A Mother’s Day Reflection

Welcome, Maxwell! Jay is officially a big brother and absolutely stellar at it. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure a second baby was for us. It’s hard to think about how to share your love. Jay has been our focus for so long and although he’s growing like crazy, I still feel the need to be his protector and advocate. I think that will always be part of our mother-son relationship.

Throughout my pregnancy with Maxwell, Ben and I made it a point to include Jay as much as possible. He was part of conversations about baby; learning about the baby growing in “Katie Momma’s” (that’s what Jay often calls me!) belly and active in our preparation and nesting phases. Jay started school last fall and his independence and self confidence are soaring. I need to share a bit about all of that and I will make time soon, I promise!

A Quick Birth Story

I was scheduled to be induced but nature had a different plan. My water broke around 4pm on April 14 and after what felt like no time at all, Maxwell “Max” joined us at 12:55am on April 15. Again, I was one of the lucky ones. I chose to get an epidural (power to you women you go without!) and after a short nap, the doctor came into our room to check progress and said it was time to start pushing. About 10 minutes later, little Max was resting on my chest and Ben was cutting the umbilical cord. This might be too much information, but my body was ready and baby Max eased out without a fuss or extensive pain for me. I am so grateful for that. Those daily walks really do help!

We spent a total of three nights at the hospital. Jay joined us for his first visit on Friday after school. He brought a little bunny for Max and some flowers and balloons for me. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, we could only have two people in the room at a time. So my mom brought Jay from school, and Ben met that at the hospital entry to bring him up to our hospital room.

Jay walked in calm, collected, and excited. He said, “where’s baby?” And I pointed to Max in the bassinet. Jay proceeded to say “hi baby, see, look” as he tried to hand over the stuffed bunny gift. He then turned and gave me a big hug. The best hug in the world!

We let Jay climb onto my bed and brought Max to him. We set Max in Jay’s lap and he was so calm and gentle. He softly rubbed Max’s head while saying “hi, baby, hi baby, you ok baby.” Living that moment was amazing; and the video I captured is one I’ll cherish forever.

Jay joined us the next day for a hour or so in the afternoon. He snuggled Max, sat in my hospital bed and made the head move up and down with the remote, watched a movie, and danced to music. Our family unit felt just right.

We’ve all been home now for nearly three weeks and we are settling into a routine of sorts. Max is beginning to get the hang of sleeping at night and being awake during the day … but I am still up with him for feedings every 2-3 hours. I am nursing exclusively, as I did with Jay. Again, we are lucky in that my supply is ample and Max can latch like a pro.

Jay is just as caring, loving, interested, curious, and helpful as ever. He loves to hold Max and help with diaper changes. When Max is crying, Jay is often nearby saying, “it’s ok, baby.”

Here are a few things I’ve learned so far:

  1. The unknown is always the hardest part of anything in life
  2. My pregnancy with Jay was full of unknowns and fear – what does a life with Down syndrome look like? In time we learned that it’s like any other life. Our days are full of love, patience, (somedays more than others!), and care.
  3. My pregnancy with Max was also full of unknowns – how will we make this work with two kids? In just a few days, our family puzzle fell into place and the pieces fit.
  4. Kids will surprise you in the most wonderful ways – Jay is the best big brother and I am so happy he and Max have one another to love.
  5. I’m a biological boy mom – here’s to the coming years of growth and learning! We’re excited to be with them as they grow into whoever they are.

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