7.13.2021

Becoming a family of four

I've been feeling the urge to write again, even though blogs are basically considered vintage now. But it's been two months since we welcomed a new baby and I have a lot on my mind, so here we go! 

In May, we welcomed Noa Romney into our family. Although Emi was born at a birth center, her birth was extremely difficult and long so this time around I wanted to be in a hospital just in case I wanted additional resources. Despite my fear of hospitals, her birth was everything I wanted it to be. Chris and our doula, Paige, supported me as I labored at home until I felt the urge to leave (I had a pretty strong feeling that if I didn't leave soon, I wouldn't be able to). After a fast and intense hour at the hospital, our baby girl was born after a few powerful contractions. Everything went so quickly and smoothly in comparison to Emi's birth that Chris and I kept marveling that she had arrived already. Funnily enough, I went into labor the exact same time I did as with Emi-- 3:30 am, six days past my due date. So the entire time I kept bracing myself for a really long labor, but Noa was born an entire 24 hours earlier than Emi! 


We have definitely had some challenging days (specifically with Emi) but postpartum has been so much easier this time around. My recovery was faster, I knew what to expect when my milk came in, and my mom came again to help for two weeks. Chris also had paternity leave, which I recognize is an incredible privilege. 

My days with both girls have formed a natural rhythm. We go on long walks in the morning, nap in the afternoon, and Chris and I divide up responsibilities both morning and night. Noa likes to be held so she spends most of the day in a carrier or in my arms, but I don't mind since she gifts us with eight hours of sleep every night (and miraculously has since she was five weeks old?!). Emi doesn't show much interest in Noa, but expresses annoyance when she cries. Noa, on the other hand, has never been bothered by Emi's crying and I think its because she heard so much of it while in utero ha. The other day Emi grabbed Noa's foot and it was super cute until Emi scratched her and made her cry. But even still, the entire interaction made me smile. 

During my entire pregnancy (and even before that), I worried about the logistics of having a baby with a child in a wheelchair, how I would care for two littles who would need to be held, how it would all "look." Some of these were disability specific and some were "normal" adding-another-child concerns. While it's only been two months, I've discovered that you just figure it out and do it. For example, Chris and I timed how long it would take one of us to get Emi buckled into her wheelchair, put Noa in the carrier, walk/take the elevator down to the parking garage, load both girls, and get the wheelchair into the car with the portable ramp. Knowing this has helped us get out the door on time and have realistic expectations for going anywhere (without rushing, it's about 13 minutes. Plus doing it all in reverse when we arrive at our destination). 

Overall, the adjustment from going to one to two has gone well. We never really left the baby stage (diapers, waking up multiple times a night, crying without knowing the reason, etc) so we just added another one. There's always someone that wants to be held, a diaper to change, dishes to wash, and laundry waiting, but somehow we do it. To be honest, things are quite happy if Emi is having a good day. Her moods can be quite extreme so if she's sad or raging (when she screams and is inconsolable, sometimes for hours or days), it usually ends up being hard and exhausting. So we are grateful for every happy day we get💛

It's been a few weeks now since Noa started smiling and cooing and I have to say, it's truly a different experience having a child that can see. Chris and I marvel at how Noa makes eye contact and reacts to our facial expressions. It's wonderful to feel such awe daily, but I simultaneously wish I didn't sometimes. It's difficult to explain, but it almost feels like my awe disrespects Emi's differences and disabilities. I know that we are just beginning to navigate the journey of having a non disabled child but we've had many discussions surrounding the emotions and complexities of parenting two very different children (at least we assume so. We didn't do genetic testing). I'm not sure exactly what things will look like but I know we will figure it out as we go along, especially as Noa gets older. For now, we are enjoying all of the babyness :)

The Romney family is doing well. Chris is still working from home, but it seems like he may be returning to the office in September. Emi is in preschool and loves it. She's also been seizure free for months and even though we aren't exactly sure why, I'm so grateful for it. I enjoy taking pictures of my family and love being able to stay home with my girls. Noa is a content baby who loves to look around and chat and sing with us. I definitely did not need to worry that I wouldn't find my second child as cute as my first haha. We survived a pandemic and are feeling hopeful as we emerge from covid life. When I looked back at my last post, I realized we've all come a long way in the past two years. I'm grateful for the growth, the good times, and this new beautiful family of four I have. 

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