Sometimes, I think back to where I was a year ago. I was working as a nurse, splitting my time between genetics and pediatrics, in positions that I loved. I was pregnant, with my belly getting bigger every day, feeling that baby squirm around all the time. I was so excited to find out if Charlotte was going to have a sister or a brother. Charlotte asked me every day about when the baby would arrive, and suggested names like “Baby Doll Carrot” for her sibling. I was filled with so much joy and anticipation. I was also experiencing a fair amount of anxiety about what the future would hold. I was worried about how I would manage caring for a newborn and an active preschooler. I wondered how Charlotte would feel with our attention being divided between her and the baby- I didn’t want her to feel left out or neglected. I think back about all of this, and I wonder, what if I’d had a crystal ball?
What if I had known what was in store for us? I wouldn’t have wasted any time worrying about how Charlotte would handle having a baby in the house. She walked into the hospital room to meet her baby sister with a huge, wondrous smile on her face, and there hasn’t been a moment of jealousy on her part. She has always been understanding of Penelope needing my attention, and even when the doctor’s appointments starting taking over our lives, she never reacted badly. Charlotte adjusted so easily and completely to Penelope, I still can’t quite believe it.
I wouldn’t have worried so much about how we would handle doubling the number of kids in the house. Somehow, we managed, and there have certainly been times when I have wanted to run screaming from the house (like yesterday, when Charlotte was suffering from a case of cabin fever and Penelope covered me head to toe in vomit and stool) but it hasn’t been as difficult to juggle the two girls as I had feared.
If I’d had that crystal ball, I would have spent all my time worrying about my unborn baby. All that joy and anticipation I experienced would have been lost. I suppose we might be a few months ahead in the diagnostic and medical intervention process, but I think we would pay too steep a price for a negligible benefit.
Nine months ago, our beautiful baby girl came into our lives. It has been a roller coaster of love, laughter, heartbreak, and acceptance. I’m still not at the point in this process where I can say I am no longer angry with how things have turned out- but I’m closer than I was even a month ago. Progress.