I wanted to post here again sooner, but I’ve spent the last two weeks returning to work and trying to get back into the routine of things. It’s been a challenge, to say the least, and not just for me. Mommy has found herself home alone with the little guy, without any back-up. And not too long from now, it will be yet another adjustment as we will both be back at work, and Andrew begins daycare. It all seems to be happening way too fast (and I know from experience that it doesn’t slow down). It doesn’t seem possible that Andrew will be coming up on 3-months before we know it.
I find myself thinking back to the afternoon that Maggie came home from work, her water breaking there just days before she was to be on leave (and two weeks ahead of the due date). The rush to the hospital, the hours spent waiting for a room, with contractions getting stronger and more painful. It’s funny how it almost doesn’t feel real, like it was a movie we both watched, but it wasn’t really that long ago. I recall giving family updates every so often, and talking to Ben and telling him to get ready to be a big brother. There was that long night of anticipation in our labor room, a constant flow of doctors and nurses, Maggie hanging in there like a trooper despite all of the pain and the machines hooked up to her. And then finally, morning, and the pushing (and the pushing, and the pushing…for hours) until we realized we were going to meet Andrew in a different way than we had anticipated.
I remember being alone for the first time in hours, putting scrubs on as they carted Maggie off to the operating room to prep her. Texting parents and friends, praying that she was OK in there and not too scared. And then finally being called in by the doctors, and finding my way to her side again. And then just like that, Andrew was here! We could hear his cries on the other side of the operating curtain, and I was able to go around and see him for the first time, so little and squirming as they cleaned him up, before finally bringing him around to meet his mom (and that look on her face when she saw him for the first time).
Things were a bit of a blur from there. Andrew went down to the specialty nursery just for some precautions, and I remember making numerous trips to bring the family in to meet him, but the most memorable was bringing Ben in to meet his little brother for the first time. Andrew was under heat lamps and hooked up to monitors, so we couldn’t hold him just yet, but Ben was beaming just to stand there and look at the little guy. We made many trips back down to that nursery, wheeling mommy in her bed to visit as soon as possible, and later several late night trips in the wheel chair, dragging machines and monitoring equipment with us, all in the effort to get an early start on breast feeding.
The hospital stay was full of visits from loved ones, long nights once Andrew could stay in the room with us, exhaustion, even a few instances where I forgot I could actually leave the hospital if needed (you get so used to being in that room for days on end, you forget there is a whole world going on right outside). And then just like that, we were strapping the new guy into his car seat and driving home, happy and a bit terrified to now be on our own. It helped to be greeted with signs and decorations, especially the big one in the entry way that Ben had created by hand to welcome home his little brother.
Between then and now, there have been so many moments and firsts. Crazy diaper changing stories, first trips to the doctor, late nights, cuddles, watching the pets greet their new sibling. Maggie and I were blessed to both have extended time off from work during this time, and with Ben’s school still weeks away from starting, the four of us really had a special time to bond together. Ben was glued to his brother whenever he was over, always wanting to hold him, watch him, even changing diapers. Maggie and I navigated the struggles of finding sleep whenever you can, trying to manage baby and house and Ben and pets. There were first walks, first trips with the baby out to eat, first visits to the grandparents. First times getting peed on, first times of calling for back-up to change a really messy diaper.
That special time started to come to an end in stages, beginning with celebrating Ben’s last day of summer and helping him get ready as school started again. The time seems to have passed so quickly that it was a shock when all of a sudden some of Andrew’s newborn outfits were getting a little tight on him. Car seats needed to be adjusted for the growing baby. He was now holding his head up much longer on his own, and flashing big smiles, and even sleeping longer into the night (sometimes). Before we knew it, football was back, along with soccer practices, back to school night. And then two weeks ago, it was time to kiss Maggie and the little guy good bye for the day as I headed back to work.
And now here we are. I know all of the above really happened, even if it feels a bit like another life looking back on it all. I’ll never forget all of it, but everything keeps moving forward, and those first few weeks with Andrew seem so long ago. And we just keep barreling on, with Andrew’s first holidays quickly approaching, the start of day care, his 3-month birthday. It’s relentless. So whenever things get a little too fast, or hectic, or stressful, I’m going to need to remember to take a deep breath, and just for a moment let myself go back to that special time that we had together as a new family.
It has been the most amazing experience and I look forward to each and every new day. The time really does go by so quickly, and the moments that pass are unique and will never be able to be repeated. Babies grow up, things change, we all get older. But I take comfort in knowing that no matter how far down the path of time we all travel, we will always have and remember those 10 weeks of summer together.