Sunday, June 6, 2010

Preparation

Will is very "aware" (as much as he can be) of Emma. Now that her room is well underway, he loves going in there. He especially enjoys getting in "Emma bed" and looking at the jammies and onesies all washed and ready (!) for her in the closet. He was a little jealous of the bookshelf that we got her, since he has been going through a house phase, so we took a wooden firehouse out of his playroom and put it up there.

We haven't disturbed anything in his room and don't plan to. He is still doing just fine in his crib, with no escape attempts and (mostly) sleeping soundly through the night, so we plan no bed transitions in the next few months. The only thing we were thinking about "stealing" to move into Emma's room was the rocking chair, but as he still really loves being "rock rocked" before bed and we read in that chair constantly, we have decided to leave it and just buy another for her room. Since friends gave us the crib and changing table and we have gotten all of our clothes through handmedowns, it's something we can afford.

We read books to him. I found a whole bunch of "New Baby," "Big Brother," etc.-type books at the Goodwill and a garage sale. We probably have ten of them. He picks at least one out every night as a bedtime story (I am not trying to force the topic, but he seems very interested in it).

He points to the baby in my tummy all of the time. If you ask his sister's name, he will tell you Emma. He points babies out in public spots. When we go to the doctor, he talks about hearing the "heartbeep" for days after. When we pulled into the OB's office parking lot the other day, he excitedly said, "Emma? Heartbeep?" This is the same building where she'll be born, too.

This all being said, I am fully aware that he is just a little guy himself and there is no way to truly prepare him for what is coming. I know that until the rubber meets the road and she is here, he will not understand any of it. We just wanted to do all that we could to ease the transition for him.

What advice do you have (even if you've not had a second child - or even a first - what have you seen others do or what did your parents do) that made it easier for when a sibling was born?

A few things that I am especially curious about. . .

1) The hospital.

I will be there for at least three days, possibly four. Will is staying with his Grandma an hour away. Obviously, she wants to come and visit and has said she will bring him. I have heard that having them meet on "neutral" territory is the best idea, but I am a little unsure about whether he will be scared of the hospital (he doesn't like it when I have my blood pressure taken at the OB - so imagine all of the things that could potentially scare him when I am post-op) and if he will be upset to have to leave us again. So. . . do you think he should come meet Emma there or just stay away?

Oh, and also, the hospital offers free c-section tours, and he would be welcome to go on one of those with us. I definitely don't think M and I need that, but do you think he is old enough to get anything from it?

Edited to add: Our hospital lifted the "no kids under 12" policy (that was put in place over the winter because of the H1N1 virus) last month. So at this point, he can visit us.

2) The homecoming.

One book I read said that he should be at the house when Emma arrives so that he doesn't feel like he went away for a few days and everything changed in his absence. Then another book said that he should allowed to be part of the homecoming, so meeting us at the hospital and bringing her home. I am not sure if he is old enough for this to matter much, but what do you think?

Of course, I am also just worried about the first few weeks in general. Any advice on easing the transition would be extremely helpful and much appreciated! Thank you!

9 comments:

HereWeGoAJen said...

I'd do the hospital tour with him and see what he thinks of the hospital before you decide whether to take him there. Also, I've heard that the "scary" part of the hospital is seeing mommy "sick" so think about that too.

Can you borrow a friend's baby for a couple of hours to get him used to the idea? Or just get a doll and practice with it. Oh, and one of the other really good pieces of advice that I have heard is to make sure you say things like "Emma, you'll have to wait because Will needs me right now" since Will will be hearing so much of it the other way around.

Beth said...

My oldest two boys are 18 months and my youngest two boys are 20 months apart, so we've dealt with the preparation and the transition to having new babies and Big Brothers at our house. For the most part, (for me) it's much easier "in real life" than the anticipation of it.

I had the big brothers come up to the hospital each time (we explained that the hospital was like the doctor's office, and I was feeling and looking "well enough" to not scare them!). And to be honest, they were more interested in playing with the lights, doors, chairs, bed, etc. (yes, typical boys) than seeing the baby. They were with family too, and I don't remember them having too much trouble leaving the hospital and saying goodbye to me. Play it by ear of course, depending on how things go with the c/s and post-op, but if you do decide to have him come up, I would definitely have him come according to his schedule, and have snacks, toys, and a "Big Brother" present on hand (from Emma). It might be helpful for you to be in street clothes vs. hospital gown, and for you to touch and hug him and give him all kinds of attention; as much as you can do without overdoing it following c/s too.

The homecoming part was fine too - they were just so excited to get back to "normal" and have us all together again that it didn't matter that there was an extra person in tow! For one homecoming, we had Big Brother get home (from grandparents' house) after we arrived home from the hospital. And for the next homecoming, Baby Brother and Mama arrived home @ 10 PM at night (he was jaundice and in the Pediatric Unit until he was 4 days old) and the Big Brothers were asleep, and woke to find out that Nate had moved in over night. Ha! But that went well too. We just spent the first few days/nights in a sleepless stupor, and we kept everything very low key.

M will play an important role during the first few weeks too - he'll be doing most of the Will-care, while you work on recovering and tending to Emma. (Likewise, you'll also see how much more relaxed you will be this time around - Emma will cry and you'll know that she will be okay through a story if you're reading to Will, etc. Or you'll be able to share your lap with 2 babies, even while one's nursing)

I think the key is to return to "normal" as soon as you can - and normal will now include Emma. You'll be amazed at how well Will does, I'm sure :)

And I promise, your heart and soul will expand to be able to pour more than enough love and attention into them both!

Elise said...

Hi! We are TTC #2 so I've given some thought as to how we would go about it with our Will.

What about having Grandma bring Will to the hospital just a little while before you're supposed to be discharged? That way he can meet Emma on neutral ground, visit with Mommy and Daddy (more than likely you will be dressed at this point so maybe it won't be so scary), open his present, etc. Then when it's time to go home, mommy, daddy, Will and Emma can all go home together in the same car...that way he feels like he's part of the homecoming, too.

I guess the drawback is that it's a long time to go without seeing your sweet boy! Whatever you decide to do, I'm sure Will will roll with it. He seems like a pretty laid back little guy.

So excited for you to bring home your new little one!

Anonymous said...

As for the hospital, as long as you are lively and acting like yourself I think he'll be fine. My son came to the hospital after his brother was born but was much more excited to see my husband and I than his brother - who he really just ignored. Once you're home (and I think however you arrange the homecoming is fine - my kids were always with us leaving the hospital but do whatever is easiest for you), the worst case scenario is that he will be grouchy/attention-seeking for a week or two while he gets used to sharing you. Your husband will help out a ton with this, I'm sure, and also make sure to hand off baby to your husband for some Will time here and there. I also made it a personal rule that I could always fit as many kids on my lap as wanted to be there, even if I was nursing the baby... just so no one ever felt left out. I cannot tell you how many times I nursed my youngest with my middle son (only 1 and a half at the time) sitting on my other leg. A few weeks after Emma's arrival, he probably won't remember not having her around :)

PamalaLauren said...

I would make sure that you can even take him to the hospital at all. My hospital doesn't allow it due to the H1N1 junk even though technically it's summer and doesn't matter anymore. Plus my daughter is vaccinated. So she'll be staying with my sister and mom and step-dad while I'm in the hospital.

Our homecoming is going to involve her coming to the hospital (but not inside she'll have to wait outside with a family member) and riding home with us to the house.

Of course my daughter is 4 so it's a bit different.

Searching said...

If a relative brings him up then they can be free to leave with him whenever he's had enough. Def do a gift from Emma to Will and maybe he can pick out an outfit, blanket, or stuffed animal to put in her bassinet when he meets her. As long as it's not something he will want for himself! They seem to enjoy hopping in bed with mom and eating cookies (or anything!) off the hosp tray table. Something new for them to investigate and he can see mommy is just like normal. Might need to prepare by putting a pillow over your incision though. A nice flop on there might reallly hurt!! Seeing you in recovery might be pretty scary with all the sights and noises and things you are hooked up to. Prob better once you are free of all machinery/catheters/tubes. Little ones are generally pretty flexible as long as they get the attention they need and feel it's not too unfairly catered to the newborn. How exciting that it is getting close!

Sophie said...

My first born went to stay with her aunties and cousins for my 2 day hospital stay, then our reunion (including her new baby brother) was very low key, private, and special, and our 'new' family all went home from the hospital together. We held off on extended family visits for about a week- we didn't really need the help for newborn # 2, and wanted our core family to coalesce first. It was a good way to go IMO.

studentrntiffany said...

Oh goodness, I dont have a suggestion, but I just wanted to say that I really think you are doing a fabulous job!

justine said...

Wish I had the answers ... because I may be asking these questions, soon, too. Feel celebrated today!