At the moment, I have only one big worry as the birth comes up. (Especially because, out of the blue, thanks to the kindness of others, my two biggest "things to buy" are crossed off the list -- the carseat and a new bed for Marko!) I'm not worried about labor. I think it'll go great. I'm almost positive our nursing relationship will get off to a great start.
But I am SO worried about Marko. First, I worry about what he will do during the birth. We have a babysitter lined up, and we practiced by hiring her for two other things, and he did fine both times. (Well, one of those times he was asleep. Leaving him is such a big deal for me, we had to start really slow!)
But the longest he's been without either of us is still two hours. Two carefully-planned hours far from bedtime, wake-up time, or possible nap time. How will he manage for an unknown number of hours, at an unknown time of day? As far as separation anxiety goes, he's pretty average -- sometimes he freaks out when Daddy or I leave, and sometimes he's cool with it. How will he be this time? If he's totally melting down, what will I do?
I don't want him at the birth. Not when his way of showing affection is to pounce on me and climb all over me. It would drive me nuts. So I really do want him to be with the babysitter, either in the yard, at the park, or at her house. Maybe I could see him for short times if things are going smoothly. I just don't know how I'll feel, or how he'll feel, but I do know for sure that if I can't handle having him around, and he can't handle going, I will feel like the worst mom in the world as the babysitter drags him off, kicking and screaming, for what could be a whole day or more.
So I daydream of going into labor right after I've put him to bed, say at eight p.m., and having a brief labor so I can go to bed at midnight or so with my newborn. Marko wakes up in the morning, and surprise, he's a big brother. Hey, it could happen.
I think this anxiety is based on a bigger fear: the fear that I won't be able to be a good mom to two kids. I mean, I'm barely a good mom to one kid! What if I don't like the new baby, if I feel s/he is an imposition on my established relationship with Marko, if I resent not being able to do the things with Marko I used to? Conversely, what if I fall instantly in love with the new baby (as I didn't with Marko) and then just feel annoyed that Marko is intruding? Or what if I feel perfectly loving of both, but just can't do everything they both need? What if the new baby needs to nurse, Marko wants a snack, and I'm worn out from giving birth and don't even want to move? What if they BOTH wake multiple times at night? (Marko has been doing better with this, but it's still a work in progress. He sleeps through the night unless there's something that wakes him -- like a stuffy nose, or a cough, or a nightmare, or rolling off his bed, or something mysterious. And a few nights lately he's been up every three hours, for some time each time, because of this dang cold. I can't rock both of them all night!)
This fear is particularly increased because Marko's had a cold and been very needy lately. All he wants is to climb all over me, digging his feet into my belly (ow!), pulling my hair (ow ow!), and kicking. I don't let him do all this, obviously. I want him to learn to respect me and that some things hurt other people. But he just doesn't get empathy yet. He doesn't understand that it hurts me, no matter how much I tell him. He just sees me as a mean, unloving mother who won't comfort him the way he wants to be comforted. I can't even pick him up and walk him around the house, which is the other thing he loves when he's cranky, because my back can't handle it.
What the heck am I going to do when I'm getting pounced on like that and I have a baby in my lap? How will I be able to help being furious with my older child for being so rough with his baby sibling around? Won't I be ridiculously touched-out?
I try to remind myself that I've kind of been living a life of leisure with only one child. When he needs me, I'm there; when he doesn't, I've generally had plenty of time to do my own thing: blogging, facebook, gardening, housework. He doesn't even take up half my time, most days. But what about those days when he demands ALL of it? What about those inevitable days when the baby will demand ALL of it? What if they both have that kind of day at once?
It would help if I had more friends with multiple kids. This is the downside of being one of the first people I know to have a child, and one of the first people I know to have a second child. I really need to schedule another playdate with my only local friend with two kids, so I can see how someone else does it. Because I honestly don't see how it's done, not with an older kid like this one.
Please tell me it's possible to be a good mom to two kids. I need to hear that.