My grandfather, Peter Kennedy, always said, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life, use it wisely." This phrase has hung about me every step of this journey, but sunk deep into my bones after bringing Emme home. After two long months, I am proud to say that I am finally a mother of two under two under the same roof. While technically I have been the mother of two for a few weeks now, I was never catering to both of their needs at the same time - really just mothering one at a time- Grace at home and Emme at the NICU. I couldn't be loving it more!
Saying goodbye to 5-6 hospital visits a day does wonders emotionally, mentally and physically. While I am not sleeping a wink since Emme is now off monitors and we are relying on seeing if she is turning blue or hearing her stop breathing - I feel more well rested as I am spending so much snuggle time on the couch with her as she sleeps and eats - usually with Grace cuddled up beside me (she loves the soft robe Ashley spoiled me with), trying to steal sweet kisses from her little sister or hold her hand. We tried the Owelet Baby Sleep monitor, but had quite a few false positives, but will try it again and report :)
I honestly had no idea what to expect bringing Emme home to Grace- they had met briefly over Christmas and Grace cried (likely because of the scary hospital setting and lack of nap) but from the very first moment she saw Emme at her house she has been helpful -throwing away diapers, retrieving swaddles and keeping an eye on her little sister. I abashedly admit I wasn't confident she would even understand what is going on, but Grace has truly surprised me with her maturity. For these first few days at least, it is as if her life revolves around her sister. There is nothing sweeter.
One thing both Grant and I have noticed is how much more "chill" we are with Emme. When we brought Grace home, everything was new (and stressful) but this time it seems shockingly easy as we have the experience to anticipate needs for both of our girls, and know the importance of taking care of ourselves. Friends bringing meals over (my amazing friend Leslye rallied our girlfriends and set up a food train on MealBaby), my parents on Grace-duty during Emme's many doctor appointments and my brother & Simone watching Kellydog has made the transition smooth - and is probably a nod to the maturity of second time parents - knowing that we need to accept help.
The newborn feeding situation is also admittedly making life easier the second time around. With Grace - who was exclusively breastfed for the first few months - feeding was very taxing on me - especially as I continued to work from home during maternity leave. Breastfeeding all of her feeds is still too exhausting for little Emme (and causes the pauses in her breaths) so we are only doing two breastfeeds for now, and dipping into the thousands of frozen ounces of breastmilk spilling out of our deep freezer for the rest - enabling others to share in the experience of feeding Emerson. Having my mom/Grant/anyone with two hands - be able to feed Miss Emerson Claire allows me to prioritize the needs of Grace when she requires more attention.
I don't have all that much to report (thankfully!) but did want to check in as I know there are a few other NICU moms out there getting ready to bring baby #2 home and wondering what life will be like- and if friends have shared horror stories - relax, the adrenaline is so high having your family together it will numb any pain - at least it does for us!