If you haven’t already, see Part One here.
I fell apart. In all my worries, never once had I worried that my baby wouldn’t be healthy. I had to call my husband to take me home. He handled this news like he did everything else. Okay, we’ll deal with it. I did not handle it quite so well, by which I mean I FREAKED THE HECK OUT.
My counselor who was thinking “Great she’s doing better.” heard this news and actually uttered a curse word. He was in for it. I will always remember his kindness, because he saw me many, many times while I was expecting, often writing off my visits since I was poor. He kept me sane and out of the hospital. Sadly, he died just a couple of years later of a brain tumor. But I will never, ever forget him.
As it turned out, Thing Two’s brain was just fine – better than fine as we’d later learn. The specialist’s assistant looked at my belly, and then the specialist looked at my belly – and tried to walk right out of the room. I yelled at him to stop and asked how my baby was – after all I’d waited two weeks, fearing the worst but at last accepting that I would love this baby no matter what. He said in his thick accent, “Look like healthy baby girl.”
And she was, thankfully, very, very healthy. In fact, she was a soccer champion, kicking me constantly. My husband noted that she did this far more than Thing One because I complained far more than I did with Thing One. He also thought he should get to name Thing Two since I named Thing One. I told him, great, that’s fair, how’s about you also carry and birth this one? He shut up, but still refused to agree on a name with me.
As I got closer to the birth, weird things continued to happen. I started getting dizzy and short of breath when out in public. The doctors tested me for iron deficiency but I was just fine. Totally normal during pregnancy, they said. I also would sometimes get shooting pains when Thing Two shifted to certain areas, prompting me to simply stand where I was, trapped in some random aisle of Wal-Mart until I was rescued. This was also totally normal in pregnancy. I was fairly certain they would have told me growing a second head was also totally normal in pregnancy.
Thing One was very excited about the baby prospect, though she didn’t really understand it. I bought her a doll house and a family complete with a baby. She put the baby in the closet under the stairs, Harry Potter style. I would put it into the crib and she’d come back later, frown, and diligently move the baby back under the stairs. I was slightly concerned for Thing Two.
Labor was definitely different this time around. For one thing, I experienced actual labor pains. I did not like them. I went to the hospital, was told I wasn’t having good enough contractions, and sent home. Thing One went to her grandparents, but before she did she peeped over my hospital bed and said “I love you, Mommy” for the first time. I think I worried her just a bit.
Good thing she didn’t see me later. When I went back to the hospital after a few hours, I was in pain, and it was bad. The nurse put an outside baby monitor on me and said I was a big fakey whiner, essentially, because the monitor showed my contractions weren’t strong at all! I told her that the outside monitor didn’t work on my first child, so they used an internal one. Since my water had this time refused to break on its own, they couldn’t do that. So the nurse just rolled her eyes when I screamed bloody murder.
My husband finally related that you know, generally my wife doesn’t scream so loudly you can hear her down the halls of the hospital unless she’s actually, you know, in real pain. The nurse huffed and let me have some demerol, which was THE BEST THING EVER at least for a little while. My husband left to get a sandwich. About that time, the doctor finally showed up to check me and SURPRISE SURPRISE I had progressed from a 2 to an 8 with those teensy tinsey contractions! Go figure!
They hurriedly gave me my epidural and got my husband back upstairs. He didn’t get to eat his sandwich. Sadface for him. Since they waited so long to give the epidural, I found that it didn’t have time to actually work all the way. They still charged me all the way later, though. At any rate, I did manage to push anyway. At one point my husband said, look, the head! This was the point at which I decided I never wanted to see that part of me again, thanks. Minutes later, Thing Two arrived in the world weighing 8 pounds, a pound and a half bigger than her sister. And she was almost two weeks early. I am thankful I never went full term. I’d have had Hercules.
She had a bright red face and a shock of Pat Benatar-like black hair. After staying with me through that screeching labor, my husband declared “She can name the baby anything she wants.” I should have taken him up on that and named her something far out like Pocahontas, but fortunately for her, I chose a more suitable name. (Hint: their names are not actually Thing One and Thing Two, though it would not surprise me if there are real children out there with those names, considering there is a baby named North West.)
When we brought her home, we were told that I was not to carry the baby in with me so that Thing One would not feel like she was being replaced. So when I walked in and tried to hug my eldest, she placed her hands on her hips and demanded “Where is my baby sister?” Ah, well, so much for that. She thought Thing Two was the best thing ever invented, at least for a couple of years.
And you’ll be happy to know, she was never put under the stairs.