Three years ago, right now, I was in between two emotions.... complete and total, unbelievable, rock your world LOVE and fear. Often times, I think the two come hand in hand but not so strongly, not all at once!
Today is my sweet "baby" Jane's third birthday. Oh. My. Goodness. Where did three years go?
The two things I realized right away were (1) all the books I read were useless because nothing can prepare you for motherhood except 100's of years of instincts and (2) thankfully, I had common sense and instincts. I will say, however, that my most vivid memory of that blur was watching Jane sleep, all swaddled up (which, don't even bother, you will never master like the nurses do... save yourself the headache and buy some SwaddleMe's)... and her head had fallen to the side. Dan and I didn't know if this was ok. Should we prop her head up so it was straight? We asked the nurse. Seriously. She probably had severe concerns about our ability to parent a newborn baby after that point.
It is based on THIS memory alone that I feel like baby number two - although bringing along different challenges (like having double the responsibility) - alone, will be easier. At least I know the basics this time. At least I know five hundred different ways to treat cradle cap - or I can re-read the blog to see what I did before. :p I know to blame any sort of fussiness and horrible sleeping patterns on "growth spurts" because it'll make me feel like less of a failure. I know breastfeeding is going to be hard as eff for the first 8 weeks minimum. I know recovering from vaginal delivery (if all goes well) is going to suck arse... cause when you get the drugs, it ain't the actual delivering of the baby that sucks, it's the vaginal PTSD. I know I will age another 5 years in those first 6 months. I know I will be tired. I know I will hate the way I look. I know my boobs are going to be GYNORMOUS and, most of the time, feel and look like veiny over-full balloons ready to pop. I know I have to find a way to remember which boob baby ate from last time... because I know that, when screwed up, an over-full boob hurts like hell and, dear Lord help me if I get mastitis. I know that I don't care (this time) about giving the baby a soother right away. With Jane I wanted to do everything "perfectly" and suffered through 24 hours of cluster feeding in the first 2 days (which mean zero recovery for mommy) before I gave in and let her have it... giving me peace, her satisfaction, my nipples recovery, and SLEEP for all. I know my house will turn into a babies-r-us store. I know gas will be my worst enemy and burping my best, and only, ally. I know I am going to be changing A LOT of diapers. I know, if it's a girl, I already know how to do this pretty well. If it's a boy, I know I will be peed on regularly among the ceiling, walls, and anything else within a 30 ft radius. I know I will laugh about this.
What I don't know is a lot too. I imagine going from one child to two, is just as hard to explain as it is when you try to explain to someone who's not a parent, how much you love your child. I have no idea, nor can I even comprehend, at this point, how I will love another human being as much as I love Jane. I have no idea how my labour will go. I have no idea if we will have to face serious, scary and unexpected challenges. I have no idea if this is a boy or a girl... it's a girl. :p I have no idea if this baby will latch well. I have no idea if this baby will sleep well. I have no idea how Jane will actually respond when this baby is out of my belly. I have no idea how to coordinate everything between Jane, labour, daycare, hospital, visits, everything (but, you know me, I will darn well try anyways). The only thing I do know is that, just like with the first, people can tell you all they want to about their own experience becoming a parent of two and it means JACK because nobody knows what it will be like for you, until it's you.
All I can think of today is how quickly the last three years have gone by... and, where, in three years we'll be (praying, hoping, dreaming we are lucky enough to have another three years of this beautiful life). I'll still have a three year old in three years. But I'll also have a six year old. And, I imagine, just as I am today... reflecting back on how quickly the time flew by. Didn't time seem to go so much slower when we were kids? Didn't the two months of summer vacation feel like an eternity?
Dan and I took some time last night, spontaneously, and went through tons of old photos of Jane from the past few years. I cannot wait to go through it all again, and share it WITH her...