I dropped off the face of the earth. I didn’t mean to, but there it is. In mid-August we welcomed Baby Miles. My pregnancy was completely uneventful. I exercised until I was about 38 weeks and then I just couldn’t do it anymore. But I think the exercise made a big difference in making the last trimester bearable. It was hot and I definitely didn’t love being huge in July and August, especially when chasing after 2 year old Max on a playground. But I didn’t have the carpal tunnel or any swelling or any acid reflux this go around. I’m not gonna say I love being pregnant – I do not. But this pregnancy was a lot easier and more pleasant than my first one.
I had a scheduled c-section for Miles. I just wasn’t interested in trying for a VBAC and both my RE and my OB recommended against it given the events surrounding Max’s birth and the visibility of my internal scar. The other benefit to scheduling the c-section was that we could arrange for Max’s beloved nanny, E, to come take care of him while I was in the hospital. E left us in June to go to grad school, but she came back and stayed in our apartment for three nights to take care of Max and I think it made a huge difference for all of us.
The morning I was to head into the hospital, I woke at 3am with what I thought were gas pains. I had a hard time falling back asleep, and I actually never did. I was just so worried about Max and how he was going to handle these huge changes. Around 4am, the gas pain got a little more intense. Around 5am, when I got up to start getting ready, I started to notice a pattern…. Yup, I was in labor. By the time we headed out to the hospital around 6am, I was having contractions every 3 to 4 minutes. They were very uncomfortable, but manageable. Man, was I PISSED. This was supposed to be my nice, no labor pains birth. On the bright side, at least we know that Miles wanted to come out on that day. At the hospital they hooked me up to a monitor and confirmed that I was having regular, strong contractions. But I wasn’t dilated at all. After what felt like forever, they finally got me hooked up to some IV fluids (my doc thought that the labor might have started because I hadn’t had anything to drink after midnight, as per orders), and that reduced the pain a little bit.
They do a thing at my hospital now called “gentle c-section.” This is a silly name, but the purpose is to provide a few things that make the birth more like a vaginal birth. We opted to do it. A little before 8, they brought me back into the OR and the whole situation couldn’t have been more different from the emergency c I had with Max. Everyone was calm and in a cheerful mood. Getting the epidural was a piece of cake and not remotely painful. It did take awhile for me to get sufficiently numb, but the lead anesthesiologist was like, “I got this,” when I started to complain about discomfort and a few seconds later I was totally numb. It was a little scary and creepy to think about what they were doing – not going through labor and multiple hours of pushing meant that I was more with it and clear headed. I said something to Jeeves about how what they were doing down there was “gross” and my OB yelled at me, “This is the miracle of birth, Megan! It’s not gross!” And we all laughed. Then, just as they pulled Miles out, they dropped the drape down so we could see him (but not see all my gross guts). It was a beautiful sight, to see him come right out, umbilical cord still attached, and I’ll never forget it. They cut the cord, quickly checked him, and within moments, he was on my chest. I didn’t get to hold Max while we were in the OR, so this was another big difference this go around. Poor Miles really wanted to nurse, but I couldn’t really do it given my position and the fact that they were putting me back together. As soon as we were back in recovery, I was able to properly latch him on and he nursed like a sweet little champ.
He weighed in at 8 lbs, and he was long, just like his brother. From day one, he’s been so different from Max. Max was the Angry Whopper. Miles has been a cool customer. Once again, nursing was a problem. But I expected it and was able to have a lactation consultant come in right away. She got me squared away and so, for the most part, nursing went much better this time. Miles was sleepy and a bit jaundiced – he never needed to go under the lights, but he was pretty yellow for awhile and it took some time to work that out.
Adjusting to having two kids has been…. hard. Miles is almost 8 months old and it’s still hard. Max actually handled it quite well. I’m pretty into Janet Lansbury and I relied heavily on her advice for how to help a toddler adjust to a sibling. Watching Max and Miles’s relationship develop has been a sweet gift. They really, really like each other. In fact, I’d venture to say that Max is hands down Miles’s favorite person. Max thinks Miles is pretty great too.
But there are things I didn’t consider. For instance, I assumed that once we got through the initial adjustment to having another kid around, everything would be fine with Max. But actually, anytime Miles conquers a new milestone and becomes more of a person and less of a baby blob, Max struggles. The great thing is that Max takes it out on me and Jeeves, and never on Miles. But that doesn’t make it any more fun. For instance, when Miles started eating solids at 6 months, Max began a 2 week period of snotty boundary testing and general grumping. Then he adjusted and things were good for a bit. Last weekend Miles started to crawl. Cue Max having tantrums for no discernible reason and throwing toys. In retrospect, this makes perfect sense. It just didn’t occur to me until we had a second child that the adjustment period is more than the first month or two. Yesterday’s disaster was that I introduced Miles to water via a cheapo sippy cup and Max really wanted his own sippy cup. Sigh.
One especially tricky phase has been sleeping accommodations. We live in a 2 bedroom apartment, and while we will hopefully move eventually, it’s entirely likely that we will always be in a 2 bedroom and the boys will have to share. I think there are a lot of pros to having them share a room. But right now it’s a lot of cons. Max is, as Jeeves said, the Michael Phelps of sleep. He is a really great sleeper, Olympic caliber. Once he learned how to fall asleep on his own, it was smooth sailing. I had high hopes for Miles – he learned how to fall asleep on his own with no help and no tears – he just did it. But unlike Max, who learned how to fall asleep and stay asleep till morning (or at least get himself back to sleep), Miles tends to wake in the wee hours. He doesn’t wake up crying, he talks, burbles, grumbles, and eventually he will either go back to sleep or he will start crying hard because he wants me to come hold him and nurse him. Sometimes Max sleeps through it, sometimes not. Conversely, a few times Max woke up and cried for us and wanted to come sleep in our bed (something he never, ever wanted before Miles moved into his room). We’re working it out, but it’s a lot trickier than I anticipated.
Add onto this that Jeeves’s work has never been busier, I am constantly drowning in laundry and dishes, I am tired, the kids have traded off being sick all winter long, that I myself was extremely sick in January with sinus and ear infections, and my own job has become a mix of deadly dull and aggravating (but also extremely flexible for when the kids are sick which makes finding a new job seem very unwise), and what you have is a struggling mom.
Still, getting to do the newborn thing, this time with a baby who only really cried if he was hungry or had a dirty diaper, was, dare I say it, kind of fun. And, more importantly, Miles completes us. It feels like he was always in our family, just not physically present until August, and I think we all feel really lucky to have him. But I have to say, I am done with infertility. We are so incredibly lucky that we got to have this family, so incredibly lucky that treatment worked for us. But I'm glad I don't have to go see an RE again.