TK.

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.

Twyla Collage #1
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.

Twyla Collage #2

119 comments

  1. sarah says:

    Congratulations!! She is absolutely gorgeous. I am totally thrilled for all of you… and so relieved. Welcome Twyla Kay!

  2. A'Dell says:

    Oh my God, she is just SO GORGEOUS and even though I have seen all these photos she’s just lovely every time.

    And yes, why DO we expect subsequent babies to be predictable and pliable? As if we know it all now that we’ve done it once? I did that with my second child, too. “Oh, I know JUST what I am doing! I’ve got this covered!” Uh, no.

    Congratulations! She’s fantastic.

  3. Jennifer F says:

    She is so beautiful and absolutely perfect (and so BIG with those gorgeous cheeks – hey almost 6 lbs seems ginormous to us former preemie moms)! Congratulations!

  4. Melissa H says:

    I’m pretty sure you have the prettiest newborn I’ve seen since, oh, May 2011 ’cause of course mine was cuter (but not much). Hope things are settling down here in week 3ish. Congrats!

  5. Annalien says:

    That is a seriously awesome baby! She is adorable! I was also totally unprepared for how hard the first few weeks with a second baby is. Wishing you lots of joy from your two girls.

  6. Meredith says:

    Congratulations, she’s beautiful! I went through much of the same when I had my second…the fear beforehand that there was no way I could love him as much as my first, and finding this fear to be totally unfounded…The discovery that a second newborn is HARD, SO HARD (this improves with time, and also…totally not the case with a third or fourth newborn, no idea why). My favorite part, though, it the complete and utter joy…sitting and staring at the baby when I know I should be taking the fleeting opportunity to sleep, but rejoicing in the wonderfulness instead.

  7. Erin says:

    Oh! She is absolutely, insanely perfect. My perfect second-born is thisclose to turning one and it’s freaking me out. Believe me, spend this whole year taking as many pictures as possible, but even more, make sure you write about your day, every day. It goes so fast and there are just so many little things that change in the blink of an eye that you won’t want to forget. Most of all, enjoy that baby. She is heaven.

  8. Rebeccah says:

    Yay! I’m so delighted to see this post! You did it, mama, you did it! She’s absolutely delicious. And good grief, yes, the older child wanting parenting while you deal with newborn stuff and hormones is quite challenging … it gets both easier and harder, but oh so very worth it. Congratulations!

  9. Liz says:

    You guys make SUCH cute babies. Congratulations! If feeling despairing, read Anne Lamott’s “Operating Instructions”. So awesome.

  10. Sabine says:

    You look so perfectly groomed on your post Csection picture. Chapeaux! I looked like sh*** after mine but you even manage to sport full eye make up and perfect hair.

    Oh and your baby is über süß, by the way.

  11. Karen says:

    I was really looking forward to this post. I mean, REALLY looking … every second day.
    So glad all your worries were unfounded. She is an absolute doll, congratulations and enjoy your girls. x

  12. Sara says:

    I always like to remind people who have had a challenging start to parenting that they get to have bad days too. Not Bad Days—my baby’s in the NICU, my baby might die, my baby died kind of days—but bad days where it all feels overwhelming and you feel like you don’t know what to do and all you want is a few hours of sleep all at once. Even though you know it could be so much worse, the bad days are still hard to get through. Being a parent isn’t easy, even when there is no medical component. It’s amazing and wonderful, but often not easy.

    Welcome to your beautiful little one.

  13. Jen says:

    Congratulations! She is so beautiful! My own baby after nearly 4-year-old twins just turned 3 weeks old herself and your amazing pictures inspired me to take more pictures. She’s already changed so much. Thank you for sharing!

  14. QoB says:

    Her initials make me think of a famous Irish beverage: TK Red Lemonade. It is legendary. I assure you it is a compliment:)

  15. SarahB says:

    What a beautiful baby! Congratulations!

    And I am sorry about the shock to your system. Those first two weeks after my c-section…whew. I remember how excited I was when I finally had a day I didn’t cry and I was able to bend over to get a plate out of the dishwasher.

  16. Cara says:

    Oh, I’m so glad. Just so glad.

    Also, thankful for your twitter side bar. Not being on twitter, the lack Ocartz birth announcement in the days after she was born worried me. (But, since I can clearly remember my own newborn haze, not unduly.)I was so happy when I checked in to see tweets that indicated you were in the standard newborn mussiness.

  17. MJ says:

    So glad to hear from you, although from your Twitter sidebar I knew that Twyla had arrived. This loving more than one child must have something to do with the propagation of the species. And yes, being the parent of a newborn is indeed hard, but how wonderful to have her home right away instead of in the NICU. Now watch out, because in two weeks big sister Simone will suddenly start acting out in some way (like forgetting about toilet training if she is by any chance yet trained). Good luck in dealing with the next 20 or so years of sibling rivalry.

  18. Heather@YSP says:

    I am SO happy. Every single picture is it’s own awesome joy, although I particularly favor the tiny hat picture. Congrats to you, to Simone, to Twyla. Another beautiful baby, so sweet and squishy.

  19. kirsten says:

    I am so happy for you that she is here and healthy and looks adorable! I don’t do twitter, so I have been waiting eagerly for this post. Congratulations!
    It cracks me up that you mentioned REFLUX in the 3rd paaragraph. For me, reflux was the first word that tumbled out as I was pulling my hair out from all that screaming and lack of sleep. So to me, it sounds like you are handling this new baby thing with amazing grace.

  20. Amanda says:

    Congrats!!! I am following (not) closely (enough) behind in my own pregnancy-after-twin-loss-and-extreme-prematurity (33w5d today!), and it has been very inspiring to see the courage and wit with which you have dealt with the whole harrowing experience, as well as the TOTALLY GORGEOUS result! BUT … do you mean to tell me that full-size babies can have reflux too?!? Surely it can’t be true!!! ;) All the best in coping with the newborn stuff.

  21. Sarah says:

    Congratulations!!! She is absolutely beautiful!

    The second child thing is a hard adjustment. I think it is as hard as adjusting to the first but in a very different way, ways that take you utterly by surprise. But it is a wonderful process and I am sure by now you couldn’t imagine life with just Simone. Welcome to the world baby girl Twyla Kay!

  22. Erin says:

    Oh Alexa, what a beautiful baby. (Where did you get that tiny bowler hat??) Congratulations, my dear. I have been checking daily for updates and it is so lovely to see those pictures. I am thrilled for you and Scott and Simone.

  23. Joyce says:

    So beautiful! you are right to crow, and I love all of her moods. Thank you for sharing these and spreading your joy to at least one coast. Your writing brings me right back to all of these emotions, which I never want to lose.

  24. Ashley L says:

    Alexa, have you a tucker wedge with sling? It saved me (along with prevacid) with my first’s reflux problems. I’d velcro her in, then swaddle her on top of that, and she’d sleep much better. Fortunately my second does not seem to need it. If you are interested, PM me and I’ll ship it your way.

  25. Marlene says:

    Wowza. That is an uncommonly beautiful child! She looks plump and delicious and oh-so-cherishable. Now my hormones are swinging wildly, despite the 2 child mayhem already at my feet.

  26. Jessica says:

    WhaHOOOOOO! Twyla is a doll! Yep, babies are intense. Second baby was more intense for me because well I was older and more tired and I had suddenly 2 children to parent and I had to adjust a lot of what I did as a mom to make it all work. I cried a lot and told my doctor I was clinically depressed and she told me I was very tired. And she was right. How can a person be so gloriously happy and so completely done-in at the same time? It will get easier and Twyla will only get more beautiful.

  27. Gray girl says:

    Congratulations to you all! She is a bundle of charm.

    As an aside, I confess I envy you. I am one of those weird outliers where the arrival of another child has seemed to divide rather than multiply love. I am simply tapped out. Clearly my brain and emotions did not receive an important memo about adjusting.

  28. Katie says:

    Congratulations…oh my what a precious beautiful girl! The teensy weensey derby hat photo made my ovaries quiver. Best post ever on the subject of “how will I ever love another baby….”. And truly one of the most wonderous works of nature how families and hearts expand. xo-Katie

  29. sarah says:

    WOW! she is really, really beautiful. stone-cold cutie! congratulations, i’ve been wondering how you’ve been faring. i’m so glad this all ended so happily for you, what a relief! (you look great too, btw. love the glasses.) i’m a stranger, but i’ve totally been thinking of you and hoping for the best. congratulations again…she looks like a very smart, good baby.

  30. KDA says:

    Oh, my goodness!! She’s beautiful, and I’m not just saying that because she and my daughter have the same middle name. One hardly hears the name Kay anymore. Is she named after someone? My mother’s middle name was Kay.

  31. Rebecca says:

    Words cannot express how absolutely thrilled I am for you and your little family. Twyla is a VISION. I do see a little of Simone in some of the pictures as well. What a blessing.

  32. Carla says:

    Twyla is perfection! Congrats…the whole second baby being easier is a hoax. You’ve made it through the first three weeks and you are posting? You are some sort of goddess. I was happy to have showered daily and put on real pants at six weeks. You are well ahead of the curve. Bravo!

  33. Losh says:

    Newborns don’t get much cuter than this – what an absolute poppet!

    So happy that you made it to the other side and bagged yourself such a magnificant prize!

    Congratulations to you all, xx

  34. Laura says:

    She’s a T K O(h!) What a lucky, beautiful girl. Both of you! All of you! Congratulations, and enjoy all your happiness.

  35. This, Alexa, is beyond delightful. (Not the Sleep Hell part, of course. That always sucks donkey levels of balls. And a sympathetic shriek of FUUUUCK! from me re: reflux. Christ, I remember reflux.) I am thrilled beyond words by this post, and couldn’t be happier for you all. Congratulations!

  36. Rory says:

    Congratulations, Twyla is adorable!
    My little guy had reflux and a pharmacist told me to try an acidophilus capsule dissolved in milk/formula. It seemed to help us.

  37. Brookes4boys says:

    She is ADORABLE! I was so anxious for her safe arrival, stalking this website daily! I just re read this post because I was telling hubby about you and I wanted to ask… Was Simone suddenly ginormous to you once Twyla was born? I, too, was amazed after each delivery that I could suddenly love this new little person as much as the preceding little person but I could not get over how suddenly my little toddler (the preceding little person, of course) was suddenly HUGE! Like overnight they doubled in size! I know they just looked bigger in comparison to the newborn but I was amazed by it every.single.time!

  38. Mama Fuss says:

    Congrats, Alexa, Scott and Simone! Twyla is BEAUTIFUL and I am SO glad for you all! I am overjoyed to hear that there was no NICU stay and all is well!

  39. Shannon Kieta says:

    OMG…Alexa!!!I haven’t been on here in so long…I was floored when I logged on and saw that BEAUTIFUL baby girl on your page!!! The Most CONGRATULATIONS being sent to you sweetheart! I know how scary and hard that was to have another child. She is perfect and beautiful and makes your family complete! I know Simone is over the moon with a baby sister! May you all have many many years of joy and happiness. You are truly blessed! Love, Shannon!

  40. Paula says:

    I keep coming here to take a look at your wonderful fotos every once in a while when I want to feel some joy of life. It makes me so hopeful and moved. So wonderful to see this little perfect baby. Reminds me of the joy over 20 years ago when I held our son in my arms. And how proud I was to carry him around the hospital floors on the first few days, elder ladies taking a look and being reminded themselves. Giving birth to healthy children is the most wonderful experience in the world, yeah!

  41. LJ says:

    I’m currently 7 weeks pregnant with my second…my first was a 26-weeker. So scared and happy at the same time. I was so happy to see you and Twyla came out OK. “Muffled hope” is a great way to put it.

  42. Carrie says:

    i saw you at target today, you and simone looking far more hip than i could ever pull off. i wanted to say something, but i thought i’d respect your privacy, what with you being a celebrity and all. and your new baby is beautiful!! contgrats!

  43. Julie says:

    Perfect words echo my less eloquent thoughts…how does that work? How can they both inhabit one whole of my heart? So happy to see all is well and as it should be. Enjoy!

  44. Cybele says:

    Ooh, you got me all clucky, which is quite an achievement. Lately, I have been adamant that I am not nearly ready enough to go for round two after the adventures with the first (26 weeks, a couple of close calls in the NICU, home oxygen and yup, reflux), but I just had my first clucky notion reading your delicious post.
    Sleep whenever you can and enjoy!
    Thank you,
    Cybele

  45. You have been on my mind so I finally popped by to see if there was anything I may have missed here. I’m sure this has everything to do with parenting two, now, but would love to know that all is well with you and your girls.

    Thinking of you.

  46. Barb says:

    Ive read your blog off and on and am in the middle of your book. I just wanted to say that I SO had similar experiences with night hospital staff (though it as bad as yours) and I had the same things said to me about labor! In my case, I told them the epidural was gone, and they didn’t believe me. Said I should be screaming more and not talking if it was. I said it was my German stoicism. Bastards. Just wanted to share and say thank you for the book. I have anxiety issues as well and am in awe of your coping.

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