family of four

Well, here we are. Over a week into this two-kids thing, and so far, everyone is still alive. Success!

I have to say, I’m pretty surprised at how well it’s been going. I know that this is mainly due to the fact that we have 250% more help than we did the last time we had a newborn. And man, it’s been nice.

When Quinn was born, it was just Jeremy and I. We had no idea what we were doing and it seriously freaked us out. This time, my mom and Jeremy’s parents are all here to help. My mom has been staying with us and doing all the odds and ends around the house. She cleans, cooks, does laundry, runs to the grocery store for us and basically anything else we need. The woman never sits down. Jeremy’s parents have been bringing over dinners and helping with random daycare picks ups for Quinn when we can’t get out which is a huge help.

And having all of them around to shower Quinn with attention has been extremely helpful in easing her into this transition. She loves having a house full of people on the nights when everyone is over for dinner. And it’s been great to have extra hands around to look after Quinn or Ruby when our attention needs to be focused on just one of them.

But, none of this would have been half as easy as it’s been without Jeremy. He is amazing. He has really been looking after me the past week and making sure I’m taking all the time I need to rest and heal from childbirth. In the mornings, he lets me sleep in, he doesn’t let me lift a finger around the house, he takes Quinn out every single day and keeps her busy so that Ruby and I can rest, he even went to Target the other day to buy me gigantic maxi pads and more nursing tank tops. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. He’s my hero.

All of this has made me feel extremely spoiled. To say I am grateful for all of the support is an understatement.

Here are a few other questions people have asked me since Ruby’s arrival:

How was this birth compared to the last?

I’m still trying to find time to write the birth story before it gets foggy. I’ll get to it eventually. But basically, in a nutshell, it was fast. I knew it would be, but it still took us by surprise. Luckily, I was able to have another unmedicated birth. But honestly, I wouldn’t have had time to get anything even if I wanted to because she was born about 10 minutes after I got to the hospital.

I feel extremely blessed that much like the entire pregnancy, I had absolutely zero complications this time. Basically, the contractions came, we got to the hospital, I pushed about 4 times and she was born perfectly healthy. I didn’t need anything, except six stitches and some Motrin afterwards.

When I tell people this, the first thing they ask is, “Oh, so it was a lot easier?”

No. No, it was not easier, just faster. Let me just clarify, that in no way was it easier. Except that this time, I didn’t need to push for three hours and I didn’t have a retained placenta. It was intense, crazy and hard as hell. And it hurt. There was absolutely nothing peaceful or serene about it. There was a lot of swearing, a lot of me saying, “No, I can’t do this. HELP me!” and as soon as she was born, I said how happy I was that I was never going to have to do that again.

The recovery this time has been ok. I am feeling much better this time around thanks to all the help and rest I’m able to get. But you just forget how much physical trauma your body goes through until you do it again. There’s non-stop bleeding, stitches (which I accidentally popped open 3 days after I was home), hemorrhoids, cracked nipples and tons of postpartum uterine contractions that are way stronger the second time around. Ha, other than that, everything is great!

What is Ruby’s personality like compared to Quinn’s?

So far, Ruby is every parent’s dream newborn baby: super-chill, super-sleepy and ridiculously sweet.

Ruby doesn’t cry much. If she does, it’s for about 5 seconds and it’s only right before I feed her. She loves to eat and as long as she is fed, she’s pretty happy. She doesn’t really fuss. I can put her in the swing, bouncy seat, car seat, etc. and she just hangs out. We can eat dinner as a family every night because she is happy to swing and nap while we eat. She doesn’t wake up crying. When I wake up at night to feed her, it’s not to the sounds of her screaming, but to her smacking her lips and making kitty cat sounds.

She loves to snuggle, loves to be swaddled and doesn’t even mind when Quinn screams in her face. In fact, I think she kind of likes it.

Everyone tells me that she is really too young to make any assumptions about her personality. I know in a week, she will wake up a bit more and some things will be different. But, I could tell Quinn’s personality from very early on and I can tell certain things about Ruby’s too. It’s not good or bad, just different.

I had a pretty hard time with the newborn phase when Quinn was born. I just couldn’t understand why parents loved it so much. After about 4 months, Quinn was a really good baby. But she was a pretty fussy newborn. She was spirited, just as she is now. She cried every time she would wake up- full-fledged, blood curdling cries. Waking up to someone screaming for over 6 months was beyond stressful.

Quinn wasn’t one of those babies that would sleep if I took her out. She would never nap anywhere except her crib or in the Bjorn. I couldn’t put her down anywhere or she would start fussing after 5 minutes. She was alert all the time, which was a blessing and a curse. I didn’t think much about all of these things at the time. I just chalked it up to normal, newborn territory and went into survival mode.

I’m not sure if Ruby’s personality is that much different than Quinn’s or if I just feel much more confident this time around. Either way it’s nice.

A friend at work said it perfectly when she said, “My second baby just spoke to me in a different way than my first.” And that’s exactly how I feel.

How is this newborn experience different from the last?

When Quinn was born, I had crazy, panicked thoughts of worry and anxiety. I couldn’t watch the news. I couldn’t even cross the street with her without thinking horrifying thoughts of all the bad things that could happen to us if a car came around the corner. The thoughts I had were very primal and scary.

I really haven’t had any of that this time around. I don’t bother with the news this time and most of my thoughts have remained pretty positive and humorous. Of course, I’ve had a few tearful, hormonal moments, usually when Quinn is having a bad day, or I’m tired, but for the most part, I feel really confident. Probably a little too confident. I know at some point, I am going to get my ass handed to me, and I’m ok with that. But for now, I’m just enjoying my blissful ignorance.

With Quinn, it took me about 6 weeks before I even realized I could place her on a blanket on the floor and walk away to use the bathroom and she would be fine until I got back. Now, I leave Ruby on the floor all the time to do random things. I bring her in bed with me in the mornings after Jeremy leaves so we can nap together. I never did that with Quinn. While I’m still mindful, I just have a lot less worry about everything.

Also, this time around, I am allowing myself the time I need to rest and heal from childbirth. When I was on maternity leave with Quinn, I felt like I constantly needed to be doing something to be a good mom. I was always running around, cleaning my house, going to Mom’s group meetings, taking her to new places all the time. I wasn’t resting at all and was totally focused on getting her to experience as much as she could in a short amount of time. I feel that because of this, my body took forever to heal and I was riddled with anxiety.

I know better now. I have no plans to do anything for the next 10.5 weeks other than soak up all the sweetness of this baby and rest as much as I can before I go back to work. I have zero guilt about it this time. I know how quickly it’s going to go by.

How are you all sleeping?

Knock on wood, but so far so good. The first few nights, she was up to eat every 1-2 hours which was hard. But lately, she’s been sleeping good 3-5 hour stretches at night.  The other night, I actually got 11 hours of sleep! It was broken up by three feedings, but still. I can’t remember the last time I got that much sleep. I know it was before Quinn was born. I think I might be the most well-rested new mom on the planet.

Again, I have to thank Jeremy and my Mom for this. They have been great about getting Quinn ready in the mornings and off to school or out of the house and busy on the days she is home. And Quinn usually sleeps pretty well through the night and doesn’t wake up until 7am, so I have to give her props as well. They all make it easier for me to rest.

How is Quinn handling her new role as a big sister?

Better than we thought, especially the last few days.

She was really excited the morning I was in labor that her baby sister was finally coming. She was great about seeing us in the hospital, and she was good the two days we were gone, thanks to her Grandparents.

When we got home, there was a bit of normal, three-year old fussiness. She was tired, overly-excited we were all home, and didn’t understand the whole nursing thing as well as I thought. There was a tinge of jealousy and she wanted to know why she couldn’t nurse too. She wanted more of my attention and it took her a while to understand why I couldn’t be as active with her, or why I was just sitting on a couch all day with a baby.

But just a few days later and she is doing great. She loves to sit with me and nurse her baby dolls while I nurse her sister. She can not walk by her sister without stopping to give her hugs and kisses and has gotten a little bit better about not trying to crush her head in the process. No real jealousy issues yet and we’re basically just trying to be patient as we teach her to be gentle with her affection.

I think a lot of the success so far has to do with their 3.5 year age difference. I can’t imagine trying to do this with Quinn a year ago. It would have been a whole different situation.

The other day, Ruby was fussing a tiny bit in the swing and Quinn walked over, sang her a lullaby (actually, she screamed it in her face) and rocked the swing (kind of hard) until Ruby fell asleep. It was kind of amazing to watch. Good thing this baby likes loud noises.

When will you start running again?

You know, if someone asked me this a few weeks ago, I would have said something stupid like, 3 weeks postpartum. But now I know that’s not going to happen. And because of the popped stitches, I don’t want to risk not healing properly, so I’m totally ok with waiting until my 6-week appointment to get the green light. I just want to make sure I don’t unnecessarily damage anything.

Although, after a week and half of lounging in the house, I am starting to feel a bit restless. And even though I have already lost 15lbs of the 25 I gained while pregnant, I am starting to feel kind of sluggish and out of shape. I think I will start some light weight lifting and walking/hiking during the day as soon as Ruby is big enough to fit in the carrier, probably in another week or so.

Thanks again to everyone for all the well-wishes, private messages, emails and good thoughts. We are still feeling so blessed and happy with our new normal. Everything seems to fit just right for some reason and we’re excited for this new journey together.