitched panicky tone. (AKA my normal voice.)
Again, like my last labor, I did huff the gas but I did it more methodically this time, using it as something to concentrate on. I took a few breaths in with the gas per contraction and then I exhaled so hard into the gas mask. It felt like I was muffling both the noise and the intensity. But whoever calls it laughing gas is a straight up liar. Liar gas.
My maternity nurse was also so great; she let me know when I was at the peak of the hardest contractions so I knew it was close to being over. She also helped me do some cleansing breaths afterward to “breathe it out”, similar to a cleansing breath in yoga. Can not tell you how helpful that was. Shout-out to amazing nurses.
Plus, I chose something to focus on this time. I know some people like to choose something meaningful (like an ultrasound photo) but for me, it was totally random. For the better part of labor, I just stood at the edge of the bed with the gas mask on my face and chose to focus on my water bottle. Whatever works!
[Hello, it’s me.]
Lastly, music! I jammed to my favorite songs at the moment the entire time. I didn’t make a specific “motivational labor” playlist or anything, I just put on my most recent downloads. Some of the songs actually pumped me up so much. (Never imagined I would be in labor jamming to Fat Joe “All The Way Up”). I wish I knew what song was playing when Vincent was born, but I was distracted obviously. I know for sure it wasn’t Thin Joseph though. That’s what I call Fat Joe.
And no, this baby did not shoot out of me in 2 hours like I feared he would.
He shot out of me in 3, ha ha.
But we were never in danger of not making it to the hospital, which was one of my main fears. I checked in at 6-7cm and he was born 3 hours later, with only 10 minutes of pushing (thank goodness that part was over quickly). From the moment he was born, I was on a high for probably four days straight. I’ve since crashed multiple times, because hormones.
My recovery was also a hundred times easier with this one. Last time, I left the hospital with five allergic reactions on my body and I was terrified of that happening again. It made it difficult for me to sit, lay down, sleep, etc. This time, zero. But I have to say, those after-cramps definitely do not tickle the second time around.
Literally everything went better than my first experience. So many people had tried to assure me beforehand that it would be easier, but I just couldn’t believe them until I experienced it for myself. They were right in my case though.
There’s really a lot to be said for familiarity.
Being a second-time mom, you don’t have the luxury of being naive to the pain. However, after doing this twice I have to say it’s almost better when it’s not a shock. The lead up was more terrifying for me the second time around, but in the moment, as painful as it got (especially during transitional labor) there wasn’t a, “WTF is happening to me and how long is this going to last? OMG AM I DYING?!” type of panic that I had the first time. I did scream, “Get him out, get him out!” right at the end though. We already laugh about that. I just wanted him here (and for that ring of fire to burn the F out.)
Obviously, I know I was lucky to not have any complications or need any interventions during childbirth so overall, I just feel extremely grateful that it went so well both physically and mentally for me. Truly, could not have gone better!
Now, after having visitors and lots of help over the last several weeks…
I am slowly learning how to be a mom of two.
The first real test was when my husband left town on a work trip for the first time (for two nights) and we survived! Day 1 of that work trip was the hardest (and by that I mean it was meltdown city and I was the one melting down) but we’re finding our groove. The most challenging part of having two so far has actually been trying to help Sebastien adjust. My heart breaks every day if I’m short with him or when I can’t give him the same attention he’s used to and I feel allllll the mom guilt.
On the positive side, at least everything doesn’t feel so brand new and overwhelming like it does with the first baby. I’m much more calm and relaxed about the things that used to make me freak out with Sebastien… such as, “Whyyyy does my baby only want to sleep on me?!” and, “Whyyyy won’t you sleep at night but you sleep all dayyyy?” We’re more ‘go with the flow and do what works’ this time around without stressing about it.
Of course, being up multiple times a night is exhausting (what?? Because nobody warns you about that. *sarcasm*) but I know it’s temporary! Seriously, I love newborn snuggles and I know one day I’ll long for them. The price is not sleeping solidly for now. No need to tell me I look tired though. (I’m talking to you, lady at the deli who doesn’t read this blog.)
Unfortunately, I did get hit with mastitis again, at 5 weeks postpartum. I tried so hard to avoid that happening, including seeing a breastfeeding physician the same week Vincent was born due to some initial pain, but at least this time, I knew what was happening, got it taken care of immediately, and kicked mastitis way faster than I did two-and-a-half years ago. Other than that, breastfeeding has been going well. However, if I feel it’s not for me anymore or if my milk supply drops, I have no problem busting out the formula and will not allow myself to feel upset about it. Fed is best!
Overall, the transition to two has been a difficult adjustment that I knew was coming but…
The love I feel for this brand new family member is worth every challenge.
This truly is such a special time and I know from experience how quickly the newborn phase goes by so I do remind myself daily to cherish it. The best part has to be how much Sebastien adores his baby brother. The other day I saw him kiss Vincent on the head and whisper, “I love you.” I mean… MY HEART.