I'm pretty sure I've written this before, but it happened again today. I've found on the occasions that I've visited my doctor's office I end up leaving in a mess of emotions. To help explain this, my doctor's office is on the 4th floor of the Women's Building of Lake Forest Hospital which is where I delivered Tera.
When I walk into the building I'm taken back to the night I went into labor and Tom dropped me off at the door and went to park the car while I headed up to the delivery floor. It was 5:30 in the morning so no one was at the front desk as we were told would be true at that time and I headed toward the elevator in the dimly lit lobby, waited not so patiently for the elevator to arrive, and rode on up.
When I go to his office, I generally take the stairs because the elevator takes forever and it's not that far. But as I walk up those stairs, the first floor that I come to opens right up into the waiting room of the floor where the NICU is located and where we sat with so many family and friends as Tom delivered our news. It's also where Tom and I spent hours of that first week of her life after I had been discharged, but she hadn't. In between feedings and visitations we would camp out in that lobby with our laptop and phones and return calls, pay bills, and catch up on the many, many emails we were receiving following Tera's arrival and subsequent diagnosis.
As I continue up the stairs the next floor I come to is where the lobby for the post partum rooms are. It was in this lobby that Tom and I visited with people who came while I was still admitted and where they could wait to come in and see me.
Then I finally head up to the last floor where his office is and where there aren't so many dramatic memories.
Every time I go there I have to go through this conflicting trip down memory lane, and then, I go through it all again on the way back down! Now common sense might tell me to just take the damn elevator and avoid all this craziness, but for as much pain, both emotional and physical that I felt in those places, it doesn't compare to the overwhelming excitement and amazement the first time I was finally able to meet my baby girl.
Today this seemed to bring on even more emotions because it made me think of the next time that I might be on those two floors. The time that Tom and I have been thinking about planning on for "the sequel" is not too terribly far away any more and being in that building brings up so many thoughts and emotions for me. I look forward to delivering another baby. I know that sounds crazy and don't get me wrong, it's an incredibly painful and insanely uncomfortable experience, but I liked that part of my pregnancy. It was one of the reasons I want to do it again; I can't imagine not having that experience a second time. But it also brings up so many fears and worries. What kind and how much testing do we do? Will my next labor be as fast as my first? What if it's faster and I can't make it there? What if it's longer and I realize I'm not as strong as I thought I was? What if there are other problems that are even more serious than what we faced with Tera there? How do I handle taking care of her and a new baby? And even the question that has plagued me since the day she was born, what if I don't love the next baby as much as I love Tera? It's an incredibly hard thing for me to even express in writing, but I know other people have felt the same way about children after their first and I think it's a valid feeling. I feel like I could never love Tera anymore than I do now and it seems almost impossible to love another child that much as well. Do I think that's actually going to be a problem? Absolutely not, but it's very difficult for me to imagine right now.
Then to top off all these feelings, Tera was sick today and when I came home she definitely was not herself. I will say I did get some amount of snuggling, though not as much as some other people today. Apparently I have to keep reminding myself of the words of wisdom from a very good friend of mine. Once last year when Tera had been sick for a day or two, I noticed that she would snuggle and sleep on Tom when he was home with her, but when I was she was whiny and cranky and inconsolable. I was the one who was desperately seeking cuddle time and he was the one getting it. My friend told me that her sitter had told her that kids always feel most comfortable with their moms so that's who they're the most temperamental for. With other people they feel a need to basically put on a good show, but with mom they don't have to pretend. True or not, I like to believe it because it's the only thing that makes me feel better when she's screaming for me and sleeping quietly in her father's arms.
Tomorrow she will be home again, though not with me, so I'm sure she'll be her usual sweet self.