Childrearing

10 Things Nobody Tells You About Baby #2

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Towards the end of my second pregnancy, I did a lot of researching. Did I say researching?  I meant re-searching. Searching and re-searching the same keywords on Google: “second pregnancy earlier labor.” Unfortunately, no matter how hard I searched, Google would not promise me that my second baby would come on or before her due date. I can’t remember when somebody told me that second babies come earlier, but that’s one of those things – like that one time your boss told you “we’re thinking about making this a permanent job” or when your mom said “maybe you can get a pony someday”– that you want so badly to believe that you will ignore all evidence to the contrary.

That’s not the only thing that surprised me about second babies. Without further ado, a listicle: Ten Things Nobody Told Me (or maybe they did, and I just didn’t listen!) About Second Babies.

1. Delivery isn’t going to be earlier.

The thing is, delivery might be earlier. In the end, my second baby came just hours after her due date, whereas my first baby had to be induced at 41 weeks. But when you imagine second babies coming earlier, you imagine them coming, fully formed and with no NICU needed, right around the time the third trimester starts. Somehow, the thought of the second baby coming earlier morphs itself in your mind to thinking that you’re going to get to skip out on that end-of-third-trimester time-slows-to-a-crawl everything-is-awful get-out-of-me-baby-I-mean-it-right-this-second-I’M-NOT-KIDDING time. Because of this, believing that the second baby will come earlier actually makes that time worse. Even if your baby does come earlier, it’s still going to feel like it comes later.

 2. Delivery is going to be way, way easier.

Here’s where we get to the good news. My first labor was terrible. Without going into too much detail, let me just say that I was shitting my pants on the regular for the next couple of years. I pushed for two-and-a-half hours with Baby #1, seven minutes with Baby #2.  I assumed they would tell me that Baby #2 was a teensy five-pound thing, based on how easily she just slipped out of me, but no, she was almost nine pounds, just like her sister.  I don’t want to think too much about what this means for my biology — that nine pounds of baby can just shoot right out –but whatever. I’ll take it.

3. You think two hands is enough, but it’s not.

“How many kids are you going to have?” people inappropriately ask, and the quick answer is, “Two!  One for each hand.” Well, that’s a crock of shit. Double-fisting kids doesn’t work like double-fisting drinks. You may not realize it when you only have one, but here’s a little secret: one kid takes up two hands.

Let’s imagine that the difficulty of taking care of one kid is represented by the variable X. Having passed high school algebra, you can feel fairly confident that two kids will then turn the difficulty into 2X.  But you’ve got a baby genius on your hands (I mean, come on, who doesn’t?), one that prefers calculus. Your baby thinks in logarithms, and so the difficulty level is actually X squared. Have fun!

4. You might think about giving one kid, or both, up for adoption.

I’m one of those women who doesn’t feel…anything…when the baby comes out. As such, when Baby #1 came to visit us at the hospital, and her face crumbled with sadness when she realized that she was no longer my one and only, my instinct was to take it all back. I saw my sweet Baby #1 trying to hold in the tears, and felt like I had made a terrible mistake. I’ve had friends for whom it was the opposite – they were so overwhelmed with love for Baby #2 that they temporarily lost interest in Baby #1.

Don’t worry, you won’t give either one up for adoption (probably) and you have room in your heart for both (certainly).

5. Grocery stores will never be the same.

You hear that?  That was the sound of your jaw hitting the floor when you realized, suddenly and unexpectedly, that shopping carts only hold one kid.

There are workarounds. You might end up putting the infant car seat into the “for groceries only” section of the grocery cart, which will make people snicker at you because ha ha you’re buying a baby, but more importantly, leaves you hardly any room for the actual groceries you actually need to buy your actual expanding family. You might wear the new baby in a sling, unless you have a jerk of a baby like mine who screams at the mere mention of baby-wearing. You might force Baby #1 to just learn to walk already.  It’s not going to be elegant, whatever you decide, and yet you’re going to feel like a genius for mastering it.

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