So yes it very nearly the end of February - well it was when I started this - and now it's March. But I'm trying.....
Anyway most of us have stopped thinking about our New Year's Resolutions. But not me. This one has been plaguing me since mid December when I decided that I was going to resolve to blog again in the New Year. More specifically, to blog about my new little boy who has been woefully neglected in these pages. Happily however, it is because he hasn't been neglected in the physical world that I haven't had time to talk about him in the digital one.
But that doesn't stop the guilt. Doesn't stop me thinking about the fact that by the time his big brother was almost seven months old he'd been the subject of hundreds of his mother's rambling posts, had his entire life discussed down to how many hours he'd slept and what he'd had for dinner. I have no excuse other than the fact that I am now to mother of two beautiful, energetic, intelligent and yes - very demanding - boys. My house is full of mud, dust, piles of washing (clean and dirty), unmade beds and various duplo works-in-progress.
Now though I want to try and make amends. Because in the future Laurie might stumble upon this blog and think that I loved him less or something equally horrific and very untrue. But also because in years to come - when my boys have abandoned me for football pitches (please no!), girlfriends and lives in which I am no longer the centre of their universe I might like to remember a time when they really needed me and I got to squeeze them and kiss them whenever I wanted to.
So Laurie, this is for you - and for me, for posterity. And Rufus - don't worry - I'll be writing about you too.
I worried a lot about having another baby. Would I be able to love another child as much as I love Rufus? (Yes, of course). Would I be able to cope with the demands of two children? (Most days - with a few tears, random singing, a bit of shouting - tsk, and some top notch negotiating). Would I cope with being pregnant? (I must have done but amid the puking and the eating of many, many packets of love hearts I don't really remember that nine months.)
What I was most terrified about was giving birth. As soon as I got pregnant I started to worry about it. Second time round you know what you're in for. At first I was gung ho about trying for a natural birth and "doing a proper job of it this time" - as someone so helpfully commented. But after an afternoon of painful Braxton hicks I remembered how terrifying labour was. How despite my best intentions I truly am rubbish at dealing with pain. I knew that hyponobirthing and essential oils weren't going to help me. And no one could promise me I wouldn't do 27 hours again and then still end up with an emergency section.
So after a lot of thought I decided to book in for an elective section and end the misery of pregnancy a week or so early. (I couldn't bear the thought of going overdue either). I had a moment of peace - and then the panic started again. The consultant had given me a booklet that basically told me how likely I was to die if I had a second section. The risk is small and not much greater than a natural birth. But the idea stuck in my head.
When I was pregnant with Rufus is never occurred to me that something might go wrong. That something might happen to me or to him. Second time round it was all I could think.
I was so frightened the day before Laurie was born that I sent the following email to my family - I'm posting it here because it was important and I think Rufus and Laurie should see it in the future, and to show all those people who think a section is the easy way out - that actually it's just as scary:
Subject: Just in case
No one will be more scathing of this email than my husband, the eternal optimist – and even I feel much less inclined to write it than I did last week – but I feel that if I don’t write it now I might be tempting fate.
Lovely as it is to know that we’re having a baby tomorrow, I am still slightly terrified that something might go wrong. I’m not worried for myself, but for everyone I would be leaving behind, especially my little boy. I’ve read the stats, I know the odds are largely stacked in my favour – but as we know my life long fear of being on the cover of the Daily Mail I just want to put this provision in place – just in case it all goes a bit wrong.
The legal bit - So in the hopefully very unlikely event that anything should happen to me – and then shortly after to Tim – as previously discussed with the relevant parties but not written down. My sister Rachel Anne Speechley is to be the sole guardian of our children. Our “estate” is to be used in their upbringing and to support Rachel in bringing them up as best she can.
All being well we’ll all be fine and I’ll be home by the weekend with a new baby – but if I’m not I’d like to say the following:
Tim – you are perfectly capable of bringing up our children. You’re a great daddy and would do a marvellous job without me if you had to I’m sure. And everyone will be there to help you.
But of course – me being me – I need to leave some instructions. Anything I say in regards to Rufus obviously applies to the second one too – but I don’t know it yet so I can’t be specific.
I want my little boy to have every opportunity available to him. He is never to be told that he cannot do anything. If he wants to be an astronaut he can be one, if he wants to be a soldier (even thought it would break my heart) he can be one. I want him to be told that he can do anything, even if it seems impossible, he only has to work hard and do everything he can to make his dreams come true. I want him to always know that we’ll support him in every possible way we can to achieve his dreams.
That said I don’t want him to feel pressured to do things he doesn’t want to do just because he should or because that’s what a good middle classed boy should do. I want him to go to the best schools/universities for him – the one that suits his personality, skills and needs – not the one that everyone else is sending their children to or that other people think we should send him to. It has to be perfect for him.
I need someone to read to him every day, to foster his love of books and words and encourage him to discover his imagination and creativity. Computer games are fine – but I want him to know what it is to love reading and writing and drawing and creating things.
I want you to tell him that I love him every, single, day for the rest of his life, without fail and to give him endless cuddles. I also want you to tell him that I never imagined how much he could change my life and how much I could love him. He is amazing and even though I get grumpy with him when he ignores me and he makes me very tired I wouldn’t ever want to be without him. He is so clever and talented and special and I really couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing him grow up. So if anything happens to me tell him I’ll always be his mummy and I’ll always be there for him even if I’m not physically here. I’ll always be watching him and helping him in any way I can from where ever I am.
Michael Buble will always be our soundtrack and Everything is our special song – so please help him to remember me.
Finally tell him that I’m sorry – sorry that because he is so perfect I just wanted to have another perfect baby too and I pushed my luck for wanting two, when really he would always be enough.
Of course this will all be totally irrelevant and everything will be fine. Sorry if this has upset anyone – but I just needed to say it – just in case. I love you all very much and couldn’t be a good mummy without any of you.
PS – Simone is to do the flowers – no carnations! I want you to play Michael Buble, Mariah’s Theme (Rainbow Album), Count on Me (Whitney Houston – Waiting to Exhale), Army of Two, Wish for you (Faith Hill). I want to go to the ever after in a nice comfy pair of PJs (boden have some nice ones in their autumn catalogue) – just in case you have to stay in what you’re wearing for all eternity – figured I should be comfy. And Eddie is to come with me. All this to save any arguments about what I might have wanted.
After I'd made everyone cry for a few hours Mr Jones took me to the Olive Branch for dinner - in case it was my last ever meal. And after a fairly sleepless night with no food or drink we went to the hospital for my section.
I couldn't have been more thankful that I was first on the list. The staff were amazing and calm and efficient. I felt slightly detached and disbelieving of everything that was happening. While I sat on a trolley in the operating theatre and the doctor was putting in my spinal (Mr Jones wasn't allowed in at this point - I have no idea why) the midwife supporting me said that I was very calm. I remember saying "My last birth wasn't at all calm and I'm determined that this one will be." And it was. Even when the spinal didn't work and they had to give me an epidural everyone was calm. The surgeon rambled off to find an ipod dock so we could have music (very cheesy music). And even when they had to get big old Laurie out with forceps it was all very calm. And that is why I think Laurie has always been a calm and happy boy. Relaxed and chilled and easy going. He didn't have to try and fight his way out for hours like his brother. We went in and got him and he's gorgeous.
I might be wrong but I think the difference in their births might explain a bit about the differences in their personalities. Rufus was always so tense, even his limbs were scrunched and taut for weeks until he finally relaxed. Laurie was so chilled he just slept. I had to wake him for feeds and use cold cotton wool to get him to come round. Rufus I walked to sleep while he screamed. Laurie would just drop off. But they're both very amazing.