Seeing how we don’t have Lana’s 12 month well-check for another couple weeks, I won’t be able to do her “official” 12 month post until we get those stats. So to honor her 1st birthday, I’ll instead go with a post that is roughly 365 days overdue. But you guys should be used to my extreme tardiness with this stuff by now, though. Right…?
When I got pregnant for the second time, I had no idea what to expect as far as our new family dynamic. I think I just kind of assumed 2 kids, 2 of everything that fell under the general umbrella of “stuff they need”. It didn’t take me long to realize that was 100% inaccurate.
Before Lana was born, I felt pretty good about having everything we needed for another newborn, since all of Della’s stuff was only 2ish years old and still in perfect working order. We had a crib, an infant car seat, newborn clothes (even though i had to go out and get a bunch of warm-weather girl pj’s once she arrived since hers and della’s seasons are just that much off), I got my pump out and dusted it off, washed all the bottles, washed all the playmat/baby carrier/baby bed paraphernalia, stocked up on newborn diapers (no, i still couldn’t muster the effort to try cloth this time around either), etc. We were good to go.
The one big unknown, as always, was timing of this little one. Della was born 8 days before my due date and my doctor said women tend to have similar gestational periods with subsequent babies, but you never really know. So I literally had my mom on standby in the weeks leading up to my due date with Lana, waiting for that call to come watch Della while Ryan and I went to the hospital to see who was going to come next. I had my hospital bag packed and so did she.
Something that gave me a huge leg up this time over when Della was born, though, was that I pretty well knew what the start of my labor was going to feel like. I was just worried that my mom wouldn’t be able to get here in time if it all went as fast as it did with Della, or that it would happen in the middle of the night and we’d have no idea what to do with D.
Fortunately, however, everything fell perfectly into place – I woke up to a contraction at 1:30 a.m., they continued about every half hour for the rest of that night/early morning until I got up around 7, sent my mom the “I think it’s the day. Come on up!” message, showered, made sure every last thing was cleaned up and ready to go, double checked my hospital bag and the stuff D was going to need while I was staying there, then just waited. My mom got to our house just after 9 a.m., Ryan of course had to run some crazy errand that was like 45 minutes away so was gone when she arrived, I talked to the doctor to see when they wanted me to come in this time since I tested positive for Strep B and needed penicillin ideally 4 hours before delivery, and just sat tight until my contractions were 5-10 minutes apart for a solid half hour.
Ryan and I got to the hospital around 3 p.m., they broke my water a little after 6:30, and Lana Marie came screaming into this world at 7:24 p.m. one year ago today. Crazy, eh? I wouldn’t say it’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year, but I’d say it’s more surreal. Surreal that we now have a 1 year old walking around our house like she owns the place, hollering the whole while. It’s wonderful.
I’ll never forget how worried I was about adding another child to our family, either. I had this unnerving fear that I’d never be able to love another as much as I loved Della, and that Della would suddenly feel second-rate once a new baby came in and shook everything up. I cried in the shower that morning Lana was born, just hoping and praying that we were doing the right thing by giving Della a sibling. And thankfully not a day goes by where I’m not absolutely convinced that we did. The way these 2 play with and love each other is just incredible.
That’s not to say every day has been filled with sunshine and roses, though. Ha! No way. You all know how hard it got for me last winter. I was so frustrated feeling like I just couldn’t get everything right by everyone after a couple months being home full-time with a newborn and a 2 year old.
That original notion I had that 2 kids just meant 2 of everything? So totally wrong. The needs don’t just increase by a factor of how many children you have. Unfortunately. They increase EXPONENTIALLY. Yeah, math. For you see, newborns are so much more needy with the copious amounts of stuff and things than toddlers, a fact that had simply slipped my mind in those 2 years between Della’s newborn days and Lana’s.
I couldn’t just put an extra outfit, diaper, and snacks in the bag for Lana like I did for Della when we’d go somewhere. L needed multiple outfits for the inevitable multiple blowouts/leaks/barfs; multiple burp rags for those exact same episodes; multiple (multiple!) diapers because you never knew how many of those episodes would occur on even the shortest errands/trips; bottles at the ready if I wasn’t planning on nursing her wherever we went; pacifiers for the emergency yowl that always seemed to escape her tiny lips; numerous layers to keep that precious baby skin protected since her early days were spent in the decline of sunlight and warmth for the year (yuck!); and on and on and on.
I think that was part of what drove me the most crazy. Constantly having to write and rewrite the mental list of “things we need” every time I even thought of trying to get the 3 of us out the door. I think our first outing as a trio was a walk to CVS, which is roughly a dozen blocks from our house. Like the easiest walk in the world and something we’ve done countless times before and since. But I swear to you, it took HOURS to get that train out the door. By the time I got us all ready and bundled and loaded (lana being worn in a carrier on me since she was tiny and we had no double stroller at the time), either D had to pee, I had to pee, L had to eat again because we’d taken so damn long, D had to get a new pair of mittens on, I had to change because I was so sweaty from trying to do all this while wearing my winter coat with a baby on my chest, or whatever.
I think the highlight of my winter last year was getting home from that 1 simple walking errand. I had done it! No matter that it literally took all morning to take a 20 minute round-trip walk, but we had made it. And I’d even remembered to keep Lana’s pacifier up at the ready by her face for the second she started crying in the store.
So just 1 small example of how doubling our children didn’t mean doubling their stuff, it meant burying us under it.
And this is definitely the reason why we potty trained Della at 28 months. She was just under 27 months old when Lana was born, and once we started having to get 2 shipments of diapers each month I said forget it. This kid’s gonna go on the toilet like the rest of us, so help me god. And fortunately she’s the most easily-taught kid ever and she did. She’d already shown interest in the toilet and gone on it a couple times, so it wasn’t like I just sprung this all on her, but she honestly only had a handful of accidents at most in those first couple weeks. We just went right into underwear, no pull-ups, and that was it. No more double diapers!
So yeah, going from 1 kid to 2 was harder than I expected and harder than I think I really let myself believe at first. Like I said, it took a couple months before I really felt overwhelmed, probably because I didn’t want to admit I couldn’t handle it. But once I realized that I was struggling and said and did something about it, every day has gotten better since. Yes, I know that sounds utterly cliche, but it really has.
There was a week last winter when Ryan was out of town for some training, and I was terrified at having to be home by myself with both of them for most of that time (i took the girls down to my mom’s house on thursday of that week, i believe, so i didn’t have to serve the entire sentence alone). But I took it one half day at a time – light and dark (lana wasn’t even close to sleeping through at that point, so that’s why i didn’t bother calling it night. like i was sleeping, ha!) – and we made it.
Just like with your first-born, you start getting into a rhythm, and everything begins falling into its rightful place in the scheme of your new lives. Hours at a time at first, then days, then weeks, and now it’s been a year. And I am the happiest and most stress-free I’ve been in a very long time. And I have 1 kid hanging on each leg.
So there you have it. My story of how life changed when we went from a family of 3 to a family of 4. Fine at first with all the newborn bliss, then increasingly hard as daily life at home with 2 set in, but now fantastic with 2 of the happiest, most amazing children I could have asked for. Well, they’re happy most of the time anyway. Until Lana remembers she wants something that she doesn’t have in her hand that very second and starts wailing for it.
And speaking of the birthday girl, here’s a little peek from her birthday party this past Saturday. She was the belle of the ball, running around (literally!) with all the big kids and playing all night long. I’ll have plenty more pictures for you when I get her 12 month post up, too. But for now, Happiest of Happy 1st Birthdays, little Lana Marie! We love you so very, very much. Thank you for making us into our family of 4.