Wow. Shame, shame! I've been MIA from writing for over 2 months! While it was for a very, very good reason, let me amend that now.
SO... it has been a busy past couple of weeks. Contrary to the rumors that the earth has swallowed me whole, I, in fact, have given birth to my second daughter, Maya. And I've been immersed in the blissful period of bonding with my baby, albeit with frequent interruptions for diaper changes. 'Bliss' does not even begin to describe this time. I cannot stop kissing her; when I ought to be catching up on rest as she sleep, I find myself just staring at her in wonderment.
One would think that after having a previous high-risk pregnancy and one child, I would be a pro at this point. There ought to be no more surprises, no lessons right? Heck no! A big lesson I learned is this: there is no "by the book" even when it comes to your second pregnancy and child birth. For one, people have said that second pregnancies and labors are a lot easier. This was not my experience at all. Perhaps because I'm a bit *cough* older, all the bodily aches and pains, and nausea seem to be more unbearable this second time around. As for the labor... Que horror! It wasn't fast, and it wasn't easy. I was in tears with every contraction before the epidural was administered. I was sooo tired too, and the minutes seem to drag on by that, I kid you not, I had asked my doctor for a rain check on giving birth. No dice, of course. (A special shout-out to my wonderful husband for not letting me escape, and for standing by me, and cheering me on, even as I almost broke his finger with my tight grip during the active labor!)
On the emotional front, I've heard so many stories about how scared women are that they won't feel the same love for their 2nd as they did their first, only to (fortunately) find out how ridiculous this fear is. As for me, I never felt that fear. I knew even when Maya was still in utero that I would have no trouble loving her. I had other feelings - mostly guilt and inadequacy. I felt that I didn't sing/laugh/read/talk enough to Maya (in utero) as I did when I was pregnant with her ate Tamar. I felt guilty that I was so busy at work or running after Tamar that I was missing the baby's kick counts, jabs and other movements, which provided the simple joys for my 1st pregnancy. Towards the end, I felt bad that I could no longer lift my toddler because of my burgeoning belly. Seriously, I felt guilty that I didn't worry enough!! Crazy, right? Then Maya came out a healthy baby, tipping at 8 lbs and 5 oz, hungry and with a good set of lungs on her, and I knew that all those feelings were probably mostly hormonal; otherwise, they were all forgiven - by her and by me. So, yes, to expand on that lesson learned: pregnancy and child birth are such personal experiences no matter how many women you swap stories with, and in spite of sporting the same battle scars.
Right off the bat, and even just based on a single grainy photo, everyone has started speculating on who Maya looks like. I do see a lot of my first born's features on her. She even makes the same squeaks and snorts that Tamar used to make when she was a few weeks old. But she is Maya. She's good at sleeping and eating, and she is quite a calm baby. It's too soon to tell her eye color, but no matter if it's blue, brown, or black, she'll always be beautiful in my eyes. And did I mention she has gorgeous dimples?!
As for Tamar? She still takes my breath away each time she grins. I still cannot stop kissing her when she sits still long enough to let me kiss her. Now, there are two of them, and a lot of love to go around. A friend of mine put things in perspective for me when she said that having another child can be likened to lighting a second candle; It doesn't diminish the brightness of the first.
And yes, my world just got a lot brighter.