He’s here. Little Pea, officially deemed Isaiah “Ike” Philip, slid into this world at exactly 12:00 am on Christmas morning. In retrospect, what I thought were originally stomach pains from an excess of tacos were probably the start of contractions on Christmas Eve around 7:00 pm. Following family tradition, we opened presents later that night during which I was so uncomfortable I couldn’t even sit down. My night was made up of pacing and deep breathing, which reached a head at 11:30 when I told Zach that we had to head to the hospital after warning my family that this baby was likely coming soon. I remember us driving the three blocks to the hospital, me breathing deeply and seeing 11:35 lit up on the car dash. I thought I could walk to the OB floor, but my water broke in the hallway not 10 steps from the ER. They wheeled me quickly down the hallway, up the three floors to the Labor and Delivery suites, and into a room while I wailed and cried the whole way. My doctor magically appeared in his scrubs and a baseball hat, and by midnight Ike was out, large, and coated in newborn wax. Zach said Ike started crying right away. The only sound I remember is Z crying and me looking at him in disbelief because he was the one who had to tell me that our baby was born. In spite of my deepest wishes, the entire birth was carried out without a drop of anesthetic. Totally not my style. But our little guy is healthy, beautiful, and here.
Connor might have known something was going on before I even did. He was whiny and irritable during the entire gift-opening tirade that started around 8:00 pm. We were able to coax him through brief periods of distraction when he uncovered his Chuggington Koko Safari train set and his new set of Cars books. But mostly he was a mini terror, a 2-year old Godzilla knocking over stacks of gifts, throwing anything in his reach, and kicking anything that might be in his way. He was very un-Connor-like. Add to that that fact that by the time we left for the hospital he was still awake, refusing sleep up through the time Z went back to the house at 2:00 am after Ike had been born, and I’m almost positive Connor knew the winds of change were blowing hard.
I stayed in the hospital less than 24 hours on my request. The only hospital-administered substance coursing through my veins was a bag of saline, I was feeling decent, and it was Christmas, after all. My doctor agreed that it would be ok for Ike and I to head home that day. I spent the vast majority of my hours at the hospital in and out of sleep while Z ran around getting things ready for Ike and I and making sure that Connor was doing ok. When Connor was born I didn’t want to leave my birthing suite even as they wheeled me down to the car. The second time around I couldn’t wait to get home and check on him to make sure he knew that I didn’t leave him. I just wanted to get home and get back to normal, even though at this point I’m not sure what our new normal is just yet. The holidays, while wonderful, will further stall any semblance of a normal schedule for any of us. I’m sad that soon we’ll be staring at the bleak month that is January, but I am also looking forward to getting a routine and figuring out life as the mother of two.
My body is still malfunctioning on the way to recovery. Back are the days of painfully engorged, leaky boobs that look horrible no matter how fancy the nursing bra (mine are not fancy at all), back are the days of still wearing maternity pants because between them and my pre-pregnancy jeans I’d rather give my “flannel puppy” – as Anne Lamott dubbed it – room to roam, and back are the days of just feeling uncomfortable in my achy, sore, overstretched skin. I’m frustrated because I think I’ll blow my stitches when I pick up Connor even though I do it anyway. I grit my teeth when ‘Rado runs into my stomach or pads at my breasts as I imagine milk coursing from them, soaking yet another shirt, and making me wince with pain. I’m annoyed that people think I should be right “back to normal” less than a week postpartum, but I’ve already started thinking that the 6 weeks I took off for maternity leave might be too much. In short, I’m going through all of the feelings I went through with Connor but with the added guilt of not being able to give Connor all of the attention that he’s used to. Ironically, we gave Connor a sibling for that exact reason – so that he would learn to share our attentions and not be the center of them all of the time. Ike is only five days old and we have our entire lives to create our family dynamic, but in these early days I feel like a foal trying to move on unsteady legs, uncertain of where to look or how to start. Breathing deep is probably a good place to start. It’s like I’m still having contractions; just breathe.