The Baby After My Baby With Special Needs
My beautiful-big-baby boy Theo was born almost two weeks ago, and everything about him so far has been incredibly intense.
This third pregnancy was far more intense in terms of how I felt, how sick and tired I was and as a kicker, how long the little bugger stayed in.
The labor and delivery was outta-control intense. We raced and just made it to the hospital; he arrived 48 minutes later at a whopping 9.9 pounds. We can all go ahead and just agree that my vagina and I get a gold freaking star for this one.
But what I’m finding even more intense is how I feel now. The awe I felt when my first two children were born is there. The overpowering sense of love is there. The feeling like he belongs and was always meant to be a part of our family is there. But a new feeling, one I can’t shake, is also present.
A feeling I blame his big sister for.
You see, with our daughter Pip we were, in a way, cheated out of the “newborn stage.” She was born, and days later we were told she had Down syndrome, congenital cataracts, congenital heart defects and more. We went from being in a “new parent bubble” to trying to keep our daughter alive and get through each surgery, each challenge, each hurdle. We went from innocently kissing her sweet newborn head to kissing through tears while begging God to let us keep her. We went from figuring out each other’s bodies and breastfeeding to learning how to put in a feeding tube and look for signs of heart failure. We went from looking into her beautifully speckled Brushfield-spotted eyes to maneuvering an itsy bitsy contact into one of them, patching the other and constantly being aware of if the contact was in place. We went from nothing was wrong, to what felt like everything was, in just a matter of days.
In a way it’s coming back to haunt me now. I don’t think I got to truly think about it during the time because it was just survival mode and then move forward.
But now every time Theo snuggles into me, I subconsciously think, “Oh no, little guy your contact” and then have to stop myself because he doesn’t wear them. When Theo is breathing erratically, instead of knowing all newborns do this, I automatically remember the signs of heart failure and begin to panic a little. And even though I know he doesn’t have Down syndrome, I’m checking the folds of his neck and the creases in his hands.
It’s almost as if I have to relearn to just… be still, take in and enjoy this “newborn” stage that I missed with my daughter.
In a way I’m kinda thankful for having my last baby after a baby with special needs. It’s making everything more intense, but it’s also making me more grateful, more aware of every passing moment and more appreciative of what we’ve been through and what an absolute gift every baby and every day really is.
So, I’m intensely soaking it, them, Theo all up…
This post originally appeared on Happy Soul Project.
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