There are just sixteen days left until William's due date. I'm still conflicted about him coming early. In my mind, the best would be if he just came right on his due date (or maybe a day or so early or late) and that was that. Knowing that he could come at any time would be really stressful if I didn't have Natalie around all day to distract me. Its then equally maddening knowing that he could be a week or more late because it isn't a sure thing that a second baby will be early. I do feel a little guilty that I didn't think about William as much as I did about Natalie when I was pregnant with her, but I think a lot of that is due to realistic experince. I know that no amount of dreaming about him or talking to him in my mind or analysizing every movement is really going to help me get to know him any better. So, I'm very excited about meeting him and our first moments together, because that I do have a picture of how I would like it to go, which is differently than with Natalie. Since Natalie was four days late, she had passed her first bowel movement in utero, so the pediatrician had to see her immediately to see if she'd breathed any of it into her lungs. This meant that she couldn't be placed directly on me. Then, it seems that the staff assumed I was okay with waiting to hold her. I didn't speak up because I didn't really know that I could be holding her. This time, I know that I want to hold William as soon as possible, hopefully skin to skin allowing him to nurse immediately if he wants. I"m feeling a little nervous about nursing a newborn again, so having him nurse by moving up my body and latching with little help is both exciting and scary, especially since I plan to get pain medicine. I'd also like to just get a good look at him, but if he is laying on me, I won't get to. That's my biggest conflict - wanting to see him versus feeling him. Also, part of my mind is wondering if I'll regret immediate skin to skin contact because of how messy I anticipate it being. Last time, bathing was out of the question for me for several hours. But with a little luck this labor will be shorter making that easier. (With Natalie I was exhausted from a short amount of sleep the night before as labor started and then about two hours of pushing. By the time I was unhooked from everything and got up to think about going to pee, I almost fainted from dizziness).
The last week or so with Natalie has been pretty great. There were a few days there where she started talking and such around 530, but then she had three days of sleeping in until 8 to make up for it. She's been so cooperative. She coming to the changing spot when I say we need to do a new diaper, and been very agreeable about new diapers when she's peed or pooped. She isn't consistently telling us that she's gone, but we are moving in the right direction. She's been helping to put away toys without any fuss, putting books back after reading them, and helping to set up bath every night. Its so great that she is now big enough to help with things, like putting fruit into the bags at the grocery story or lining up the items Mike needs to make his lunch on the kitchen table. It will be so great when she can be trusted to hold our plates and glasses to help set the table because she is always under foot around dinner time and this will let her help. She's been particuarly lovey to Mike, which is deserved with all the extra time he's spent with her, especailly bringing her outside to play or on walks. And her communication just gets more amazing every day. I swear she has new words every day or a new song she is singing. One of the best ones in the last few days was her learning "come back." She was saying it to Mike when he kept leaving to get things ready for work, but she was yelling it after another little girl she was playing with at the library this morning. In fact, she had a very rambunctious time at the library with that little girl, chasing and playing in the water fountain and throwing blocks. Meanwhile, yesterday she was exicted when a friend showed up at play group, but she mostly played alone mothering her baby doll almost the whole time.
People keep saying that her loving her dolls is a good thing with the baby coming. I'm not so sure. I'm worried she will think she can treat William like her dolls. While she does a lot of sweet things, like hug and kiss and tuck them in, she also shoves things in their faces, drops them on their heads, and throws him over her shoulder. At this point, I'm particularly worried about her hurting him by trying to carry him or by trying to share food with him. And I'm worried about her forgetting he's around and running over him or dropping toys on him or otherwise smooshing him while trying to climb up on to me as I'm holding or nursing him. I'm worried about finding the right balance between letting her enjoy his presence and protecting him from her. Additionally, with all this helping she's been doing recently, it seems like it will be great to ask her to help with the baby. But, as I keep telling Mike, we have to be careful of that too. We don't want to constantly be asking her to help and over do it. Right now she seems to enjoy helping, but its also a common personality trait to just enjoy pleasing others. I don't want Natalie to be helping with Natalie just because it will make us happy, but because she feels important and responsible and "big" by helping.
Luckily, the last weeks and the next one have enough things on the schedule to keep this time of waiting from getting overwhelming. We've been to our neighbors for an informal party and had a great play date with a former colleague and her son. Tomorrow we are supposed to go to the park with a friend from play group, as long as the weather holds out. Thursday looks to be busy. I was orginally supposed to have a doctor's appointment at 1015, and I made a point of telling them at play group about it so that no one was left thinking until Monday that maybe William had arrived. But, the office called and moved my appointment to 830. So now we can do the appointment and play group. Then at noon it looks like a friend is coming for a visit. Very busy day. Friday, Mike is home for a doctor's appointment making it a little more fun than usual. My book club meeting is still up in the air. It might be Sunday or next Thursday. I'm hoping for Sunday because I'm afraid that waiting longer means I'll miss it. Especially since we'd both like William to come before the 26th for convenience sake. See, our new fridge is supposed to arrive that day, but Mike is also supposed to go to Boston for work for the day. That would be a nightmare of a day for William to decide to arrive. And, it also looks like the fridge delivery is going to be a bit of an ordeal. It will only fit in one of our doors, the one where furniture will need to be moved, which is also the room Natalie plays and watches TV. So, I'm going to have to tell these delivery men, here's the door, have at it, and then go tend to Natalie as they are taking doors off hinges and such. With my luck, too, I just know they are going to want to deliver it right when she is supposed to be sleeping. So, if William could just come the day before or let us know he's coming that night, then Mike could skip Boston and be there for the fridge. Silly in the grand scheme of things, but less stressful in the near future.
One other thing good that's happened recently is finding a new baby sitter. We really liked our first baby sitter, but since she is only 17 there were a few problems. She is still mostly tied to her family's schedule and is unavailable during the day while she is at school. Also, she doesn't drive, so we usually had to drive her one way. She was great with Natalie, but its been so long since Natalie saw her that I don't think she would remember who she was anymore. This new baby sitter is my former colleague's baby sitter. She is a former student of mine, so I know her, too. She's a sophomore in college who commutes to school. This is great for us because it means not only does she drive, but she has a much more flexible schedule. We were originally trying to make a date for this past weekend, but figuring out what to do got to be too stressful (what with the timing for Natalie's bed time and figuring out what to do that didn't involve me standing for long periods of time). But, we are really hoping that this girl will work out for helping me when William comes and Mike goes back to work. So, I'll be able to ask her to come over for a couple hours and play with Natalie so I can nap with William, or nurse him uninterrupted, or take him to the doctor's for a check up. Or, I could ask her to keep an eye on William, singing and reading to him and such, while I get some uninterrupted play time with Natalie. Or, maybe the couple days before Natalie's informal family birthday party, she could come and help out while I do a little cleaning up around the house. These are all places where family would usually help out, but with no family within a two hours radius, this type of baby sitter might be life changing. Then, by the time that we are finally ready to go out on a real date (because William can go long enough without nursing or takes a bottle if we decide to give it a try this time), Natalie will be comfortable with her.
Instead of our date last weekend, Mike let me go out to the movie I wanted to see alone. Most of the movie was her nap time, but he also took her on a long walk where she walked almost the whole time. It was strange when I got home and no one was here! So, I still owe Mike some time to go out and do his own thing. I've told him how I want to do this for him, because even though he gets out of the house five days a week and isn't watching Natalie during that time, I know its still work. He deserves this time. But, for him to get it its like an extra "work" day for me. (Also, he has an easy time with her because he'll just decide to take her outside, which I can't do because its either too hot (that's anything over like 73 if its sunny) or I don't have the stamina to walk, chase or carry her). So, I've told him to try to tell me in advance when he'd like to go out alone to do something and I'm going to try to make a play date with our neighbor or see if the new baby sitter could come over for the first time. That way, another adult is around and its not so bad. Another person is not only a distraction for Natalie, but it also means I don't necessarily have to cater to her needs as much since there is another person there who can do it just as well.
I've always worried about my closeness with Natalie. If I spend enough quality time with her. Particularly this summer its been hard. She can be hard to keep up with at times, though I think I do well for a pregnant woman. One of the big problems is TV. She asks for it so adimatly. And sometimes letting her watch TV so we can snuggle or so that I can just sit in one place is what I want. Its particularly hard when I see her having so much fun with Mike. He's able to be very physical with her, tickling and throwing her around and chasing her. These are all things he did more before, but I can't really do them at all now. And while I love to see her shower him with love, it makes me a little sad that maybe she doesn't feel the same towards me anymore. And William's arrival will just make that harder. I feel like Natalie and I are so used to each other and our ways together. We don't have to talk about how our day is going to run or what to do next. I don't need to ask to hold her hand or tell her its nap time after lunch.
I feel like my relationship with her is a lot like my relationship with Mike, but to a lesser degree. Mike and I are comfortable in our roles and depend on each other and enjoy each others company, but we don't often do special things for each other. And that worries me sometimes about our marriage, too. Natalie still gets tons of hugs and kisses and tickles and special games, songs, or treats, but many days Mike and I don't so anything special. We do spend a lot of time talking to each other, but with the pregnancy, especailly the last week or so, I'm often annoyed when he's just close to me. Its not that I'm repulsed by him or anything, its just that by the time he gets home from work, I've been up and going all day and that dinner time hour is my most uncomfortable time all day long for some reason. I'm just so uncomfortable in my own skin by then that I don't want him near me. It makes me feel awful, but I can't help it. Then at night, its too uncomfortable, either physically or temperature wise, to even snuggle in bed. I know this will get better after William is born and when the cool weather of fall sets in, but I also know that was will be so busy and tired then. It makes me a little worried. Now we have a lot of time to spend together, but we often don't know how to spend it or spend it doing things alone. Soon, I feel we'll have no time together.
I try to picture how things will be when William comes home, work load wise. But its impossible. I feel looking back that taking care of Natalie was pretty easy. I wasn't that tired. She didn't cry often unless she was hungry. I still got to do things for myself. I don't remember how sore I was after labor. I don't remember how often I napped while she did. Its all a little hazy. I just wish I knew how getting up during the night is going to affect me this time. Or if I'll be able to read ever while nursing. Or if I'll be able to wear William in the ring sling or put him in the infant seat and pay attention to Natalie without my trouble.