Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Preparing my Heart for Baby #2

I only briefly discussed my first miscarriage in an earlier post, and I am not sure I have ever mentioned my second.

I unexpectedly found out I was pregnant when Henry was around 18 months old, and I sort of freaked out. I cried. I felt guilty for crying, and then I cried some more. I couldn't stand the thought of Henry not being the baby anymore. I couldn't stand the thought of him feeling replaced. I was overwhelmed, and I wasn't sure what to do with those feelings. I held him as he fell asleep that night, cried ridiculous tears, and fought with myself about how I should feel.

A few weeks later, it was over.

The physical experience was much less traumatic than my first, but at the same time just as painful emotionally. I had immense guilt about all the feelings I had experienced when I found out I was pregnant. Fast forward a few months, and I also felt an even greater appreciation for this baby currently wiggling around in my belly.


When I found out I was pregnant with Henry I took a test the first morning I should have been able to get an accurate result. With this pregnancy I did the same, and I got my first ever negative test. I thought it was a bummer, but everyone has a negative test at some point, so I wasn't too concerned. A few days later I still hadn't started, and I allowed myself to wonder. I finally decided I would wait until Saturday, one week from the original test, to try again. Sure enough, I had apparently miscalculated and jumped the gun. The second test was positive.

I think I got a lot of the shock and fear and crazy out of my system with the previous pregnancy. I think the guilt I felt after losing that baby changed the way I viewed things, and I was better able to see this for the blessing it is. But that still didn't totally take away those mama thoughts and feelings and fears we often have. I remember one of the first nights after I found out...my husband was already in bed, and I stood in Henry's nursery in the dark (even though he was asleep in his bed in our room), and I cried. I don't mean I shed a silent tear and went to bed. I cried big, loud, snot-dripping-out-of-your-nose tears. I couldn't help but worry. I couldn't help but feel like I was taking something away from him. I felt like I might as well be putting him out in the yard to sleep even though he was tucked safely in his bed with the 37 stuffed animals he requires each night.

After that I started feeling really rotten. I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open all day long, and I felt like anything and everything was going to make me puke. I never did actually get "sick", but I felt like I was on the verge pretty much all the time. I lived on the couch and was totally worthless. I am not sure what my husband ate or how he even had clean clothes to wear because the biggest part of the first trimester was a blur. Because I felt so crummy, I didn't really think a lot about when baby would get here. I was simply focused on survival until about week 13 or 14.

As I have gotten farther along in the pregnancy things have become more real...as they usually do. We found out around week 18 that we are having another boy (I shared more about that here). Knowing the gender helps me to bond with the baby because it allows me to choose a name and imagine them as an individual. He has been super active, so I feel his kicks and wiggles almost constantly. I am putting together a nursery and buying clothes (since Henry's are all the wrong season). I can imagine holding him. I can imagine kissing his cheeks. I can imagine his presence so much better than I was able to with Henry since I am a tiny bit more seasoned than I was the first time. I have a lot less fear about the actual birth and the whole keeping-him-alive-thing than I did with Henry. I am excited to meet him and experience everything he will bring to our family.

All that being said, I still have my fears. I still have moments when I feel like I am doing Henry some huge disservice. A couple of weeks ago I had a moment where I actually got him from his bed at nap time, held him on the couch, and sobbed while he slept. I sobbed those big, ugly tears again because it wouldn't be just us anymore. All he has ever known is Henry and Mama. He is Mama's boy in a big way. I am able to give him my full attention and tend to his needs. We go on adventures. We have day dates. We play outside, share snacks, and snuggle on the couch before bed. How will he handle this? How will he adjust? He is so young, and he won't understand. He has never spent the night away from me. What if he cries for me when I am in the hospital? What if he is jealous? I think he will be jealous. I know he will miss me, and I most definitely will miss him. Every night when we are doing our bedtime routine, I can't help but think about how that will all look differently when baby brother arrives. I feel like I am basically ruining Henry's life, and I can't even decide how to feel about it all. I love him so fiercely, and I will never be able to




(Excuse me while I wipe the tears from my keyboard.)

Though that might sound a little dramatic, I have had those thoughts. I get a little dramatic in my head sometimes. Then one Sunday at church our pastor's wife came up to me, out of nowhere, and said, "You are giving Henry the best gift..a best friend for life."

Wow. I had never looked at it that way. I had worried and cried and stressed and thought of all the things I felt I would be taking away from Henry, but that was a total shift in perspective. I hadn't thought of what I would be giving him. That single statement meant so much to me, and it has helped me so much. I am eager for Henry to meet his baby brother. I am excited to watch them together as they play and get into mischief. I look forward to having two sweet boys to kiss and hug and love on me. I know it will be challenging and exhausting and wonderful all at the same time. While I cannot imagine loving another human being as much as I love Henry right now, I know it will happen. I know this baby will fit right into our family because he belongs.


I am so thankful for all the sweet, more experienced mamas who have encouraged me and reminded me that my heart WILL make room for baby. That is why I have asked a handful of mamas to share their hearts on going from one to two kiddos. In the next few days I will be sharing their insights and wisdom, and I am so excited to do so. I hope it will be an encouragement to those who are struggling with those sometimes irrational mama thoughts/fears like I have had. I hope that something they say might stick with you the way the "best friend" statement stuck with me. I know they have big hearts and lots of love for their littles, so I trust that they will have great things to share. Be sure to stay tuned, and please share with any mamas you might know who are going through the same worrisome phase that seems to come with baby #2.

xo,
Katie

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for your encouraging and genuine words!

    We are trying for our second and these thoughts have all gone through my head. Thank you for sharing your heart and your struggles. This helps me feel normal.

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    1. And thank you in return...I was a little afraid to share these thoughts and feelings. I was hoping I had communicated them well, I just I know it is so much easier when you know there is someone walking right along with you. I know too many mamas who have struggled with this.

      My next post will be a roundup of insights from experienced mamas who have been there, done that, and seen the blessings of welcoming baby #2. You will definitely want to check that out! Thank you so much for reading!

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  2. Thank you for sharing your heart. I remember these feelings like it was yesterday when I was preparing to welcome my second. You will be surprised how big your heart is going to expand! And you will look at the new baby and melt to complete mush. Your heart is going to burst with all the feels watching Henry become a big brother! So special to watch the first baby step into that role. You got this friend :)

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    1. I love him so much already, and I am just hoping Henry is able to adapt fairly quickly. All he knows is mama's (mostly) full attention at all times, so it will definitely be an adjustment. I just have to remind myself, it isn't like I am losing time with Henry, just gaining an extra little person to love.

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