Mother balances life with one child at home and another on the way

MIDDLEBURY — Perhaps every baby is a miracle, but Danielle Rheaume and Will Wedge felt extra blessed by their first child, born two and a half years ago. After several complications while attempting to conceive, the doctors were unsure it was possible and told Rheaume she may not be able to carry a pregnancy to term.
“That kind of thing is difficult for anyone,” Rheaume recalls, “so when we first found out I was pregnant with Duncan I was so excited and relieved.”
Now, with a toddler at home, Rheaume is pregnant with number two.
But for this expectant mom, the first trimester of her pregnancy has been tough. With a terrible bout of nausea that has had her feeling down since before she knew she was pregnant, it’s not only the joyful exploration of the transformation and change with new life that has defined her pregnancy. And as if her own struggles weren’t enough, she is also managing her son, Duncan, as he works on giving meaning to the expression “the terrible twos.”
“Duncan has just recently become a little monster,” Rheaume says. “He has all this cooped-up energy because it’s winter and mama’s sick and doesn’t feel good enough to go outside to play.”
With his constant energy, Duncan zooms around exploring and testing his parents’ patience.
“He’s all of a sudden testing us constantly,” Rheaume says, “it’s pretty normal for his age, but I also think that he’s beginning to understand that we have this new baby coming and his world is going to change.”
Amazingly, Rheaume is still her calm, relaxed, and happy self most of the time.
“I realize that I may sound negative at times, but I really want to say that when it comes down to what matters, it’s all positive,” she says. When you’re a parent, nothing else seems to matter, Rheaume says, “it all just falls into place like it was always supposed to happen.”
For Duncan, the coming of the second baby is a mystery he is just beginning to work out.
“At first he really didn’t understand,” Rheaume says, “but the more we talk about it together, look at pictures, listen to the baby’s heart beat, and begin to plan, the more he understands.”
As an older sister, Rheaume says she is excited to watch as her children grow up together and share experiences.
“I think it will be wonderful for Duncan to have someone to be close with,” she says. “Of course it won’t be all good all the time, but then there will be those times when they hug and kiss and I’ll probably cry or something, because that’s what moms do.”
Rheaume says she and Wedge draw from many of their own experiences growing up to guide their parenting moves.
“The most important thing for me is instinct,” she say. “I do ask my Mom a lot of questions, and other people who I think may have similar experiences.” But when it comes time to make a decision, “I just do what feels right and makes sense.”
Now going in to her second trimester, the morning sickness is easing a little and Rheaume’s energy level is beginning to rebound. But for a while it was really challenging.
“It’s difficult to be a working  mother trying to perform well at my job and then also — perhaps more important for me — perform well as a mom to the child I have at home,” Rheaume says. “And it’s challenging for Will, too.” With so little energy to maintain her routine tasks in the family, Rheaume says she has ended up putting more stress on her fiancé.  
But, Rheaume says, the support from her family and from Will and even Duncan has helped her pull through what she hopes is the worst of it, and come out happy and positive on the other end.
“Will is my savior,” Rheaume says, “those nights when he comes home from an eight-hour shift, makes dinner, puts Duncan to sleep and somehow still has energy to rub my feet are the times I know I’m the luckiest woman.”
Rheaume and Wedge are also lucky to have their own parents nearby, who help out with Duncan while they are at work.
“The nature of our business is working late nights,” Rheaume says, who works with Will at the Storm Café in Middlebury. “We’re very fortunate to have support from our parents, who can accommodate watching Duncan while we’re at work.”
However, once the new baby arrives, things may have to change a bit, and Rheaume and Wedge are beginning to consider what that means for their family.
“With a new baby and Duncan beginning school soon, we’re going to have to consider a schedule that is more aligned with other schedules around.”
They have been fortunate that Duncan has been willing and able to follow their irregular patterns and accommodate to a changing schedule. But coordinating two kids’ schedules may be something else, Rheaume says.
“I guess we’ll have to wait and see,” says the cool-headed mom. “All I know is that that kid (signaling toward Duncan) doesn’t follow anyone else’s schedule but his, and that will be the same with this kid (pointing toward her belly and laughing).”
The most important part for Rheaume and her family is that they’re all excited and open to the new baby. “We’re not sure what she or he is going to be like, but we’re excited for anything,” she says. 

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