It’s a boy!

Jack made his appearance on Sunday, 7 February at 11:51 AM weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces and measuring 19.5″ long. He was five days early, though he was gracious enough to wait until after my birthday to make a move.

And move he did. According to my maternal notes, labor took a mere one hour and eleven minutes (from 3cm dilated), and transition – that is, pushing the baby out – took an incredible nine minutes. This compared to the ten-ish hours of labor with Beaner and the two-plus hours of pushing. My water started slowly leaking on Saturday and I was in the hospital being induced by that evening. My husband was eventually allowed to be with me and we spent a sleepless night in a cold delivery room waiting for things to happen. When the freshly-graduated-from-training, too-chipper-for-five-in-the-morning midwife released the rest of my water by painfully waving her fist around inside me while checking for baby’s head (“It’s right there!”), contractions started getting stabby. We had planned for and subsequently asked for an epidural, but as fate would have it, the anesthesiologist was stuck in theater. And he would be for over an hour and a half. Jack arrived so fast, I didn’t have time for an epidural. (Don’t ask how happy I was about this.)

Blinding pain and the agony of wanting the torture of labor to stop at all costs aside, Jack’s labor was fairly quick and easy. The only complication (aside from that wanting-to-die-from-the-pain bit) was that his shoulder got stuck on my pubic bone in a condition called shoulder dystocia. When his head popped out, I essentially gave up laboring because the hardest bit was over, but the midwife and my husband grabbed my legs and threw them up in the air so Jack could be repositioned. The fear was of him being stuck for so long nerve damage could occur or a lack of oxygen would impair his birth. Fortunately, he came right out after being rotated.

As with Beaner’s labor and delivery, there is so much more that happened, so much more I want to say. But writing the blow-by-blow would take up thousands of words. And life doesn’t hand you chunks of time to write exactly what you want. Then the real trial of taking care of a newborn creeps up and all of a sudden it’s been six weeks since your son’s birth. There’s the initial high of creating a new life and then the low of severe sleep deprivation and a crying baby kicks in. Factor in a toddler who’s trying to adjust to a new sibling, a husband who’s trying to complete a master’s from home, and a global pandemic one year in the making (and counting), and the stress goes through the roof. It’s all you can do just to survive 24 hours. And so here we are.

Things will get better. We have had help along the way, even with lockdown restrictions, and I’ve been able to reach out to my support network and talk through some of my frustrations, fears, and tears. I wasn’t expecting breastfeeding to hurt as much again. I thought it would be much more natural since I breastfed for nine months last time. But no, the blisters on the nipples, the not wanting anything to touch exposed flesh, even the gentle sucking of a pump was all too familiar to me. Even now, I’m still sore. I know this time my supply won’t dry up, but the container of formula sits on the counter as backup and my pumping gear is drying from my last session. I’ve done it before, but damn, I wanted it to be easier.

Life lesson: newborns are incredibly hard, but they’re also incredibly worth it.

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