Becoming a mother is exhilarating, wonderful and terrifying at the same time. I know because I have two beautiful daughters. When I had my second baby Ava, it was as magical meeting her for the first time as it was with my eldest, Caitlyn.
Although…going home with a new baby the second time around was completely different. I was so unprepared.
I had quite a ‘smooth’ birth. So I hear! Apparently I am lucky that it was a short birth. It still hurt like hell though.
I had slight cramps during the day, and I went in for a scheduled induction that evening which never happened.
I was about 2 cm dilated when I arrived at the hospital at around 8pm. My second daughter Ava was born somewhere around 11pm that night. My husband took the most ghastly pictures of me (it ain’t pretty and will NEVER see the light of day) but a beautiful moment nonetheless.
At the hospital
I felt great after the birth and was eager to get home to Caitlyn. I had a sense of confidence (or cockiness) – like ‘I got this’. It was a false sense of confidence.
So I left the hospital as soon as possible. Although the hospital requested that I stay an extra day. Ever so confident, I respectfully declined,
After the first night home, I regretted not taking the extra day in hospital.
It was a big adjustment for everyone. Firstly, breastfeeding was not working out. I just did not understand how something so ‘natural’ felt so completely unnatural to me. I tried, I really tried.
There were a lot of tears, mine, Ava and Caitlyn’s.
I hired a hospital grade breast pump and for two weeks solid (it felt much longer) I pumped day and night 6 to 8 times a day. Pumping consumed our lives. I was refrigerating milk, sterilizing bottles, I even acquired a hands free pumping kit. The production line was in full swing.
I spent a fortune on my breast feeding journey. I had a breast feeding nurse; pump (free from medical aid); then hired a hospital grade pump; hands free kit; nipple protectors; cream – the works!
Joy escaped me
I had limited time with Caitlyn, Ava and my husband. It was an unhappy time. There was no joy. After two weeks I decided to stop it and just focus on being present.
I gave up on pumping. Of course, I felt like the worse mother in the world. The motherhood guilt settled in like an old friend.
Things got a bit better after that. I could rest a bit a more, go to bed early (as no scheduled pumps). Not being under constant pressure of pumping every 2 – 3 hours was amazing.
The shift from one child to two was hard
I was constantly exhausted, having two children to take care of kept me on my toes daily.
Caitlyn’s sleep deteriorated badly in this period, and for about two weeks straight Caitlyn got up at 4am to get the day started. That is waking up at 4am to see to Caitlyn after Ava just gone back sleep.
I also underestimated the impact it would have on Caitlyn overall. Adjusting from being the only child, to having a new person in her space was a significant change. Caitlyn struggled quite a bit at the beginning and she needed time to adapt to the new world.
However, I am happy to say that as time passed their relationship grew. Ava is 8 months old and they have already developed a strong bond.
I had to learn to let go, not sweat the small things, and not stress too much about the routine. It took time to adjust, but now I honestly cannot picture my life without both my girls.
Herewith (yet another) picture of my two beautiful angels 🙂
Further Reading: 7 Reasons Why I am Pretty Certain We Are Only Having Two Kids