Home > Family, Parenting > My second son

My second son

At first, I sang through the pain.

By the end, I’d given up on singing. I was screaming, sobbing, and cursing, taking some comfort in knowing each surge of pain moved me closer to meeting my second child. The pain would pass and leave in its place a miracle.

And, indeed, ten years to the day after meeting my now-husband, I held our second child in my arms and rejoiced.

Me and Littler J

I really didn’t want an epidural.

My decision didn’t reflect an urge to show how strong I am; strength is far more than that. Nor was it borne from reading research.

It came from remembering. My last labor was a succession of interventions that arguably needn’t have been. Thanks to an epidural then, I didn’t feel much pain, but I did become profoundly groggy and lethargic, neither of which made for a smooth or timely labor.

Worse, when my first son, Li’l D, was born, he showed the same lethargy. I couldn’t rouse him for most of our hospital stay. When awake, he showed little interest in breastfeeding. I left the hospital with admonitions that he must eat soon, but no practical guidance about how to make that happen.

The next several weeks attempting to breastfeed were a struggle. The struggle consumed most my waking thoughts. I couldn’t be sure it was because of any one factor, but I suspected the epidural played a role. My own epidural “before” and “after” experiences were so divergent, I wondered what might have been if my son hadn’t been in a stupor his first couple of days. If he’d been awake enough to engage.

daddy littler j

My second son, Littler J, almost immediately roused when tickled and stirred at jarring, unexpected sounds.

He fed easily.  At one point, a nurse even exclaimed, “Eating again?!” I replied that this was so much better than the opposite.

It was only several days after Littler J was born that I looked into the connection between epidurals and breastfeeding. There does appear to be a correlation between epidurals and difficulty breastfeeding. See, for example, “Epidurals: risks and concerns for mother and baby.”

There were likely other factors at play in both labors, but my post delivery reading made me glad I opted to skip the epidural this time around. I feel like I traded a few hours of pain for weeks of suffering.

Yesterday, I dressed in a cute outfit and walked to the nearby drugstore. It was a small but beautiful thing.

Last time, I spent so much time and energy struggling to breastfeed that I had little left over for anything else.

This time, with my littlest one not yet a week old, I’ve not only made a trip to the drugstore, but another to the aquarium. I’ve gone shopping with my now four-person family, and this morning carried my littlest one on a solo shopping adventure.

I’m tired, and moving slowly, but I am happy. I am down-in-my-bones, irrepressibly happy. I’d feel it even without the memory of last time, but remembering last time makes this joy feel all the more vibrant.

As my husband paces the house with our tiny son in his arms, I smile.

As my littlest one stirs from sleeping on my chest, I smile.

As my oldest son kisses his little brother’s toes, I smile.

As I awaken to the sounds of my littlest one cooing–not crying, because he reserves that for expressing his indignity at exposure to cold–that he is ready to eat, I smile.

I’m tired, yes, but I’m smiling.

Oh, how I am smiling.

little toes

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  1. April 7, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I’m mostly offline for now, so please know in advance I am thankful for any and all well wishes.

  2. Kay
    April 7, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Congratulations! He’s gorgeous 🙂

    • April 13, 2014 at 11:50 am

      Thanks, Kay! I could spend hours looking at that sweet face, which is all the more true now that he’s starting to look back. 🙂

  3. April 7, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    He is adorable, Deb! I am so very happy for you both. A family of 4…what a precious blessing. Congratulations!

    • April 13, 2014 at 11:51 am

      Thanks! Li’l D was adamant about wanting a sister, but he’s taken to Littler J completely. I feel so blessed. ♥

  4. April 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Wonderful news! Congratulations — may he continue to thrive always.

  5. cardamone5
    April 7, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Oh, congratulations and I am so glad for the smoothness in breastfeeding and mothering Littler J. The ability to be able to enjoy new motherhood (even if its the second time around) is what we all envision and hope for. The euphoric happiness and ability to appreciate the specialness and fleetingness of this time with your new baby is so precious. I am so happy for you that you are able to feel it, and get out and about. You are living every mother’s dream. Unfortunately, most mothers don’t experience it, which is what makes it even more special that you can. Just over the moon for your and your family. Enjoy!

    Fondly,
    Elizaabeth

    • April 13, 2014 at 11:54 am

      The euphoria is definitely tempered by moments of frustration, but . . . euphoria is definitely the right way of describing this feeling. I wish it were something everyone could experience. In my mom’s case, for example, she wanted to be a mom and only a mom. Her life circumstances made it hard to live the ideal she’d imagined, which was challenging for her but didn’t stop her from laying a beautiful foundation for my siblings’ and my future success. Remembering how hard it was for her–and how she tried to smile through it regardless–makes it easier for me to remember how much reason I have to smile, and to be grateful. Even when I’m frustrated!

  6. April 7, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    congratulations! I was just thinking about you the other day and wondered if it had happened yet!

  7. April 7, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Congratulations! I’m smiling too for you and your terrific family!

    • April 13, 2014 at 11:56 am

      Thanks, Patti! Love abounds in our household right now . . . even more than clutter, which is saying something! 😀

  8. April 7, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I’m smiling with you. Congratulations and God bless you all!

  9. April 7, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Congratulations!!!! 😀
    Smiles abound… they are contagious, spreading across the blogosphere.

    • April 13, 2014 at 11:57 am

      Thank you! They really are. In fact, I find as I reply to these comments, just reading the word smile evokes smiles anew. I dig it!

  10. April 7, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Beautiful baby boy! Congratulations!!!

  11. April 7, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Congratulations! Your post made me look forward to a second birth, and look fondly back on our first. What a phenomenal, life-changing moment it is. Enjoy holding the tiny, fragile person you’ve made and introduced to the world!

    • April 13, 2014 at 11:59 am

      I recall so little of the first birth, it feels like a gift to recall so much of this one, and to remember that first meeting vividly. It’s a wonder to hold a new person, and to marvel at how we all started so, so very small and frail and then slowly grew into ourselves!

  12. April 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Congratulations! I’m so thrilled for your family! Welcome to the world, Littler J! ❤

  13. April 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Congratulations! So wonderful for you!

  14. April 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Yay he’s arrived and he is beautiful!!! Congratulations to you and your family 🙂

  15. April 7, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Smilin’ for all of you. I know you and A will keep holding him tightly and gently as the photos above show.

    • April 13, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      We have! Best of all, Li’l D has done some of his own holding, and it’s precious as could be.

  16. April 7, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    congratulations!!! 🙂

  17. April 7, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Congratulations Deborah. B

  18. April 7, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Congratulations! He’s gorgeous.

    • April 13, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      Thanks, Darla! Only a week and a half into his life, he looks so much bigger but still totally gorgeous to me . . . not that I’m biased, of course. 😀

  19. April 7, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Congratulations to you all, Deb, he is a beautiful baby! Blessings to all of you, and your devoted readers know you’ll be busy in the coming days, but more pictures are always welcome (hint,hint). 🙂

    • April 13, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      Thank you! There will be at least a few more photos coming. I’m aiming for this week, but of course, that’s as circumstance allows. ♥

  20. April 7, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    I’m so overjoyed for you and your family. I’ll bet Lil’ D is over-the-moon with his new baby brother. I think Littler J looks a lot like Lil’ D. Take care of yourself! Much love and good thoughts are being sent your way :)!

    • April 13, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      Li’l D really is overjoyed! He made a few grim statements about how he under NO circumstances would accept a brother, but then recanted the moment he heard he had a baby brother. He was so excited for their first meeting, he actually toppled his great grandma en route to the hospital room because she wasn’t moving fast enough! It’s been mostly pure sweetness since. There have been a few fleeting moments of jealousy, but they really have been fleeting . . . and overshadowed by the great love shown in all the other moments. 🙂

      • April 13, 2014 at 4:19 pm

        I’m so glad to hear from you. You’ve been in my thoughts. I’m so happy for you, A, and Lil’ D. Enjoy the heck out of your family. 🙂 I hope you’re getting some good rest, too! ❤ Big Hugs!

  21. April 7, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Congratulations. And I too am smiling for you – so broadly my face hurts.

  22. akatpat
    April 7, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Congratulations! Precious!

  23. April 7, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Congratulations Deb– what a little cutie. …so happy for you.and your little family!

  24. April 7, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    So many congratulations!

  25. April 7, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Congratulations! How wonderful, wishing your whole family many blessings.

  26. April 7, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    so precious

  27. April 7, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Welcome to the world littler J! 🙂

  28. April 8, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Oh. How lovely. Yes, I had no epidural and at birth, my little one opened her eyes demanding to see. She was quite the hungry little girl. I love the last photo of your baby’s little feet. Enjoy this time with your newborn.

    • April 13, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      I am so deeply enjoying this time! This morning, having also enjoyed a large cup of coffee, I’m using some of his nap time to catch up here. 🙂

  29. April 8, 2014 at 5:42 am

    Oh those feet! So glad to hear you are doing so well! Missed your voice.

    • April 13, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Thank you! I have to say, I’m so enchanted by those tiny feet that feet pictures are almost as abundant as face pictures on my camera so far. 😀

  30. April 8, 2014 at 5:44 am

    Interesting, the connection with epidurals to post-delivery challenges. Makes me glad I didn’t have one. I simply didn’t want anyone near my spine. :-p Congratulations and love to the family! ❤

    • April 13, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      Hear, hear! Also, though it’s only for a few minutes, they make non-medical personnel leave the room for the epidural. I did it last time around and cried, even with the gentlest of gentle nurses, but was not interested in a repeat this time.

      Much love back. I can’t wait for you to meet the littlest one. ♥

  31. April 8, 2014 at 5:50 am

    Congratulations to all of you…. all four of you! Love that you are up and about and most of all…. all that smiling that is going on in your life!! 🙂

    • April 13, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      It feels so good to be up and about! I tried pushing it too far earlier in the week, going on a brisk walk that ended up being a terrible idea. I took a longer, slower walk a couple of days ago and found that worked much, much better. It feels weird to move with intentional slowness, but not one bit bad. It feels like a gift to be moving at all. ♥

  32. G M Barlean
    April 8, 2014 at 6:12 am

    Congratulations! Loved the picture of his feet!

    • April 13, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      Thanks! I adore those tiny feet. And because he hates being constrained, we swaddle him with is feet hanging out. It makes him look like a tiny, adorable ET, and I just love those toes so much I want to nibble on ’em! 😀

  33. April 8, 2014 at 6:15 am

    Congratulations! Have been missing you! Enjoy your time with him.

    • April 13, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      Thank you! I’ve enjoyed almost every moment so far, including the five-diaper-changes-in-ten-minutes ones. 😉

  34. April 8, 2014 at 6:29 am

    Congratulations. Enjoy your babymoon. 🙂

    • April 13, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      I love that term! “Babymoon” feels just right.
      Thank you. 😀

      • April 13, 2014 at 12:27 pm

        It’s my biggest regret with my daughter. Next time I’m locking the door. x

  35. April 8, 2014 at 7:24 am

    What a beautiful new life! Welcome to the world, littler one 🙂

  36. April 8, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Congrats!

  37. April 8, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Aww! Congrats! I’ve been looking for this post. =)

    • April 13, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      I thought it’d just be a short one with a few pictures, but . . . wouldn’t you know it, short just doesn’t seem to happen often here. :p

  38. April 8, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Oh gosh, he looks bigger with every photo I see! Love and squidgy hugs for all of you.

    • April 13, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      In just a week and a half, he’s gone from easy to hold at length in one arm to holdable that way for only a few minutes at a time! I remember thinking they grow so quickly, but I’d forgotten just how quickly.

  39. April 8, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Absolutely wonderful! Congratulations to all of you!

  40. April 8, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Congratulations! To all of you! He’s so beautiful!!

    • April 13, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      Many thanks! Six days later and he’s still making my heart melt, which I anticipate will be the case for many years to come! 😀

  41. April 9, 2014 at 4:54 am

    I am so happy for you I want to do a little dance. Happy you are home, happy you are walking about, happy the newest addition is eating easily. He is absolutely beautiful, I expected nothing less of course. You are also glowing right along with him, I expected nothing less of course.

    Congratulations to all of you ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

    • April 13, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Thank you! Last time, I spent so much time trying to feed, then pumping, then cleaning bottle and pump parts, that I hardly seemed to have time for anything else. To just get to savor so many moments looking into this tiny, sweet face . . . it is a gift I savor. ♥

  42. balmtomysoul
    April 9, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Beautiful! Your writing is almost poetic. Sounds like you have a beautiful new challenge! Good luck!

  43. April 9, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    I love this so much. So much! It was the opposite for my 2 children when they were born; the second one with an epidural did eat and latch on right away but my first one I didn’t have the epidural and had exactly the opposite, just like your oldest without the epi. I did have Demerol at one point with him which made him very lethargic and sleepy which is why I opted for the epidural the second time. Plus because I was 12 years older and a big wuss. :). Your post brought me happy tears for you and smiles. 🙂

  44. April 13, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Thanks, Marie! ♥ Love continues to abound here. And wouldn’t you know? Littler J kindly waited for me to reach the last comment here before rousing, which he’s doing right now.

  45. April 14, 2014 at 6:43 am

    Love you dear friend!!

  46. April 14, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Congratulations! So happy that your new family member is here safe and sound.

    • May 14, 2014 at 9:39 am

      Belatedly, thank you! He is safe, sound, and sleeping soundly this very moment, hence a little while to do some comment catch-up. 🙂

  47. April 14, 2014 at 10:42 am

    So beautiful! ❤ Congrats to you all on your newest love, and I'm so glad to hear it's going so well.

    • May 14, 2014 at 9:40 am

      Thanks! It’s been a little rougher since about a week after he was born, but with persistence (and support! and running! YES!!!), little rays of light are getting larger.

  48. April 15, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Congratulations!!! Such a beautiful family!! 🙂

    • May 14, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Thanks, Arlene! We finally got a pic of all of us yesterday, and it was delightful to see us all in one picture. Unfortunately, it’ll probably be a little while till I have my own copy, but still . . . just knowing it’s there is very, very sweet.

  49. April 19, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Aw, Deb! He’s beautiful. So happy for you all!

    • May 14, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Thank you! He’s such a determined little guy, it’s a treat to see him growing. And amazing, isn’t it, how quickly they grow and change at this age?

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