It’s funny: even though I knew better, even though I’d followed along with dozens of soon-to-be-second-time-parents as they wondered how they could possibly love another child as much as their first, and then inevitably found all their fears on the subject unfounded, I was still shocked and relieved and thrilled to my bones to be smitten all over again with a whole new baby. Twyla Kay! 5 lbs, 15.9 ounces. Born at 2:52 p.m. on June 13th, more than three weeks ago.
She has a fuzzy head and a tiny mouth that runs through a whole repertoire of expressions (surprised! despairing! gleeful!) while she sleeps. I love her awfully. And, as anyone who has done this before could have predicted, my love for Simone remains undiminished–is, if anything, more acute. A neat trick, really. How on earth does that work?
Another surprise that ought not to have been: new babies are hard. I am ashamed to say that I was entirely unprepared for the rigors of our first two weeks home. Because, you see, THIS baby would have no oxygen tank or apnea monitor or medicines, and thus was going to be EASY! SO EASY! A cakewalk! As pie! Insert your own metaphoric language denoting facility!
By the time Simone came home I’d had three months to recover, both from my C-section and whatever postpartum hormonal swings might have assailed me–I honestly don’t know whether I had any hormonal wonkiness last time, because I had such legitimate reasons for emotional turmoil in the weeks after the twins’ birth, but this time…well. That was an experience. Also, being the mother of an infant has to rival pubescent boyhood in helpless, frustrated mammary preoccupation. Also, REFLUX. Again. Also, I’d forgotten that I’d get a whole different baby this time, not a carbon copy of the last one, not to mention that I’d still have the aforementioned last one hanging around, wanting food and entertainment and, you know, parenting.
Suffice it to say that all expectations to the contrary, this second newborn period–the one with no NICU and no fleet of home medical suppliers–was harder than the first. Harder than expected, but also better than expected, because did I mention how much I love this new girl of mine, right out of the gate? Just look what was waiting for me on the other side of those last long months of fear and nausea and muffled hope. Even my wildest dreams weren’t quite wild enough.