I have also been steeling myself mentally for the weeks and months to come. The sleep deprivation, the endless feeding, the distinct possibility that feeding may again not go as I hope, the possibility of reflux, the possibility of another wired cat-napper, the extreme isolation of island life with two small people.
But the difference is, this time, I know what to expect. Or at least I think I can remember enough to know that it's going to be like running a marathon on zero sleep. Or perhaps a double marathon even.
But this time, I'm prepared for all that.
I've seen a lactation consultant with experience with genuine low supply issues. I've hired a doula, got our birth preferences written up and swotted up on optimal fetal positioning and managing a posterior labour. I'm a little bit more socially connected than I was first-time round, though there is room for improvement here. We've kept our au pair on for an extra set of helping hands around the house, a luxury I didn't think we'd need but am endlessly glad I was talked into as I hobble around after a toddler (back pain // it takes a village, etc). And our city nest means it will be a lot easier for me to decamp to the mainland with babes - or extend our stays there - when needed, for logistical or mental health purposes. In short, I'm following this savvy advice. And this time, I will let the help flow, instead of rushing to cook meals a matter of days after giving birth... *slaps head in retrospect*.
All this means I feel a lot more psychologically prepped this time round. I have also had the chance to buy a few things - a second-hand Moses basket (for portable sleeps), a new sling, some beautiful organic newborn onesies and winter knits (on sale), a sheepskin rug, a maternity bra that actually fits, and all the little newborn essentials. I've stocked up on my vitamins, had a haircut and got a few freezer meals ready to go. I've got gifts wrapped for the big brother ('baby bought you a guitar!') and some new audio books on their way. I'm even part-way through knitting a winter baby blanket that I have a reasonable chance of finishing before the weather cools, and have just started making some high-contrast wall art. Oh and the labour/hospital bag is all packed!
Having said all that, I'm also ready for things to be difficult in unexpected ways. Because every pregnancy/labour/kid is different.
But you know what? I'm really looking forward to the future. In three days, K will be here, the end of four long months of separation. We'll get to spend some time, just the three of us. We'll enjoy musing about whether it will be a boy or girl (absolutely no inkling this time round), and maybe even agree on a name!
And we'll get to welcome our newest little person together. And just enjoy these days, with an entire month before K is due back at work - huzzah!