The Nervous, Exciting Wait for Baby #2

I remember the sense of excitement mixed with terror that I felt leading up to the birth of my daughter. Would I be a good dad? Would our baby be well taken care of, happy, healthy, would we make the right choices for her? Would I be a good coach and helper to my wife through the birth, would I be able to handle the sleepless nights ahead, would I be able to protect her from harm? And how do you diaper a baby anyway? Yes, I am a worrier.

This time around, I am happy to report, the excitement-to-terror ratio has tipped much more to the former. My daughter is a happy, intelligent, sweet 4-year-old, who is eager beyond words to become a big sister and has been practicing regularly with her dolls. As the new year dawns, we feel blessed to be imminently welcoming a new little one to our family, more confident in our abilities, and more accepting of the countless unknowns that accompany parenthood. Many of the questions that so preoccupied me last time have been answered, to the extent that they can ever be, and we are more laid back about the small stuff. Or maybe we’re just better at triaging the many responsibilities we’re juggling. Crib? Who needs it? The baby won’t sleep in it for months. Let’s get diapers, a bassinet, and oh yeah, the car seat is in storage somewhere.

But now that the essential details are taken care of, the car seat not just found but installed, the bassinet sitting expectantly, the diaper box waiting to be opened, some of that familiar dread is returning. What if Stephanie goes into labor in the middle of a blizzard? What if my daughter, so incredibly excited to be a big sister, actually has an extended and intense melt-down when it actually comes to be?  And it gets darker, much darker, from there. I will spare you the details.

Still, anticipation and excitement beats back, or maybe just masks, the anxiety and dread. Watching my daughter hug and kiss my wife’s bulging belly, organizing the logistics of childcare for when we’re in the hospital, packing the bag… we’re nearly done with what we planned to do before the birth. And, uncharacteristically, it’s still a few weeks before the due date. And now we wait, hope, fear, anticipate, imagine, and hope some more.

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  1. by Minni

    On December 23, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Don’t worry, it still happens to ALL new parents… We are awaiting number four and there is still some fear and anxiety that things will be different this time and something we can’t handle will happen. But with each child, the excitement takes up more of the ratio than terror! Hang in there.

  2. by Sarah McKinney

    On December 23, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Our two girls were three years apart when we had our second. I had no idea how the eldest would take to being a big sister, I was amazed and am still amazed 14 months later. It is so fun to watch them interact together. The newborn phase goes by so quickly so enjoy the good and the bad of it as it comes. I think that anxiety is natural whenever, but remember you guys have been through the ropes before, you’ll do great. Good luck.

  3. by Welcome to the World, 2011 Babies! | GoodyBlog

    On January 3, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    [...] Congratulations to the parents whose babies were born on January 1, 2011! The Executive Editor of Parents.com, Michael Kress, welcomed his own newborn daughter on an unforgettable date of the year.  Read his recent post on anticipating his second child. [...]