Friday, September 04, 2009

Random Thoughts of a To-Be-Mother-of-Two

When Ayaan was born, I was completely unprepared for the way that a child comes and wraps his little self around your heart in a way that you couldn’t tear him out unless you tore out your very heart itself.

That being said, I don’t think I was a natural-born mother. I was pretty matter-of-fact through my first pregnancy – for me, the baby inside me existed at a conceptual level and I found it hard to relate to it as a real person – so I didn’t really talk to or read to Ayaan in utero and when a friend mine said of his unborn child that he already loved it more than anything or anyone else in the world, my response was ‘Really?!’

Even once Ayaan was born and placed into my arms as a squalling bundle, I wasn’t one of those instantaneous mothers – I felt no immediate bond, nor did I have any overwhelming emotional response (like bursting into tears, for example). I think my first response could best be summed up as ‘Hmmmm…’

Thankfully for Ayaan, biology took over and while I still wasn’t feeling the much talked about ‘mother-child bond’, a feeling of immense protectiveness kicked in. Here was a little human being who depended on me to nourish and soothe him and there was no question of letting him down. So for about three months, I was almost on auto-pilot – feeding, rocking, changing diapers – taking care of the little fella’s physical needs. And then one day about three months into the journey, the little fella in question looked into my eyes while I was feeding him and smiled and then Boom! And the rest, as they say, is history.

It took its while coming but after the initial phase, I’ve lived through motherhood pretty intensely. As far as I am concerned, the world pretty much revolves around Ayaan. And so the question begs to be asked. Will I be able to feel this way all over again and find as much love to give again or will my poor second child have to learn to be happy with leftovers?

I am cherishing and appreciating this pregnancy a lot more than the last one because I know this is my last opportunity to feel little feet kicking inside me, amongst other wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) pregnancy experiences. But like the last time, the baby itself continues to be a concept to me. The person who I can talk to and relate to is the darling four year old who lives in my real world. And so all my plans for the forthcoming months revolve around him rather than the new baby who will soon join us…

  • By this time in my first pregnancy, the baby’s paraphernalia was being planned in full swing. Copious lists had been made, nappy material was bought and sent off to Jaipur to be stitched, the crib was decided on, clothes and other baby gear were bought and so on and so forth. This time I do have a lot of stuff left from Ayaan’s time (or so I keep telling myself but I am yet to take stock), but I haven’t gotten around to doing much else to prepare for the baby’s arrival. The preparations this time have been focussed in an altogether different direction – preparing Ayaan for the big change that is going to happen in his life. So we talk about the baby a lot. And focus on the many positives – like me being home all day for six months, like him getting to open all the presents the baby gets since the baby can’t open them itself, like how the baby will learn how to do everything from his big brother and other such myriad stuff.
  • When I think of my time away at the hospital, the main concern is Ayaan. I don’t want him to feel abandoned or have his life thrown out of gear. So I have been discussing with my mother (who's going to be here for the first month) and Jai how it’s more important that someone is home with him at any given time than for me to have them attending to me for 24 hours. I also would like him to come by to the hospital atleast a couple of times to meet the baby before he/ she comes home.
  • Coming home from the hospital is the other stress point. I don’t want him to feel ignored in the hustle bustle of settling in with the baby. I plan to take up the suggestion from a couple of friends to sweeten the deal with a smashing, new gift 'from the baby'. Not only will it make the moment a lot more positive, it will also keep him busy while we get settled in. Currently, we are deciding between a new bicycle (his current one is a pink-hued hand-me-down from a friend’s daughter that he is on the verge of growing out of), an elaborate set of cooking toys and a kiddy computer (his current one has gone kaput).
  • I also want to make sure that I don’t deny him anything that he is used to getting from me. I want to be able to continue to do his morning school routine and hopefully the baby’s sleep-feed patterns will allow me to. And I want to spend a lot of time with him during the day so locking myself into a room for every one of the baby's feeds won’t be an option. So I am thinking of getting myself one of these nursing apron things so that I can feed the baby anywhere in the house.
  • My biggest worry with going back to work this time has little to do with how the baby will cope. I saw that Ayaan coped really well, after a few days of separation anxiety. But the five year old boy who’s got used to Mama being around all day will feel the pinch a lot more. So I hope that my mother and mother-in-law will be able to spare at least a month each at that time to help him ease into my going back to work…

So as you can see, the baby itself doesn't feature high on my to-do lists and the worry about whether I will have the space and bandwidth to give the second one what s/he needs is a valid one. I know I’ll figure it out but it seems all fuzzy in my head right now – I guess some things just can’t be planned for.

I do have the assurance of several second-born kids and mothers of two that these second kids have their own ways of getting their due. This second baby in particular is already messing with me and making sure I take note of him/ her. On Tuesday, I went for an ultrasound and was told that the baby was in a transverse breach position and what’s more, the amniotic fluid index (AFI) was on the lower side, thus reducing the likelihood of the baby being able to turn. So a sleepless night was spent worrying about the implications of low AFI and shedding tears over the lost VBAC dream. And then on Wednesday, I met my gynaecologist and less than 36 hours after the sonography, the baby had moved into a head down position! Sheesh! This one is already one step ahead of me. At this rate, I don’t think s/he will let me give him/ her a raw deal, no matter what my plans!

(The doctor also said that the AFI was adequate and not anything to worry about. Needless to say, I am not feeling very charitable towards the ultrasound technician)

36 comments:

  1. hugs Ro. most of your concerns are valid. heh, you didn't need me to tell you that did you? the thing is - you can only plan for so much. as several others have already told you - everything (and everyone) will shuffle around and readjust and find a balance. that includes Ayaan. at the end of the day, he may just bask in the shared happiness around the house and be perfectly okay, at least for the first few months. you are right in requesting someone to be with him full time. he would need more 1-1 attention than you do, and hopefully your mom can help with this.

    beyond that though, just embrace each day as it comes and play it by the ear.

    not every day may be sunshiny, but when the going gets tough, the tough get blogging :) we're here for support!

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  2. And are you also worrying about yourself? Take the pressure off, hon! Everyone's going to get neglected just a little bit, it comes with the two-kid territory...and it toughens everyone up!!!

    Take several deep breaths and go with the flow (bad word, I know!) and take each day as it comes!

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  3. i thought i'd be one of those who will be a blubbering mess, or cry prettily on seeing the baby for the first time. but like you , i went, hmmm. no, to be more precise i went, "hmmm, oh shit, her nose is like mine."

    beautiful post ro. i have no doubt that ayaan will be secure in his little being- just be patient, and accepting of the time he takes to figure the little baby out. and more importatnly the time he takes to accept the baby's place in your lives.

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  4. It'll be fun, Ro. Yes, FUN. Believe you me.

    Reading your post is taking me back to the first few days of little Bub's life.

    It's so wonderful to see the new siblings getting to know one another.

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  5. Hi

    Am a new reader of your blog and commenting for the first time..

    Regarding the AFI, even i had a scare a few weeks back..my AFI was 9.4 and the ultrasound guys and my doc freaked me out..i was asked to drink lots of fluids and take some medicines. In 10 days, the AFI was 10.1 and only then my doc relaxed..

    Wishing you a happy pregnancy!

    Sri

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  6. How can u sound so exactly me girlie??? howww?...

    - I felt rather lost when I had my lil one until the day he actually smiled at me (http://ivan-achu.blogspot.com/2008/10/oh-that-angelic-smile.html)

    - Am planning for my next baby and u are jus living the days am hopefully gonna live next year :)

    Take good care and God's gonna do the rest....

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  7. We younger ones definitely get what we need! There will be some turbulence and some upheavals in all your lives, but nothing that you can't deal with.

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  8. starry said it - two-kid territory means everyone gets neglected a bit but its not a bad thing at all! and again as she said - don't forget yourself (i should only preach what i practise but still saying it).

    and yup expect initial adjustment issues. in the slightly longer run everything does sort out and you will one day wonder why you didn't have baby 2 before.

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  9. The fact that your second little one will get all and more of your love and not lose out on anything, is already a given Ro. I know it seems hard to believe because this baby is still a concept, but she/he is going to have it all too, and you will find yourself stretching to provide for both your little loves.

    It sounds like you've thought thru everything to make the transition smooth for Ayaan. Now...if I may say so, learn to let the rest go...there shall be some emotional turbulences (its a natural flow of things stemming from change)...but it will all work out fine.

    It sounds so dreary and cliched as I say it...but first kids, second kids, they're all tough cookies in their own right and they know how to survive and know how to send out indicators to help you balance it after the fact.

    Breathe now..and enjoy yourself.

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  10. the similarities in our lives is sometimes uncanny!

    my doc was also worried that i have insufficient amniotic fluid with this pregnancy and further that he/she is smaller than normal. anyway, she made me do a scan today and according to the radiologist the baby's size and amniotic fluid volume is fine - still need to see the doc on Monday to have it confirmed that all is ok.

    Loved the following line from your post:

    "And so the question begs to be asked. Will I be able to feel this way all over again and find as much love to give again or will my poor second child have to learn to be happy with leftovers?"

    i keep thinking of this exact same thought!

    I think we just need to relax and not think too much about these things as I think our mothers would have done.

    anyway i am thankful that i have just over 4 weeks left? You?

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  11. lovely post, ro. the bit about you falling in love with ayaan had me go all aw.
    i've been anal enough to sort out baby clothes and stuff, and maybe you can include ayaan in this? noo and i have spent many hours together doing baby h's clothes - where i fold them, and she wants to show me how to do it and unfolds them, and so on. because of it, everytime we get out, she also keeps an eye out for clothes for the baby - it's cuute.
    anyways, i guess we'll be okay - moms and new babies and first babies.
    no point stressing - what's gonna happen is gonna happen - you've already done so much to prepare ayaan - looks like an easy ride to me.

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  12. [Kodi's Mom] Thanks for those reassuring words. And like you said, I can always pour out my woes here when I need some TLC, advice or encouragement :)

    [Starry] *Inhales. Exhales* Thanks :)

    [Sur] My response was a lot more vain. It was 'Damn, he doesn't look like me.' :D

    {Mummyjaan] Fun is the last word I'd have thought of in this situation. I'll take your word for it :)

    [Sri] Hi and thanks for commenting. Mine is 11 so the doctor has just asked me to stop stressing :)

    [Gayatri] Awwww at the link - so cute. All the best with your planning...

    [Dipali] Yeah and it's not like we'll have any other choice but to deal with it :)

    [Choxbox] I already wish I had had baby 2 before :) Four and a half seems like such a large age difference

    [Tharini] Thanks for the comforting words, T. Especially from someone who;s been there and done that :)

    [Lawyeramma] Same pinch :) And 7 weeks to D-day in these parts...

    [Mona] You sorted out baby clothes??? Ok, maybe my competitive streak will emerge now and I will get to it :)

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  13. Hi. I can totally understand what you are going through. We also try to keep the lines of communication open with our daughter, and have already planned gifts 'from the baby' for when she visits the hospital.

    Also, we have enrolled her in an activity class that takes care of her evening, and hopefully, I'll be able to give her my full attention when she gets back, as I hope to have the infant in bed by 7-7.30.

    As far as feeding all over the house goes, or even outside, I just used to drape a swaddle cloth over my shoulder and cover the baby as well. This worked well for me. Maybe u can try this as well instead of the apron. Unless u feel ayaan is likely to pull it off or something.

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  14. I went through the exact same emotions last year Ro ! And a year or so later it all seems to be slowly settling ... there are some bright days and then there are not so bright ones. The older one takes time (atleast mine did) to adjust and welcome the second one. Its easy initially when the baby is born ... there is so much attention showered on both the kids (my mom spent most of her waking hours with Cantaloupe and I handled Junior) ... it gets tough after some time before settling down ...
    There is only so much you can plan ... so pls stop worrying about Ayaan and enjoy your days now. Yes, you may not be able to spend as much time with Ayaan during the initial days after baby's arrival, but think about the wonderful bond he would be forming with his grandma. I tell you these kids have a blast with their grandma who are so chilled out with grandkids... making us wonder if its the same moms we grew up with :)

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  15. what a lovely post Ro... how deeply u have thought!!

    hugs all will be well dont worry and yes take care of urself

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  16. So beautifully written. You seem to have really thought through everything. I've seen older kids suddenly becoming mature and protective about their siblings albeit a little jealousy... And I think that's the beauty of it! Best wishes for you and Ayaan.

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  17. Poppy2:51 pm

    My experience was exactly as CA's - easy initially - because ofcourse you're on your toes and making sure baby doesn't get left out (I mean the older baby!).

    Then older child realizes that this critter is here to stay and hell breaks loose. Eventually (after some horrifying - why oh why moments) it all settles down and the kids actually begin to enjoy each other!

    I think the most important thing is for you to take care of yourself - giving older one too much compensatory attention that he isn't used to anyways (since you work outside) actually backfired in my case.

    As for BF-ing, you could stay put in your room, let him find you and join you if he wants - keep some activities close by. You need the rest and your comfortable setups more than you need to be available to him in every room.

    As for the new baby, they are not second born for anything, they DO come second, but eventually ofcourse as you said, they figure out how to come first in your attentions.

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  18. Second ones are always ill treated. They have fewer photographs and treats (their Dadas always got better birthday cakes) and dammit, they always have to share.

    *goes off to brood*

    *bobs back to say*

    Oh, and I'm a girl child, too. Wouldn't you know...

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  19. I'll leave the advice-giving to those qualified to do it, and just send major good wishes and calming thoughts your way!

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  20. For most of the elder ones, arrival of a new born is a shock. My mom tells me similar stories about how when I was born, my elder sister, 2.5 years older than me, never let her come close to me for first few days. She used to scream that I should be given back to the hospital or thrown away in the river or where ever i came from, but I should not come close to her Mama.

    But, eventually one fine day, the protective elder sister residing inside her just woke up and then from that day, she never let anyone else touch me. I became a new interactive toy-cum-baby sister in need of protection for her.

    But i guess, kids these days are more complex. And you require a lot of preparation before hand. But the way you have been preparing Ayaan for the arrival of the new one, the shock felt would not be much.

    Take care :)

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  21. I am a mother of four kids whom I love more or less passionately. I too suffered the same anxiety about my first when I was having my second. Can I tell you a little secret? Nature usually programmes mum into a very protective stance towards the new infant. The 'old' baby may look huge to you beside the little'un, big eyes, big hands etc. The good news is that you will love all your kids in a 'different but equal' way. Please don't be anxious Rohini, 'cos you're doing everything right. You can ask Ayaan to 'help' you take care of the baby, i.e. 'bring the powder', etc. He'll be happy to be included. You can ask him to sit beside you as 'we have to feed the baby now!' And he might enjoy his Dad's company a lot more in this age now. I find fathers a great help at this time. My husband certainly was. All the best to you!

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  22. The received wisdom is - involve your firstborn as much as you can. Let them help, let them feel included and a teeny bit important. This helps them make emotional room for the little one, and being on the same 'side' as you makes them feel more secure.

    Good luck and enjoy!

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  23. Anonymous8:31 pm

    Wishing you the best rohini..... Sandeep Batra

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  24. Ro, you really don't need to worry about the baby. These second babies are born charmers and you won't quite realise when they get under your skin, but they do. And yes, there'll be a ton of what-was-i-thinking moments, but on balance, it's totally, totally worth it.

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  25. wow! that was one helluva post Ro!

    i was pretty ho hum too! i did cry when i finally held cubby ('coz i couldnt for first two days!), but afta that it was pretty much "what the heck just happened to me?!" for a few months! :)

    i love all the gyaan given by the experienced ones! loved Chox's "slightly long run!" hehe!

    am sure you will do super!

    cheers!

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  26. All the best Ro. Let's get this party started NOW :-)

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  27. [Preeti] Hmmmm.... didn't think of the activity class. That's a great idea. Thanks. The cloth draping never worked for me last time - I used to keep fussing about it slipping off.

    [CA] Thanks for those reassuring words. I know it won't be easy but I also know we will all survive it with minimum long-term damage :)

    [Monika/ Suki] Thanks :)

    [Uma/ >n] Ayaan is already showing a bit of his protective streak. He sometimes tells me to be careful or I'll hurt the baby :)

    [Poppy] See, I got your name right this time ;) I am not thinking about myself at all. Typical self-sacrificing mother bullshit. But you are right. I should :)

    [Sue] Drama Queen!

    [Gaelikaa] For a truly veteran mommy, that is really reassuring. Thanks :)

    [AantelAdda] Thanks for delurking and for the advice/ wisdom ;)

    [Sandeep] Thanks from stopping by and commenting:)

    [Maggie] Phew. Good to know that. I shall hold on in hope of the happy ending :)

    [Abha] Thanks :)

    [Altoid] Now? No way. I am keeping this baby in my stomach forever :P

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  28. I really don't have experience with the second child thingy, but I can definetly say that the baby will just ease into your lives and yes, there will always be that jealousy, yet, Ayaan will love the baby and it will be so much fun!

    Don't worry so much.

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  29. Second babies are born fighters-and winners-he/she will surely get her due, just wait and watch how!

    And although I am not qualified to give advice, I just can't help sharing my experience the VBs are grossly over-rated. My first-one was a "normal delivery" and it was sheer hell going through a 18hr labour. VBACs are a huge risk-and at times sadly not worth it.

    My second one had to be a planned C-section bcoz of her transverse position and the fact that she had managed to get her cord coiled around her neck-but it was so safe and comfortable and easy to recover from...

    BTW: are you from Jaipur?

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  30. hey co-traveller

    i am not very anxious about anush but i hope i have it in me to love the second one -equally/ differently

    so i guess like all the nice advice here- we shld just chill now

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  32. I loved this post Ro. Great about baby turning over !

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  33. Hugs Ro.. and all the best for your VBAC. It is a possibility and don't lose hope on it.
    When are you due? I'm excited for you and I'll keep my fingers, toes, everything else crossed :)

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  34. beautifully expressed. the idea of a gift from the baby sounds very clever. good luck!!

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  35. Rohini, great post. I write over at http://www.bloggermoms.com and they are having a 'Writers Award' this month. Maybe you can post there on a similar topic.

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