Transitioning from 1 to 2 from our friend Melissa

Posted by  | Tuesday, February 23, 2010  at 4:34 PM  
Melissa lives in Wake Forest with her husband and two babies, Vaden (23 months) and Cana (8.5 months). She is a photographer, loves Real Simple magazine and chocolate chip cookies. She recently graduated with a BA in biblical studies and history that she'd started on 7 years ago.

1. How old was your first child when you got pregnant with your second?
My first child, Vaden, was six months old when I found out I was pregnant with my second, Cana. She was a big surprise, in fact. We did natural family planning, and according to my first temperature of the morning, I thought I was 4 days past ovulation when I actually wasn't...

2. Why did you choose to have another child?
We are not pro-chemical birth control methods and so opted for more natural methods, however, when you're nursing, you can't rely on the temperatures to be accurate. There are two other ways to check your fertility-- which may be TMI, but you can check your cervix (which is different post-childbirth than it is pre-kids) and your mucus patterns, which is also influenced by nursing. Needless to say, natural methods are a little tricky when you've only had one baby and haven't adjusted to what your body is doing yet. I've learned a little more about this now. For more on natural methods of birth control I recommend Toni Weschler's book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility. It taught me so much about how my body works.

3. What was harder about adding a second child than you thought?
One hard thing about having a second child so soon was that my milk dried up for nursing Vaden. That's actually how I found out I was pregnant--he started crying at the breast a lot and acting like he wanted more. After doing a little online research, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. We had to put him on formula for a few months since he started losing weight (went from 90% to 25% growth curve), but he transitioned really well in the end, and weaning him was obviously a cinch.

Another hard thing is getting them in and out of the house to the car to the store and back. When we brought Cana home from the hospital Vaden was not quite 15 months, and not quite walking. Now that Vaden walks it's a little easier, but that is still the toughest part of the day for me. In and out and in and out.

The hardest thing was probably overall, the first 3 months with the new baby. She wanted to eat every two hours, I was exhausted and still recovering, my husband was working, and Vaden still wanted life as usual-- eating, playing, napping, holding him, helping him learn to walk, etc, and I still had a house to take care of and schoolwork to do. (Yes, I know I was crazy. But I graduated and I am done.)

4. How did you prepare your older child for their new sibling?
We talked about the baby in mama's belly everyday the last two months in little ways. "No, buddy, be careful, don't hit the baby." Or "Where's mama? Where's Papa? Where's the baby?"

5. What was easier?
Vaden adjusted so well-- I mean, he knew the day she came home that she was the baby and never once looked to my belly for the baby again. He loves her and she thinks the world of him. I thought it would be a little tougher since they are so close in age, but I think their age gap makes it easier in some ways. (Once you get past the first three months.)

6. Where has your second child slept since joining the family?
We have a two bedroom apartment, but Cana slept in a co-sleeper attached to my bed for the first 5 months. Why so long? Well, it was easier for us because she still woke up once at night and being that we live in an apartment complex, we didn't want to have two screaming babies in the middle of the night and neighbors complaining. Once she was 5 months old, I felt pretty confident in her ability to sleep through the night and moved her into her crib in Vaden's room. The cribs are on opposite sides of the room so he cannot throw stuff in on her, and overall, it has gone well. For a couple of months they even napped at the same times. Now, however, their naps are off, and I find I am putting Cana to nap in my room sometimes just to be sure that they each get a nap.

7. Would you have another baby that distance in age?
Well....yes and no. Having two babies not quite fifteen months apart physically took a toll on me, so I don't know that I would prefer getting pregnant that close again. I do love their age gap for their sake though, and can't imagine it differently for them. It sometimes feels like twins. I just hope I have longer to recuperate before we have another. On the plus side, whenever we do have more I will have two helpers and not be alone with two babies!

8. Do you have any advice to share with others about transitioning from 1 to 2 children?
I love having two babies. I love spending time with them and learning that they are totally different people. Even though both were formed in my womb and I birthed them both, there is only so much comparison that can be done--they are uniquely created by God and there's no making them the same.
For those transitioning from one to two babies, I say it helps to take your first, best time of the day for a quiet time with the Lord, by yourself. Whenever that is.

Sometimes, you can fall into self-focused feelings that you are always needed and never getting anything you want, but if you take time to refresh before the Lord and realize that you're building a cathedral in these little ones, it gives the right perspective to keep on giving. As I read in an email this morning, builders of cathedrals were people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on, and this is the cure for the disease of our own self-centeredness. The antidote to our strong, stubborn pride.

·No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
·These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
·They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
·The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

1 comment:

Dan said...

great transparency Melissa! And on this blog I don't know if there is such a thing as TMI. That's what makes this blog so great... it's no apologies straight up talk for women!!! Thanks for writing about this ladies. And THANKS melissa for sharing your story. I'm SO proud of you and all God's done in your life the past 2 years!!! You rock! ~ Casey Chappell

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