Single Dose or Double the Double?

It was only this week that I ventured a delicate subject with a friend – a fellow mummy of three. It is a subject which I never discussed with anyone, basically from fear of the looks I would get from other mothers. I have always wanted to pose the question, from the moment we started talking about children right up until the minute Bettina was born. I never found the courage to ask the question, not even to my own mother, but somehow I have been thinking about this subject recently and this week the topic popped up when talking to my friend.

Looking back now, it is a ridiculous question, one I have no idea why I feared, but at the time it was on my mind. Constantly.

Do you ever love the second child as much as you do the first?

Motherhood opens up a universe of emotions. Everything comes to surface, all is new, and the amount of love you feel towards this small and fragile stranger is amazing. You find yourself doing things you never imagined you could, and you smile through it all. Everything is fresh and bursting with love. It is the reason why many mothers say how they can never imagine going back to a life pre-baby. It is because life and priorities shift so tremendously that even if you put feelings aside, there is no rational way of ever going back. You give birth, you become a parent and your children are with you always and forever.

So big and enormous is this mass of love you feel for this tiny little baby that it is frightening, elating and surprising. Ten years ago, would someone have ever told me that I would be waking up at 6.30am on a Saturday and Sunday morning to a cooing baby, and smile about it, I would have called them crazy. Whenever we went out I would start preparing for the night out for at least an hour before. Now I am lucky if I get fifteen minutes to prepare myself for an evening out. My bags are full of baby wipes and empty biscuit wrappers and my pots of makeup are now under lock and key or else destroyed. And somehow it is okay and I don’t mind.

Now imagine being so enamoured and so wrapped up in this tiny being who you’d move earth for, and then find out another little on is on its’ way. With our situation, we were waiting for Bettina eagerly. She came at the perfect period for us all. Cesca needed a sibling to ground her a bit and we did not want to let too much time pass for a second baby because we knew that the more time passed, the more difficult it would be to start the baby-routine again. Things were happening in the background, and add to that the silent fear I would sometimes experience when I’d think of a new baby, my panic attacks started and they threw me off balance.

I now know that the cause of it all was fear. Too many things were happening at the same time and I did not know if I was prepared for it all. Funny really, considering how I did the first two and a half years of Cesca’s life alone with her and I never ever doubted I could do it. But a second baby, a job and a new school for Cesca, made me worry about handling it all. Luckily enough they all turned out to be unfounded worries, but try telling that to a pregnant woman midway through her pregnancy. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to handle.

Underneath it all, and perhaps at the root of it all, I would start questioning how I could love another baby as much as I did Cesca. I spent so many hours during Bettina’s pregnancy thinking how I would be cheating Cesca out of my love for her, with the arrival of a new baby. I feared showing preference towards Cesca in front of the new baby and having the latter notice this.

And then Bettina arrived and everything shifted. Suddenly everything was clearer and simple. I had gone round the whole issue the wrong way. For it was not halving the love I had for Cesca in order to share it with Bettina. But it simply was doubling the love I had for one, for two. The enormity of emotions Cesca brought with her just doubled. As my friend told me, each child comes with their own universe of love. And that is true. I then understood so much more than I did before. Cesca and Bettina have different characters, each come with their own baggage of love, they are both unique and I can not think of one without thinking about the other. Cesca makes me laugh, and a minute later we’re both smiling at something Bettina did. There is never any hint of jealousy, of preference, for they are two separate portals of love.

So I finally got the answer to the question which had been brewing in my mind for ages. Each child is a blessing, and the most amazing thing is that whether you have one, two or six, you love them equally, in different ways perhaps, but somehow they all hold your heart. Parenthood is an amazing blessing. It baffles you at times, drives you up the wall at others, but rewards you with the simplest and purest form of love. Or loves.

Beginnings

We welcomed a new member into our family on the 30th of September. Bettina Lucia was born at 7.50 in the evening, all pink and cuddly and full of that scrumptiousness that newborns seem to have. Just like her sister, she came quick and fast. Actually she came much quicker than her sister, and I’m lucky that A made it to my side with just a couple of minutes to spare before her arrival!

That Tuesday was one of those days where I had a million and one things to do. The day began like any other day. We all woke up, my mother picked C up and I left for work. Since the Friday before we had received some last-minute school news, I had to pop by a school for a meeting after work, and had stationery and shoe-shopping planned for the afternoon. At four I left home to start my errands, and by five I only had C’s shoes left on my list. I agreed to meet up with C and mum at a local shopping centre at 5.30pm, so after pencil and file shopping, I left to walk my way there.

Every pregnant woman imagines what her labour will be like. Will it be short and swift or dragging and painful? And perhaps with a second pregnancy, it is less and more scary at the same time. I knew what was going to happen yet a part of me clanged to the hope that it would all be as fast as C’s birth was. At the same time I knew that this was not necessarily the case. I know of friends whose second labour was nothing like their first. Thoughts of 12+ hours of labour would flash in my mind, and I’d enter into a mini-panic zone. What kept me sane was the thought that God would not give me more than what I could actually handle.

I now laugh at the following part. You can however imagine my embarrassment, panic and shock at having my waters break in a public place. In a shop in a local shopping mall, which is always full of locals. Perhaps it was sheer luck that the shop happened to be nearly empty at the time, and the only witness to my ordeal was the panic-stricken shop assistant who was in a worse state than me and continued asking me whether she should call an ambulance or not. I was in no pain whatsoever and my thoughts were all over the place. Cesca was running around the store totally unaware of her mother’s crazy state. My mum who was waiting for me outside came to ask me why I hadn’t come out yet, and only realised what happened when she saw my face. I was thinking how we were going to get C’s shoes, whether my dress held any evidence of what had just happened, how I had to call A asap and how I still had to label and mark Cesca’s newly-purchased school items. And most of all how I would probably miss C’s first day at school the following day.

The walk to mum’s car seemed like an eternity. I waited there while she took C to buy her shoes. We went home, I had a quick shower, grabbed my things, headed to the hospital and then the pains started. I was super-dilated (8cm by the time the midwife checked me), and by 7pm was ready to start pushing. But I held back, waiting for 7.30pm because I wanted A by my side. Things happened so quick that Bettina was born twenty minutes after he arrived. Two hours after everything started. Talk about fast and furious.

We are now slowly settling in. Life with two children is so different than life with one. There is always someone to check on and always something to do. I am so so lucky to have help from my mother and in-laws. I honestly don’t know how I can do it all alone, and have so much gratitude towards them. I am pleased to report that Cesca is totally besotted with Bettina. From the moment she first came to visit her at the hospital, calling out for ‘my sister’, she has been a real trooper. She helps me with the nappy-changing, sings to her and ‘plays’ with her – though I am super-vigilant with the latter. However as expected, she is playing up at times. She had a tough couple of days dealing with all these changes, and at times blatantly challenges me and her father and does the exact opposite of what we tell her to do. Sometimes she ignores us completely, and thanks to school now comes out with these phrases she never said before. Right now her favourite is calling people ‘silly-Billy’. I bite my tongue and try to be the most patient I can be with her. But exhaustion and impatience do get the best of me at times, and after I sometimes shout at her, the guilt feeling sets in. The guilt feeling every mother seems to be burdened with, even though she tries her best and is always looking out for her own. Whatever I do at times, however I deal with her, I always end up feeling as if I’m lacking her and as if I could do better. I know it’s early days still, and I really can’t complain overall. I just want to be sure and certain that I’m doing the right thing, and, most importantly, that she knows it too.

So we’re all taking it in small steps and one day at a time. We have alone moments with Cesca. We take her to the playground, we read books to her and we dedicate moments to her alone. I don’t want her to feel as if she’s the ‘extra one’, the odd one out, not ever. It is harder than it sounds, especially since a newborn takes up so much of my time. All mummies know how time-consuming babies are, it’s all about them and you spend every minute they’re awake, with them. So it only figures that having a newborn and trying to spend equal if not more time with a young toddler is quite challenging.

But I’m looking at it all positively. We will manage just fine. It’s all about surviving these early days with a positive outlook, and living peacefully with the knowledge that you did your best with love and more love. And believing with hope that those around you, who are closest to your heart, recognise this.

A favourite shot captured by Auntie Ver. Running to meet her little sister :)

A favourite shot captured by Auntie Ver. Running to meet her little sister 🙂

Tick-Tock

Probably one of the mistakes I made from the beginning of this pregnancy was comparing it to the one I had with C. They turned out to be two different events, not as many similarities as I had expected and secretly hoped for, but overall they were both great experiences in their own merits. It was totally unfair to compare one pregnancy with the other, simply because the circumstances surrounding both pregnancies were totally different. First off with C I was not working, I was living in England and I had nothing on my mind except taking care of the small attic we lived in, buying baby things online and visiting the city-centre for dates with my friends. This time round the situation was different. I was (and still am) working full-time, had a three-year old to take care of, I had school preparations to take care, had to deal with a Maltese summer and had a bigger place to look after as well. It goes without saying that all these circumstances shaped this pregnancy in a much different manner than the first one. This time round the nausea in the beginning of the pregnancy lasted for two weeks more, I felt this baby three weeks before I ever felt C, I suffered more heartburn this time round but I didn’t have the awful case of itchiness I had on my legs as I did with C. The same things which bothered me in the early weeks of my first pregnancy, bothered me this time round too – sparkling water and the smell of garlic were the most prominent. The advantage of this pregnancy was knowing, up to a certain extent, what to expect with each passing month. Nothing fazes you as much as it does the first time round. Pregnancy is no light stroll in the park, but now that I’m nearing its’ end, I will miss many things about it – mostly the intimacy of having a baby growing inside you and having ‘it’ all to yourself for the time being. What I won’t miss about these (hopefully) last days – the awful heaviness I’ve become, my aching back, the inability to find a comfortable position when seated or laying down, the painful foot cramps and my newly-acquired penguin walk. And my maternity clothes of course. There’s a bonfire or a visit to a car-boot sale planned for those.

I have been reading and re-reading articles and blog posts about how to prepare C for this new baby. All sorts of opinions and helpful advice has popped up, but I feel as if I can only prepare her so much. Honestly, I think she’s ready for her sibling. She spontaneously gives my tummy kisses and hugs and asks when the baby is coming. She has come up with a name for the baby and helped me set up the baby corner. And apart from mentioning the baby with her, involving her as much as I can with the baby’s arrival and talking to her about how she’s going to be my big baby from now onwards and the baby will be our little baby, what else can I truly do? The only setback is that she will be starting school next week, and that may now coincide with the baby’s arrival. So now I’ve promised her that the baby will be bringing her a gift when she goes to school – I’m trying all that I can to make this change as smooth as possible. But in all honesty I won’t know how she reacts to everything until the actual moment arrives. I can only hope and pray.

In the meantime I once again start thinking about my pregnancy with C, and I remember how at this exact time, C was already seven days old.

I know – bad, bad, bad thing to do.

It's these quiet yet goofy moments that I want to treasure x

It’s these quiet yet goofy moments that I want to treasure x

The Waiting Game

Finally September is here. I have been waiting for this month for weeks now. Not only does it (hopefully) bring about a change in weather from the humid heat to cool breezes, but I’m hoping (and praying, and praying) that this is the month our baby will arrive.

The final months are not glamorous. Not at all. There is nothing glamorous about being at your biggest weight ever, having what looks like the worlds-greatest cankles ever, a painful back to accompany you day and night, and if you live in the Maltese islands, you top everything up with the heavy weather which makes you seem and feel a hundred kilos heavier.

I am now fed up of my maternity clothes. There are only a few ways on how you can make a simple black maternity dress look special and different each time. There are no proper maternity shops here on the Rock, and any shopping I did during this pregnancy were online.  I have a couple of websites which I browse regularly  (Asos, Gap and New Look amongst others) but in all honesty I am now fed up of seeing elasticated waistlines, baby-doll styled tops, high-waisted dresses and flat shoes. So what I have now is what I will wear for the rest of this pregnancy. And after that, I’m organizing a huge bonfire.

It was quite a pregnancy. I had low lows but definite high highs. And now, hopefully by the end of this month, I will have a baby in my arms. I’m so looking forward to meeting the little kicker I have inside me, who starts dancing the minute I lay down on the bed and who has stretched my belly to unbelievable proportions.

We have so many changes in our life coming up this month. A new baby, Cesca starting school, we will be starting building our home soon, the winter season coming up – it’s all about changing and adapting our lifestyles. I have hopes that we will all turn out okay, especially Cesca. The only thing I’m fearing where she’s concerned is her first couple of days of school. But I’m praying to the higher powers that all will be smooth and fine.

In the meantime, this is what we’ve been up to…

InstagramCapture_7792f374-623f-41d6-b06a-c11955aff69c_jpg (1)

Bump is now 35 weeks old. This photo was taken at 34+1 weeks when I was off for what was supposed to be a girly dinner. My friends had other plans…

InstagramCapture_8996f593-ea18-492d-824a-2b8eefd64b9d_jpg

..In actual fact I was dressing up for my baby shower! It was quite the surprise seeing all my family and friends gathered up. Best feeling ever 🙂

We have avoided playgrounds because of the total lack of shade. However I took advantage of the shady weather and took her for an hour to run around. Her facial expression was priceless :)

We have avoided playgrounds because of the total lack of shade. However I took advantage of the cloudy weather and took her for an hour to run around. Her facial expression was priceless 🙂

August was a tough month where the weather was concerned. When not plastered underneath the a/c unit, I am normally lying down on the floor trying to catch a cool (or otherwise) breeze.

August was a tough month where the weather was concerned. When not plastered underneath the a/c unit, I am normally found lying down on the floor trying to catch a cool (or otherwise) breeze.

As in Cesca's pregnancy, I am gorging on fruits this time round. I can eat fruits all day long and be happy. Better than sweets and chocolates I guess. Though I'm not exactly abstaining on those either...

As in Cesca’s pregnancy, I am gorging on fruits this time round. I can eat fruits all day long and be happy. Better than sweets and chocolates I guess. Though I’m not exactly abstaining on those either…

I have started unwrapping and washing the baby's clothes, linen and blankets in preparation for the little one. I absolutely love these Webbs products - their smell is purely baby-in-a-bottle!!

I have started unwrapping and washing the baby’s clothes, linen and blankets in preparation for the little one. I absolutely love these Webbs products – their smell is purely baby-in-a-bottle!!

 

Sea-Blue Calm

I have approximately eight and a half weeks left of being pregnant. Maybe because it’s a second pregnancy, maybe because it’s summer and maybe because this time round I’m much more busier than three years ago, the weeks have just flown by. I’m in my third trimester and bar the back aches and swollen ankles (hello cankles!) I am in a happy, serene place. My days are overall calm, my spirit is high and thankfully (for the time being) my nights are serene.

Four doctors and five visits later we have a confirmation about the sex of the baby. This time round the baby was not as co-operative as C was and it took lots of visits and weeks to get a confirmation. With C, we knew as early as our 14-week visit. This time round the baby waited till it was 30 weeks old. Better late than never I guess for someone who likes to plan and organize everything beforehand like me. Don’t go thinking we’re anywhere near ready though. Oh no. We still have no names ready, no hospital bags, no baby apparel, nothing. It may be a repetition of C’s story again. C was born, in my arms and we were still undecided about the name. It was only when we were put on the spot that we made a split-second choice, and luckily enough it was one we never regretted. Her name fits her to a tee.

I’m enjoying this third trimester. It may be very hot and I’m practically energy-less but I’m in good spirits. I’m trying to enjoy C as much as I can and her company is the best one out there. She’s hard-headed and stubborn yet it is what makes her who she is. There’s no beating round the bush with her. If she likes you she will talk to you willingly and happily. But if for some strange reason she does not take a liking to you, she will tell it to you as it is. It is very embarrassing having her tell my friends and strangers alike “I don’t like you” or “I don’t want to talk to you”, but there is nothing I can do. I’m sure every mother out there will understand this. She looks at people and loudly says, “Mama, why is the lady sad? She’s not happy”. I have to then explain to her that just because someone is not laughing out loud does not make them sad. But that is the way her three-year old mind works. When she is happy she giggles, laughs, dances to Mickey Mouse songs and jumps into our arms telling us “I love you” over and over again. When she sees us quiet, she approaches us and asks us “Are you sad mama’? I make you happy?” A yes prompts her to hug us and literally lick our faces off.

She is my happy bunny 🙂

 

It's these quiet yet goofy moments that I want to treasure x

It’s these quiet yet goofy moments that I want to treasure x

One of the quiet moments, although the youngest of us all was kicking like crazy in there :)

One of the quiet moments, although the youngest of us all was kicking like crazy in there 🙂

 

 

Ten Things

I’m pregnant, my face is supposedly growing, a miracle is happening within my body, everyone is happy, we’re all healthy and thankfully everything is perfectly fine.

 

Yet I can’t help but say that pregnancy does have some minuses…

 

1. You fail to walk in a straight line. You inadvertently find yourself wobbling and walking to the side, and realize that straight-walking is out of the question. Especially so when you notice how fellow pedestrians are avoiding you in the street not because they fear you, but because you are walking straight into them. Beware, the fat cow approaches.

2. You do not calculate how big you have truly become. You feel yourself growing bigger and actually stretching by the minute, but you only truly realize the humungous hulk you’ve become when you start bumping into things, knocking your child over (I’m so sorry C!) and start huffing and puffing to arrive from point A to B – five minutes away.

3. You look at your pre-pregnancy wardrobe and cry. Yes, true tears. Especially when you compare your current clothes – elasticated waistbands, baggy tops and flat shoes, with the skinny jeans and high heels. And you then cry that bit harder when you think about the size you once were.

4. Whilst appreciating the extra attention and care you get as a pregnant lady, you sometimes hate feeling like an invalid. The ‘ah, poor you…pregnant in this heat!’, and ‘you’re going to be pregnant for the whole of summer? hmmm…’ does not exactly help my mood. The worst though – elderly ladies who smile sweetly to your face, and then fail to hide their loud whispers “Miskina, rajtha dik?” Hello?! I can hear you!!

5. You stop being a human being and exist only as a bump. Whoever meets you stares for that extra second at your tummy and then moves up to your face to greet you. I now understand how big-breasted women feel.

6. Being pregnant seems to give everyone the permission to touch your belly. The next time a stranger does that to me I’m going to touch them back. Or smack them. On their belly, back, crotch, I don’t care. My belly, my body, my rules – buzz off!

7. You get used to the awful two-inch roots and sprouting white hairs growing on your head yet you are counting the days until you can visit the hairdresser and get a proper hair-do,. You start envying everyone’s shining bright locks and despair over your own, utterly convinced that it is now the time to invest in hats, hairbands and oversized bandanas.

8. Forget comfort. You will not be comfortable again for a while. If it’s not nausea, it’s heartburn. If it’s not heartburn, it’s back pain. If it’s not back pain, it’s swollen ankles. If it’s not swollen ankles, it’s being unable to sleep because it is impossible to find a good sleeping position. I can go on with this list but I won’t. You get my drift. I can however compile a new list once the baby is born. But I won’t.

9. You will get sick of drinking water. How much water can you drink without getting tired of it? Yes, you can add mint and lemon but it’s still water. And when it’s summer and you see everyone around you drinking wine and beer, it is a million times worse. Water takes on a bitter taste. I miss my wine, I miss my beer. Yes I’m pregnant and craving alcohol. You can now put on your shocked face and talk about me behind my back. Don’t think I care.

10. You realize that you’re becoming a bit too grumpy. Look at my case. I’m grateful for everything that’s happening to me. Pregnancy is a miracle. A baby is growing inside me, I’m happy and everyone is healthy. Yet I’ve just written this grumpy post. Pff, pregnant lady complaining about everything.

I’ll soon put up a positive post, I promise.

In the meantime, happy weekend!

20140801-123708-45428798.jpg
(These C-taken selfies do make me smile 😉 )

Fly By

This summer is flying by. July is suddenly nearing its’ end and I’m three-fourths of my way through this pregnancy. It seems I’m growing by the day and my wardrobe is becoming more and more limited as the days pass. Unlike my pregnancy with C, I am still able to wear some of my pre-pregnancy dresses and tops, although trousers are now out of the question, because even the elastic-band trick is not working any longer. So I have my ever-faithful numbered tops, skirts, trousers and beloved flat sandals, and I’m set it seems. The only items of clothing I can experiment with are accessories, so at the moment I’m splurging  on necklaces and bracelets. And clothes for C of course..the little missus is constantly outgrowing her clothes and gives me the perfect excuse to go shopping for her. Her clothes are my guaranteed ticket to burn.

We are spending our days swimming, going out for ice-cream walks, meeting up with friends and eating. I don’t know about you but (pregnancy aside) I eat more in the summer months. I go out more often, dine out more frequently and finish each meal with an ice-cream or something sweet. Winter plates may be heavier, but summer eating is much more frequent it seems. At least for me.

I’m enjoying the last few weeks of being a mother of one.  I am sometimes scared of ruining the balance we have reached with her when the baby comes. We know her routine and her dis/likes, we love her late mornings and laid-back attitude, and I do fear, yet know, that she will change with the new arrival. She is a tall three-year old, yet she is still such a young girl. She still needs reassurance and warm cuddles, she looks to us for smiles and kisses and is full of love. A new baby will take away some of the attention she has grown used to now, but I’m believing and hoping it will be for the better. Add to that a new school and lifestyle and she sure is in for a change. We are trying to make the transition as easy as possible for her, we talk about the baby everyday, she kisses and hugs my tummy and has started helping me out with daily chores I’m no longer able to do myself, yet I know that it will still be a shock for her. However her character reassures me that she will be the best older sister for her sibling.

Again, I can’t believe that at three years of age she will already be an ‘older’ sister.

Time is flying by. Our days are lazy ones and I’m trying to enjoy each day of this summer to its’ fullest. I can’t fully appreciate the summer as much as I did in previous years, with my aching back, tired legs and a kicking baby, but I’m doing my best.

So far, so good.

I can't believe we will soon be going back to these days...it seems surreal, slightly scary yet at the same time I can not wait!

I can’t believe we will soon be going back to these days…it seems surreal, slightly scary yet at the same time I can not wait!