Two under two

It’s the last day of my maternity leave. It’s been nice 2 years at home with baby daughter Gabija…I wish. Surprising as it was, the year 2021 didn’t bring us peace and maturity, but the next set of size 1 diaper challenge: Gabija’s baby brother, Augustas, who turns 3 months on February 10th.

I know I know…many people say I never was extremely excited about having a kid, let alone two. And to be honest, having the first baby changed that gradually. That being said, Augustas was a total surprise and I didn’t know I was pregnant with him until week 10! Around similar time last year I was all in coming back to “normal” life: Gabija started to walk, me and Ignas had more room to breathe and continue our work, own business matters and sports, indeed, the February last year was as intense as I remember cycling and running outdoors…while being already pregnant. Once I realized I didn’t want coffee, I craved potatoes and tomatoes, and I wanted bread thirst thing in the morning… Something very familiar. I used one of my leftover pregnancy tests and voila – two lines, in less than a year.

“What did you think, you couldn’t have a second pregnancy in a year while feeding?!” – my doctor asked me in the first visit. (Dr Marwan, very straightforward male gynecologists who also was my doctor for Gabija). I was told to cut short Gabija’s feeding and get ready for the second one which, after another 7 weeks, showed to likely be a boy “Somehing between legs – see – it can’t fall off – surely a boy” – my doctor was convinced. Ignas was happy, and in my heart I also felt overwhelmed but content that we are going to have a boy and a girl, and that they will be close enough in age to be playing together in a few years, when I will start getting my life back again. Maybe.

Pregnancy #2 was in a way easier because I found out rather late and skipped the first horrible trimester of morning sickness (effectively I had it, but only felt it stronger when I found out I was pregnant, luckily in the end of the 1st trimester! – talking about psychology…). Second trimester was smooth, we went twice on holiday to Lithuania, went to the Baltic sea. Gabija enjoyed being able to run around in the forests, swim in the sea and lake. I guess the tiring part started when we got back to Abu Dhabi in August 2021: back to heat, back to office, and on to the last 3 months of waiting. When I was pregnant with Gabija, last 3 months were chill: Netflix, legs up, pizza and ice cream and long sleeps. Now with Gabija active and starting a nursery in September, and bringing home all the nursery bugs… we had no time to rest.

I was going to office until last two weeks before birth when my doctor advised me to stop, unglue myself from the Bloomberg screen and go WALK. Augustas was due on November 5-7. He was late. Last days of waiting were a torture. But it came like a flashlight. Ignas was working from home that day, at 3pm I felt my first contraction, 3:30pm it was strong enough to make me bend, at 4pm we were on the way to the hospital….6:09pm Augustas was born. It sounds “easy” as it was rather short, but it was definitely the most intense experience I had in my life, like Gabija’s birth squeezed into 3 hours, including intensity. Ironman is a walk in the park compared to that. But I was happy to be able to deliver normally again and with little damage to me or the baby who was… hold your breath… almost 4.2kg at birth and 56cm in length, in the 10th percentile or so relative to other babies born.

After birth, Augustas grew very fast: at 2 months he already measured 7kg and grew 10cm! This baby boy is going to be big which, frankly, is hardly a surprise given our genetics (me at 1.77cm, Ignas 1.85cm, my dad closer to 1.9cm, my uncle…maybe around 2m?). Otherwise, except for a random pee-pee shoots and a little more demand for cuddle, Augustas turned out just as healthy and good sleeper like Gabija: we rush to bathe him in the evening, after which point he falls asleep around 6:30pm and is only waken up by us at 1am for a night feed which I don’t think I can skip for now as he is still so small. We definitely have been more relaxed with Augustas as we feel now being “experts” in changing diapers, feeding, bathing. Also, he got less attention than Gabija this age because of… Gabija!

And Gabija turned out to be THE trouble of the first months after Augustas’s birth. Never did I realize that the baby who was so happy, ate and slept so well, will start to behave odd when the new baby arrives. She was the princess of the house and suddenly, exactly 24 hours after Augustas’ birth, we arrived home with him in our hands just before Gabija’s bed time. She ran over, looked at us, and ran away. Shocked, puzzled, confused, said something, and went to bed… couldn’t fall asleep easily that night nor the coming few weeks, asked to be held by the hand, woke up frequently, cried, asked to be taken to bed by …her dad, not me. She seemed to hate me. She didn’t want to come close. I tried all I could to pamper her: snacks, toys, new table…didn’t work for over a month. It was a big shock to her as well as the immense challenge to us, so our sleep time in the first month barely reached 4 hours in total, and no single interval over 1.5 hours. We felt this never is going to end. Plus, Gabija got some bug again from the nursery, Augustas got sick in his first month: nose, cough… we got it too, so we were sick and tired (literally) until about middle of December when my parents arrived to Abu Dhabi for a visit. Relief!

The value of grandparents around is immense, especially when having a nearly 2 -year old around who wants to be running around all the time. She had fun, they had fun, we had a good time together while also taking our opportunity to enjoy pleasant and warm Christmas. On Jan 1st, my parents left, our life came back to hectic, however more controlled in that Gabija again sleeps alone through the night well and Augustas is keeping her good company. One time to wake up to feed at 1am, then 5-5.30am morning starts for everyone. We have help – our maid – comes around 6.30, so we manage to squeeze in some morning training sessions as well. For the first time in a year again I feel I am getting my life back, just a little bit.

If there is one thing I can say about having two kids under two is that it is very challenging. Sometimes it gets on your nerve and you can’t help yourself but vent out. But on other occasions, when you go with your whole family for a walk or have lunch, when you watch your nearly 2-year old start riding a scooter, when you see your 3-month old starting to hold his head… life gets a meaning. Now we look back and think: how could we ever ever be without kids? Where did we waste our time then?

Our life is not full of diapers alone, we both have jobs, we do our venture and sports, we did our first triathlon ace after Augustas’ birth a week ago and we are planning to travel for Easter. The last few years have proved: the less time you have, the more you are able to do. But more about that, maybe next time…

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