Second time around is very different, Bailey says. On the one hand, knowing what was coming made her feel a little nervous; on the other hand, it also meant she was more prepared. “Because of that, the spinal block before my C-section went really well, and the tugging and pushing of the operation wasn’t as surprising. I felt slightly more relaxed.” One thing that didn’t change, though, was the magic of the moment when the Georgiades family met their son for the first time. “My husband was an endless support and held my hand the whole time. When we heard his cry for the first time, we both squeezed each other and I remember feeling this wave of emotion and love for my newborn and my husband.”
You’re going to be a brother!
Husband DJ Sox is clearly delighted with the new addition to the family, and Bailey says she feels like a queen surrounded by her beautiful boys. But, how did older brother George (2 years 5 months old) respond?
The first day was a little challenging, Bailey admits. “I’d pictured this Disney moment, but instead, as George entered the room to meet his brother, Alexi started crying, and that made George cry. George is a real little empath and always gets upset if he sees others feeling sad, so we had two crying kids to settle.” That’s a tricky situation for any mom, let alone one who’s recuperating from a birth that took place just hours ago. Bailey’s instinct was to give George lots of cuddles, and to wait until he was ready (and until Alexi had settled) before introducing him to his little brother. “George was a little wary and very slow to warm up. I was more concerned about what would happen when he left me and the baby in hospital, but that went better than expected. We had lots of kisses and then he turned and said confidently, ‘Bye mommy!’”
George wasn’t the only one to have a pang. Bailey says the months leading up to the birth were very emotional. “I held onto George a little longer – I actually felt like I was cheating on him! I felt so sad that I would have to share George and even Alexandros, even though I know a sibling is the greatest gift.” One way to ease the transition, she found, was by sharing extra quality time: she and George headed to Build a Bear to make bears for the boys, and she spoiled him with a little gift when he came to see her in hospital. She also took care to place Alexi in his bassinet, instead of holding him in her arms, when George came to meet his brother.
Although his cheery farewell made her feel everything would be ok, the family faced more challenges when she returned home with the baby. “Although we had talked about Baby Brother a lot before the birth, George wasn’t very happy, so we made sure we gave him extra loves and included him as much as he wanted to be included, without forcing anything.” As (bad) luck would have it, that first day home was also a hormonal one for Bailey, so she felt overwhelmed and upset. “Twenty-four hours later, we had a complete turnaround. George really is the most resilient little boy and while he was slow to warm up, he is now besotted with his brother. He brings him all sorts of ‘gifts’, from his carrots to his toy cars. He is constantly kissing his brother and if Alexi cries, he calls the ‘doctor’ on his ‘cell phone’. He constantly wants to help with nappies, or putting the dummy in and my heart could explode when I see the bond they already have in such a short period of time. I worried unnecessarily, but I suppose it’s natural to worry, and it’s all part of the emotions of adding another blessing to your family.”
From mom’s perspective
Just as children have very different personalities, so the experience of their birth can be very different too.
The differences started in pregnancy: with George, Bailey craved fish, olives, salads and other savoury goodies; with Alexi, it was carbs, carbs, carbs. She’s not sorry she indulged, though: “It’s only a season, and I have the rest of my life to lose the weight – kindly.” There were also a lot more pregnancy symptoms this time around – and, of course, running around after an energetic toddler didn’t make things any easier.
The births were very different, too. Where George struggled to latch, Alexi is a natural, and Bailey is lucky to have a steady milk supply – but, she adds, that doesn’t mean breastfeeding is easy. “We’ve both been learning, and I’ve had awful, painful nipple damage,” she confesses. “I believe that fed is best, and each mom has to decide what is best for her.”
The nitty gritty
Having learnt that most of the ‘necessities’ stored in the overnight bag don’t get used, Bailey kept her hospital packing to the minimum this time around: maternity PJs, slippers, face wipes, dry shampoo, hairbrush and hair ties, toothpaste and brush, Cariwell mesh panties and maternity pads and no makeup, apart from BB cream and mascara. She also remembered a camera, a journal, vitamins, a double adapter to charge her phone, a long charger that could reach the plug point from the hospital bed, and Mrs Milk Oat Bars – but she did forget maternity bras!
Packing for Alexandros included babygros (prem ones, because newborns can be so tiny – although at an impressive 3,64kg, Alexi didn’t need them!), dummies, steriliser, Telament drops, newborn socks and beanies, blankets, swaddles, muslin cloths and the Nurture One Pillow.
Bailey and her husband knew that they would choose a Greek name for their baby – after all, his father’s heritage is Greek, and he will be christened in the Greek Orthodox Church. Although there was a runner-up name, the minute she held her baby to her chest she knew he was Alexandros: “The ‘knowing’ felt bigger than me and it was the most amazing goosebump moment to experience this.
“I feel so incredibly lucky to be surrounded by my Boys! Becoming a Boy Mom has made me feel this immense pride and responsibility to raise true gentlemen,” Bailey enthuses.
*Photo Credits: Veronique Mills
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.