Xavi's baby brother, Nico Felipe (silent "e") was born at 2:21 am on Tuesday, September 18 after just 5 hours of labor, less than an hour of pushing, and almost completely "in the caul" (which means that the bag didn't break until his head was nearly out...not sure how to spell it, but it is "ideal" or so we've read). Termed "quick and easy" by my midwives...definitely not MY choice of words but relatively speaking, I guess they were right. All in all, it was an awesome experience. Everything went according to "plan"...everything except that Xavi wasn't there to see him enter the world. He was awake for most of my labor...even laboring with me in bed for a time then with Debbie in his room. Never afraid, he would make surprised faces and say "ohhh" when he heard me yell in the other room. Xavi fell asleep just as Nico's head came out and even though I yelled for him to come, missed the event entirely. In some ways it was ok since he needed his sleep and I've never been a fan of waking him up (ever!). We were able to get cleaned up and rested before making introductions. I plan to fully document Nico's birth and delivery, but wanted to take just one more post dedicated to Xavi and our journey.
Let me preface what I want to write so all is completely understood. Nico is a beautiful, unexpected yet perfect blessing...truly another gift from God. Nico and Xavi will hopefully one day soon be the best of friends and they will always have each other, regardless of other circumstances and stations to come in our lives. Xavi needed a brother to love, to boss around, to teach, to play with, to fight with, to learn from, and to balance him. I know he will not have any memory of his first almost two years without a sibling and he won't feel bad that he has not had to share until now (well, eventually..haha). But I remember and I'm really grieving the end of that very special time we had together.
This past week has been the most challenging days to date. The newborn stuff? A bit shocking as we relearn how to care for a tiny, helpless infant..how do I hold him? nurse him? change him? swaddle him? dress him? put him to sleep? carry in one of my 85 infant carriers? The first night, I sobbed as the reality of what we've embarked on settled in. I sobbed and said "I miss Xavi" over and over, as he slept in his room and I struggled with where to put my arm, how to hold Nico's head, and how to help him latch on properly. I recognize the role that raging hormones are playing in my current weepy state and am pretty much letting the tears come as they need to. But once past that first night, I have been surprised at how it all comes back, the rhythm returns and how much the baby sleeps these first few days and weeks. (He'll wake up just in time for Mario to leave for 6 months...but we aren't even going there yet!)
The toddler stuff? OH my goodness...where did my sweet little buddy go? I am not sure if it is "terrible twos" a few weeks early, or if it's the new addition, or if suddenly someone switched out kids on me during the night but needless to say...it's been rough the last few weeks. (And my resultant exhaustion is the reason I've started this post on and off for the past several days but have been unable to complete it...). I'm sure it is a combination of all of the above (well, except for the baby switching scenario as he is still cute as ever and that would be hard to replicate...). And it makes me so sad. I was sad anyway figuring out how I was going to balance myself between two loves and two different needs. I tear up every night saying good night to Xavi, knowing that his tiny world is in turmoil as he is finding his new place in the family. And the night I went into labor, I cried as I tucked him in because I knew that it was the last night of him being an only child.
Today we made it all the way to the park...quite the accomplishment! It's been awhile since I've taken him to the park and I was excited to finally be the one playing with him...well, it was more managing meltdowns than it was quality time and I fought the tears back the whole walk home. He got frustrated climbing the tree and then wanted me to help him...but I didn't do something right and he threw his head and body back in a Xavi tantrum...not falling down only because I caught him. I know Xavi's whole world has been turned upside down...I mean in his mind, I had everything I needed, why did I have to go and have another baby? In my head, I know that giving him a sibling is the best thing for him. I know that he won't have any conscious memories of the time he's had of being the only child. I also know that there will never be another time where I can give Xavi what we've had up until Nico arrived.
Xavi and I have traveled to Washington DC, Texas, New Mexico, Wisconsin (many times), Minnesota, Hawaii, New York, Florida, and St Louis. We spent days at the beach, the park, going for walks in and out of the stroller. We went grocery shopping and enjoyed snacking as we shopped (a habit I shouldn't have encouraged but...). We went to Target and I remember a time I let him out of the cart. I lost him at one point for a brief moment. I just had to follow the trail of packages from the lower shelves strewn all over the place to find my toothy sparkly eyed wonder. We napped together. We ate together. We survived high fevers and teething together. We managed day care drop offs and rejoiced in the later pick ups. I practiced "attachment parenting" from the beginning and wouldn't change a thing about Xavi's first almost two years. I just hope that I can continue to support and guide him as we move into this next chapter with more grace and more patience.