Friday, September 3, 2004

Second Thoughts

Second Thoughts
Stacey Greenberg

When I first found out I was pregnant I was sure it was a boy. In fact, I wanted a boy. All boys. I loved Satchel so much, I wanted more of him. Then something happened. I started entertaining ideas of a girl. Maybe it was the ten thousand people who said, “Oh you have a boy already, I bet you want a girl this time.” Or maybe it was the insanely cute baby girl clothes I had to walk through to get to the boy’s clothes at Old Navy. Or maybe it was that stupid ring test. Not to mention the stupid, stupid Chinese calendar. I mistook my extra weepiness and my hyped-up libido as further signs of a girl. Then my infallible online psychic friend, Huey, said for sure it was a girl. So I bought into it hook, line, and sinker. Even my best friend caved. She was so sure it was a girl, she bet me her beloved minivan! I had my girl name all picked out, Piper Keiko. Piper and Satchel. Just perfect. I couldn’t come up with a boy name that was quite as pleasing, but I figured odds were, I wouldn’t need one. Hence, my husband’s name choice, Jiro (Jeer-o, Japanese for second born son) Coltrane, winning out in the end.

So here I am, the mother of two boys. After the initial shock wore off, I was quite pleased with my newest little guy. I told myself I wouldn’t know what to do with a girl anyway. I went back to my earlier notion of wanting all boys and made peace with myself. I was watching an Oprah show was about men who cheat on their wives. The couple that filled most of the hour had their two grown sons in tow. When Oprah asked the oldest how he felt about his father’s infidelity, he said something along the lines of, “I couldn’t understand how he could betray the most beautiful, wonderful woman in the world, the woman I saw as perfect—my mother.” I thought about that man, and his love for his mother, and felt satisfied knowing I might be so lucky as to have Satchel and Jiro love me like that one day.

I still have a minor heartache over the loss of my girl. The last time I was at Old Navy, I left in near tears. While I was in labor, I told Warren over and over that he better not ever get me pregnant again, but I am starting to wonder if I might not give it one more shot.

Labor and Delivery
The midwives told me to count on a labor that was half as long as my first, which was about thirty- six hours. Eighteen hours actually didn’t seem so bad. I ended up with twelve to fourteen hours of latent labor, two hours of active labor, and about ten minutes of pushing. I’ve got to say that those two hours of active labor were hell, but it sure was nice having it over so “quickly.” I think if I would have known it was actually going to be that quick and would have refrained from mentally telling myself that I had HOURS to go, it might have been even better. Despite the urgency (and pain) of those two hours, getting through without tearing or hemorrhaging like I did with Satchel was just lovely. It is amazing how much quicker my body got back to “normal” this time. I highly recommend second births!

If you read Fertile Ground #1, then you know that my first go at breastfeeding got off to a rough start. I probably would have died with a big, milky bang had it not been for the help of my best friend and midwives. This time things were much easier. I experienced all of the phases, (soreness, engorgement, etc.) but for a fraction of the time. By day three, Jiro had pretty much perfected his latch and earned the nickname “Milk Monkey.” I didn’t even need to bust out the Lansinoh this time around. I did however, discover a new product called “Soothies.” Soothies are little thin gel packs that look like breast pads. They are reusable, stick directly on your boobs, and produce a heavenly cooling sensation. After just three weeks, my milk supply self-regulated to the point that I had very little leaking. (With Satchel, I had to wear breast pads for at least six months.) I can even sleep on my stomach. However, since I am whipping out my boobs almost constantly to appease the milk monkey, I am finding it hard to want to wear a bra. I pretend like no one notices, like I did in college. I’m pretty sure this horrifies Warren, especially when I get the occasional milk spots on my t-shirt, but hey, I’m on maternity leave. Why not let it all hang out?

I am hesitant to write anything on this subject dare I jinx myself, but my little Milk Monkey is a great sleeper. I have been sleeping with him in the guest room and Warren has been sleeping with Satchel in our bedroom. Jiro usually does 3-4 hour, sometimes 5-6, stretches and nurses in the side-lying position without fully waking up. I have found that if I can go without changing his diaper, which is guaranteed to wake him up, I am almost guaranteed a full night’s sleep. For a while Jiro was the poop master, but now, amazingly, he has started saving up his poops for early morning, so I rarely change a nighttime diaper. Another trick I have learned, thanks in part to The No Cry Sleep Solution and general exhaustion, is not to shove my boob in Jiro’s mouth after every little peep. In his lighter sleep cycles he is quite noisy, but he is asleep. By waiting it out, I have discovered that he can easily put himself back to sleep. Hence, my lovely 5-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep most nights.

Big Brother
Satchel has adjusted amazingly well to our new addition. Definitely the first few days were trying. Satchel regressed a bit and wanted to be held a lot. He started waking up at night, inconsolable, crying for me. Even when I held him, he still cried. And he wanted to nurse again. Somehow we muddled through, and tried to give Satchel as much attention as possible while keeping his daily routine intact. As far as the nighttime problems, I had a talk with him and explained that I needed to sleep in another room with Jiro, but that I still loved him very much, his daddy would be in the bed with him, and he could come see me first thing in the morning. Amazingly, this worked. He still asks to be carried, but not as much, and he enjoys holding Jiro, or just sitting next to us while Jiro nurses. When Satchel asked if he could “eat Mommy’s boobies,” I told him that he got to eat them for 20 months and now it was his brother’s turn. He accepted this and then asked if he could eat Daddy’s boobies. I said, “Sure!” I am also finding that Satchel is learning how to care for his little brother. I have caught him patting Jiro on the head and saying, “It’s ok. It’s ok.” when he cries. It doesn’t get much cuter than that. However, Satchel still likes to test his limits. One minute he might be kissing brother, but the next he might smack him on the head, throw a toy at him, or try to sit on him. Fortunately these episodes are becoming fewer and farther between. I think it is fair to say that Satchel has probably forgotten what life was like before he had a little brother.

The Real Deal
Things are going well and we have gotten into a bit of a routine, but they are far from perfect. I have definitely lost my cool on several occasions and sometimes having a very needy newborn and a very active two-year-old are more than I can handle. Sometimes I just want someone else to be in charge. If Satchel weren’t in school during the week, I’d be frazzled beyond belief. I purposely decided to not interrupt his normal routine for his well-being and mine. For the first few days of Jiro’s life, I would freak out if Warren left me alone in the living room with both kids. On Memorial Day when Jiro was about five weeks old, Satchel’s school was closed and Warren had to work. I completely panicked. I had no idea what I would do with both kids all day. (Luckily, Marlinee came to the rescue and invited us swimming. And my friend DeSha stepped in as the official toddler entertainer of the day.) As the weeks passed, I tried to do more things with both kids and it did get easier and less frightening.

For the first time in two years, Warren got an out-of-town work assignment. An eight week dig. As I write this I am in the middle of week two. It has been crazy. Sleeping has definitely been the hardest part. I am going back and forth between sleepless nights buried underneath two boys and sleepless nights playing musical beds. The fact that my two-year-old is waking up more than my two-month-old is more than I can stand sometimes. Starting my day at 4:30am is not fun.

Some days are good and I think, “Hey I can do this.” When the house is clean, the laundry is done, and I sneak in a nap, I start having navy blue minivan fantasies and long to be a stay-at-home-mama for real. I strut around with Jiro in the sling, plan dinner menus, and smile at the other mamas in Target who are shopping with their kids at 9:00am like I am in the club. Other days I just want to crawl in a hole. One day I had my ATM card eaten even though I’ve had the same code for five years and used the secret code countless times. The same day I came home to discover that I’d left the oven on for three hours. Many days I have pondered getting my tubes tied. I have wanted to throw things and throttle my husband for leaving me. Thankfully my mom has been coming by the in evenings to help with bed and bath time and my friends have let me cry on their shoulders and bitch and moan to my heart’s content. Mothersville has also been a haven for me on the days when I just didn’t want to be alone.

I think I must have blocked out how much work newborns are when I got pregnant. It has been an adjustment getting back in the groove of having a little person attached to me at all times. But overall it has been worth it. No question. Just one whiff of Jiro’s head or one grin from him and it’s all good.

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