In November 2004, Maggie joined our family in almost the same way her big sister did. Another c-section but this time, our little surprise decided that coming into the world butt first was more her style. I shouldn't have been surprised since just about every ultrasound Maggie was mooning the world. At first, the ultrasounds said that Maggie was actually a boy, but I think I knew in my heart that the "he" was a "she". My pregnancy was less eventful than it was with Riley. Despite the stress I had of Riley's surgery, my husband being gone for the first part of my pregnancy and moving cross country when the Air Force decided that we were going to be a west coast family - all in all it wasn't too bad. I did have high blood pressure, but no preterm contractions this time.
Maggie came into the world at 37 weeks, healthy and happy. I was able to hear her first cries and see her slimy, wrinkly little self. From the second she was born - Maggie was completely different from Riley. Riley was a daddys girl from day one. Maggie was a total Mama's girl. Riley is a mini-version of my husband. My husband has blue eyes and tan skin and so does Riley. Maggie has hazel eyes, fair skin - just like her mama. Riley didn't want anything to do with me for the first several months of her life, she only wanted her daddy. She could tolerate me - but she wouldn't breast feed or really cuddle with me the way she would her daddy. Maggie on the other hand - she camped at my boob and couldn't stand to be apart from me. Part of me loved it and drank it in like air, but the other part of me was just exhausted.
I don't know if it would be considered a mothers instinct, my I knew when I was pregnant with Maggie that something was different. I'm sure that every pregnancy is different for every woman, but I knew that something was different about her. I knew that she was coming into the world different than other kids. She had something to show me, something to teach me that I knew I was going to have to learn. (that damned hindsight struck again, friggin bastard!)
At birth, Maggie was a beautiful, calm, gentle spirit. (Unless someone tried to touch her other than me, than all hell broke loose and she was a friggin raging bull!) As long as she had her spot next to my boob and was cuddled up to me like a hot water bottle - she was a happy camper. My mom said that she was just a girl who knew what she wanted, which was great, but it was also one of those things that I knew she would have to deal with in order to grow as a person. (I know, what the hell was I worried about? She was a friggin newborn infant - she was supposed to want her mama and just want to eat, sleep and poop 24/7 right? Well, I worried, that was supposed to be my job right? RIGHT?) I don't know if it was the new military wife in me or the mom of 2 kids under age 2 thing, but I felt like i had to go into survival mode. My husband was going to have to go back to work, my mom would have to go back to North Carolina and I would have to figure out how to survive and live.
In all honesty and I'm not kidding - I truly do not remember most of Maggie's first 2 years. My life revolved around Riley's in home therapies to help her with her speech therapy and occupational therapy, her antibiotic schedules and trying to ignore this little voice inside me that was telling me that something was wrong. I truly thought that it was normal to worry constantly about my daughters and what they were and weren't doing. Add to it the upcoming deployment that my husband was heading off to (thanks Iraq!) and trying to recover from another c-section (yeah, I thought I was supposed to "bounce back! HA!) when I got the news that once again - I WAS PREGNANT! There I was getting used to have two kids ages 2 and 6mths when all of the sudden I realized that birth control didn't always work because I was pregnant again! And of course, my husband was leaving. I know I was not the first woman in the world to be faced with those challenges, but I sure as hell felt like I was.
I was 23 years old. I had 2 little girls with unique needs. I was over 3000 miles away from home. My husband was heading to Iraq for 4 months (thank you for that Air Force!) on his first deployment. But, I had to swallow the fear and deal with what was going to be my new reality. I had a 2 year old little girl who required intensive in home therapy for what we thought was just some "developmental delays due to hearing impairment and medical complications", a 6 month old little girl who was "very attached to her mama" and I was 7 weeks pregnant with another child. Little did I know how much my life would change over the next four months.