Our Baby Story
Then and Now –A decade apart
Having a baby at age 32 and again at age 42 is a wide awakening to the evolution of approaching motherhood. What I felt at 32 was bewilderment, excitement and a little fear. Pregnant for a second time 10 years later, I felt bewilderment, excitement and a little fear—but all for different reasons.
I gave birth to my older daughter, Emmy, in July of 2002. In a new marriage and a new city, the idea of raising a child seemed stimulating but scary. Why didn't the hospital send me home with a manual or directions on how to take care of this precious little one? Would I be a good enough mom?
But somehow, among the parental scrapes and bruises, missteps and mishaps, a divorce and remarriage, my 2002 baby has grown into a happy little lady just 10 years later.
I always knew I wanted a bigger family, but after divorcing and getting back into the shifting single life, I had come to the understanding that I might not have that opportunity. However, a few years ago, I met my future husband and things completely changed.
A compassionate man with a zest for life, he demonstrated early on that he loved me and my daughter for who we were, and I love him more than I could ever imagine. We married in 2011 and right away knew we wanted to bring another child into our world.
As an "older" woman flirting with fertility, I wasn't sure that I could even get pregnant, but we were blessed to discover we were expecting just four months after our wedding day. As thankful and excited as we were, I was worried about a few things.
It had been 10 years since my first pregnancy and I wasn't exactly a spring chicken. At 42, I was a concerned about the risks associated with carrying a baby at my age, as well as the risks to my unborn child. Would I have the patience to nurture and love another little one just as much 10 years down the road? After my first child, I lost the baby weight within a few months. How would my aging body react a decade later?
But I also had a lot of things on my side. As a younger mother, I was in fairly good shape and pretty healthy. But as a soon-to-be older mother, I was stronger both physically and mentally, not to mention more in tune with my overall health and wellbeing. In the past 10 years, I have made wellness and fitness my livelihood, so I felt confident with both my body and mindset.
My food intake had improved over the years, too. As a younger expecting mother, I ate a fairly healthy diet, but when I craved something "bad," I would have it, even if it meant munching on a hefty combo from a burger drive-thru or replacing my normally nutritious breakfast with a collection of Krispy Kremes. But my lifestyle had grown healthier over the years—for me and my daughter. Although a trip to the ice cream shop was not unheard of, I seemed to hang on to most of my good habits throughout my second pregnancy.
Another difference I noted was my attitude about pain relief. In my first pregnancy, I had watched a number of TLC-A Baby Story episodes and saw how serene and "spa like" natural labors seemed to be. In my strict birthing plan, I informed my doctor that I was having my child without an epidural. But when Baby was late and I was induced, no amount of walking, squatting and squeezing my then-husband’s arms helped the pain. "Where's that guy with the drugs?" I had screamed.
The second time around was quite a bit different—but I’m not sure I actually saved myself much pain. I knew I wanted an epidural and visited with the anesthesiologist in the labor and delivery room to make sure he was ready and able when needed. Apparently though, when I needed it, he was busy, and I went throughout most of labor without it.
But by getting the epidural late in the game, I was very involved in the birth. My doctor and nurse didn't have to tell me what was happening. I could feel when I needed to push and could sense the baby coming out. I will never forget how beautiful that moment seemed.
As far as how infancy has changed, my first child was on a fairly strict agenda. At a friend's suggestion, I read the book Baby Wise, and we followed the stringent feeding and sleeping schedule almost to a tee. I felt stressed adhering to such a rigorous plan and, looking back, I bet my infant daughter did as well. Although she did start sleeping through the night very early, I knew I wouldn't do it again.
This time around is quite different. We feed our baby at her cues. We rock her to sleep, and we immediately gave her a bright pinky binky as we left the hospital. It has been 15 weeks, and she wakes up once, sometimes twice a night. She naps with me on my chest, eats at odd times and gets swaddled and cuddled if she's having a hard time going down for a nap.
And I love every minute of it.
Lisa Taranto Butler is married to Aaron Butler and lives in Kansas City. She has two daughters—Emmy, who is 10, and Eva, 4 months.