Here we go again: the long-delayed, long-yearned-for first post after having my baby … in this case, my second baby, whom we named Georgia Kate Riggs. Just as writing about Oliver for the first time was hard, writing about Georgia is as well, this time for different reasons.
With Oliver, it was the shock of new motherhood that kept me from writing for four months—the paradoxical feelings of falling ferociously in love and not knowing how to claim my new role as mother, which as any parent knows, is a profound, complex, and sometimes tough position—not the cute and cuddly vision I had had of it. Exacerbating this was the fact that—grandparents hold your tongues—Oliver had about the most challenging personality any baby could possess: fierce, demanding, loud, and funny. I could write pages filled with proof points, but this post is about Georgia … and it’s too early to support second child stereotypes.
The circumstances of my waiting to write about Georgia are that—well, I haven’t been waiting. I just haven’t had one moment. Georgia came five weeks early because my eight-month bout of sciatica turned out to be a herniated disc that ended up causing some serious nerve damage, necessitating an emergency C-section followed by spinal surgery.
Georgia emerged into the arms of a very wobbly mom, an exhausted, worried dad, and a patient, brave brother (from whom I had never spent a night apart). I don’t really know what we would have done without the hands-on, tireless support of my parents and later Craig’s, as well as my incredible brother, Dylan, who flew from San Francisco with the blessing of his eight-months-pregnant wife, Nicole, and six-year-old daughter, Eva. Not to mention the endless calls, dropped-off dinners, gifts, and other support from friends and family around the country.
For the first 48 hours, I didn’t get to see Georgia; I couldn’t sit in a wheelchair in order to go down the hall to the neonatal ICU, and I couldn’t yet walk. My mom and Craig were the first to report back on what I was missing: a delicate, peaceful, healthy, five-and-a-bit pound beauty. Still, I worried. Would my shock at the whole ordeal, and my physical and emotional fragility, impact my ability to bond with this baby?
As I approached the incubator, my anxiety melted away. Instant joy. Instant. Despite not being able to hold her, despite all the contraptions helping her cope outside of the womb, I was with her and she with me just as surely as if we were lying together snuggled tight in a blanket. She was perfect, and I was her perfect mom. We were meant to be.
The ten weeks since Georgia’s arrival have not been easy. We are exhausted from the strain of a million things besides the normal tiredness of newborn/toddler care, none of which I will detail. But what we can say is that Georgia seems to know we’re at our max, and is making it her job to be a low-impact, happy baby—her only request is that we never, ever put her down. As you can imagine, we’re not griping too much about this demand.
Georgia has massive blue eyes, a fair amount of light brown-red hair (on its way to being blond, like Oliver’s), huge cheeks, and a tiny nose … she looks a lot like Oliver did when he was a newborn. She’s already chosen her favourite among us, smiling and staring transfixed whenever her big brother is around being a goofball for her. She’s also thrilled to snuggle in to both grandmas’ chests and gurgle contentedly until she falls asleep sighing a little song.
And for me, for now, Georgia is a little miracle who provided the burst of light I have clung to through the medical scare that was and the rehab that is. It would be easy to take for granted her general “good baby-ness,” her relative quiet compared to someone else we know around here. She is definitely lugged around more and we can’t give her the obsessive, unlimited attention that same someone once received. But her acceptance of this only intensifies my marvel at and love for her. She will challenge us in time and present all sorts of idiosyncratic quirks (we can already imagine this from the sideways smile she’s starting to crack) but given all that has gone on in the last couple of months, her gentleness is a wonder.
Welcome Georgia, you tiny, beautiful creature.