I’m going to start this post by saying Eden and Xander were very much planned. I don’t know if that makes a difference to anything. BUT they both came about MUCH, MUCH, quicker than expected- so both times we were shocked. Perhaps naively, we assumed it would take a while to conceive- especially after being on the contraceptive pill for over 10 years. I assumed it would take time to “get out of your system”- Even a nurse told me that at my pill check after we’d married and she asked me if we were thinking of starting a family. We even worried we might have difficulty- because you never really know do you? We just assumed it wouldn’t be easy and quick- we thought it would be a process. Wrong. Two weeks after deciding we would stop “NOT trying to have a baby” I was pregnant with Eden. Don’t get me wrong I (we) feel extremely fortunate it happened this way, but we were still a bit shell-shocked and I was a bit bummed about a summer with no booze. I thought I had at least another 3-4 months of that. When Eden was a year we thought we might like a sibling for him, so again decided to not try and not have a baby… surely this time it wouldn’t be so quick- must have been a fluke. Two weeks later I peed on a stick and two under two was very much happening. And again I didn’t feel ready… not that I’m sure you ever can be.
There were so many emotions that came along with those lines on the stick, second time around. Of course, it goes without saying I was delighted. Eden was going to be a big brother. I was going to get a tiny newborn again to cuddle. I wondered the sex? Planned our future as a four. But hold on. This also signified the end of us as a three. Our little team that over the last year had learnt how to do all this together and muddled through. So much love, so much wonder at our baby boy and how he was growing up. That was all going to change now? With a newborn entering the fold. We were the three musketeers. And when Daddy was at work it was just Eden and I and we had fallen into a happy little routine. He came eveywhere with me, my little buddy and I couldn’t help feel this was going to be disrupted by no.2s arrival. Would I still be able to play building blocks for hours on end or would I be tied up washing, sterilising, pumping, sleeping and all the other things that come along with a newborn? FUCK what if it was twins?!
The emotions of pregnancy manifested as lingering in Edens bedroom long after he had gone to sleep- sometimes crying. Sometimes telling him I was sorry that in a few months Mummy was going to be VERY busy. Telling him he’d always be my baby. Just re-living this makes me emotional. I’m remembering with face-smacking clarity that I realised how grown up he was. And how quickly he was going to grow from now on with the presence of an actual baby again. That tiny blue-eyed boy was only one year old himself and now he was going to be a big brother. There was nothing ‘big’ about him.
When pregnant the first time around I raced to the finish line. Couldn’t wait to meet him. This time I could wait. I could saviour the last few days as just us. The summer of 2016 was one to cherish. We went on holiday, we spoilt Eden, we hugged him tighter. We watched him intently knowing that soon our eyes would be elsewhere. It was bliss. But change was coming…
Then there was this little baby growing inside me. Innocent in all this. I felt terrible for him. Would I love him as much? How can I fit him in? I apologiesed to my belly time and time again. I’m sorry little baby that I haven’t taken my pregnancy vitamins- I’ve been charging around with a toddler. I’m sorry little baby that you are moving into his old room and he got a newly decorated ‘big boy’ room. I’m sorry that when you are here I’m not going to be able to sit and lay for hours on end like I did with him. I felt like I was giving him less. I’d seen it all before, been there done that. My husband came to all my midwife appointments first time around- this time he didn’t. I’m sorry the first time you kicked I didn’t run to your daddy and say “OMG feel this”. But instead I smiled quietly. You were going to be so cool. You had a calmer, more confident mummy. You would have the benefit of experience. And you know what- you will have him too. An older brother- something he never had. Someone to play with, watch and learn from. He had things you didn’t, but you have things he didn’t too.
When we found out number 2 was a boy I was thrilled. I’d always imagined I’d have two boys. And Eden- being a boys boy was going to adore a little sidekick. 21 months apart. There were lots of positives of a second baby and they would grow up together and experience life as a twosome. Think of all the adventures. Much more to gain than to lose. More positives than negatives. Change is good, progress is good, we can’t stay the same forever.
I needn’t have worried about not loving him as much. Xander arrived perfectly. Life wasn’t going to be the same but it was going to be better. Yes, I cried when I went into labour because that moment had finally come- the end of an era. The start of a four. It’s a bit like when you leave a job you really like to go onto something better. You are excited for your new role but also a bit sad to leave your old one and all the things you have come to know. I said goodbye to Eden as if I was leaving for Australia. The next time I saw him we’d be different. He wasn’t sad he was excited to meet his brother. And so was I. I loved that new baby as soon as I laid eyes on him. All my worries melted away. Everyone said you would love the second just as much- but when you’re in a bubble with your first and only child you wonder if that’s possible.
8 months on I wouldn’t change this set up for the world. Watching the two boys bond and play is the loveliest thing I have ever witnessed. We can’t remember life before Xander. We can’t remember ever being a family without him in it. He’s completed us. I’d tell my stupid pregnant self to stop being so stupid and emotional- everything is going to be ok.