At three months postpartum I’m finally getting around to introducing this big guy on the blog! But you know what? I’m calling it a win because life with two littles has been a whirlwind! (Someone send wine, haha.)
That said, Caden LeRoy has been such a joyful addition to our family and home. JR is completely smitten with him (squealing at the sight of him every day) and his personality is emerging by the minute.
I took these photos within the first week of his life and they are some of my absolute favorites. I love his soft, fuzzy arms, shoulders and back – and his expressions are just priceless! (See below.)
Caden was born on April 8th at 5:22pm weighing a whopping 9 lbs 13 ounces. My (big) little guy came into the world with the most serious (almost frown!) look on his face and we don’t hear the end of this from family and friends – “he’s so serious!” – which is hilarious, given that JR is known for being such a smiley, happy fella.
You might have caught a glimpse of one of Aaron’s earliest Instagram shares with the caption “the many faces of Caden,” which is something we say a lot because he’s so expressive! Thankfully there have been a lot of giggles and smiles mixed in lately, which is so fun to see! Although, I can’t get him to smile on demand like JR does. (See below.)
When I think back on the labor and delivery of Caden, I can’t help but be filled with gratitude and ease remembering the events of the day. It was a new and exciting adventure for Aaron and I (to experience full-term labor) and something we reflect on with gratitude and awe today. As Aaron says, “that was pretty cool,” – and it was, despite all the pain (OMG, the pain!) caused by contractions and a vaginal birth; 15 hours of labor and a nine pound baby; *PHEW!* I’ll just leave it at: ouch, but, yet worth it times a million.
I was scheduled to be induced that Monday but late Saturday night I didn’t feel well. At first I thought it was a stomach ache, but in the shower I was able to pinpoint the pain as contractions. Eeep! Contractions – “he’s coming!” I thought.
Similar to my labor with JR, my initial reaction to Aaron was, “something is wrong,” haha – but at 40 weeks and 5 days, nothing was wrong; it was simply time for nature to take its course.
We had an eventful drive to the ER where I felt every bump in the road – the contractions were SO MUCH STRONGER and more painful than I remember them being with JR! I held on for dear life as Aaron ran through a red light or two — “geez,” I thought, “this is really painful!” I was also so confused as to why my water hadn’t broke!?
When we got to the hospital they checked me in, and after a quick check they said considering how quickly things moved with JR, they wanted to be ready, and wanted me to be ready so I could ahead with an epidural if I wanted one, and you bet I did! Getting it was a lot more difficult and uncomfortable than I remember (I didn’t get one with JR but I got a spinal for the placement of a cerclage with Caden). My contractions were strong, and they’d continue to be, right up until Caden was born.
Our family and friends gathered and sent well wishes and prayers. There was a stream of texts from my closest girlfriends and my mother, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law gathered by my door. Aaron was a strong support as well, holding my hand and breathing with me through each contraction. He was by my side the entire time – except when he ran to the car for our overnight bag, which, he treated like a workout, making it there and back in record time!
I had a lot of anxiety leading up to pushing. The nurses said I was “saying all the right things,” and it looked like the time was right (I was finally fully dilated). I WAS SO SCARED, Y’ALL! I don’t know why; I knew it would hurt, but more than that I was worried something might go wrong — he’d be too big, something.
Well, thankfully nothing went wrong. Caden was just super big! Lol. Pushing him out was no easy feat, but I had an incredible nurse who coached me through four big breathes and pushes with each contraction. (She also leaned in and told me ‘there’s only one way out of this’ which gave me the nudge to push as hard as I could!), which is exactly what I did and Caden was born within just 20 minutes!!
They put him directly on me and he was so slimy! Both our faces are in a bit of shock at that moment. It’s truly incredible to think we shared a body!
Seeing him in the flesh, he was nothing like imagined. He had this serious scowl on his face and he was so big! I remember asking “is he big? Is he?” And the nurse laughed and said, “well he isn’t small!” ?
The whole process from start to finish was really quite remarkable. The laboring all day, the actual pushing, and then that first moment together. It was just beautiful. Redemptive in some ways too. I kept thinking, ‘We did it. We made it all the way.’
That night, after Caden was born, was the absolute best. He was the perfect baby; no crying; lying so contently on my chest. He nursed like a champ and snuggled in-between. Having this immediate skin-to-skin and just smelling him and feeling his hair– my heart exploded y’all. It felt like heaven. Here I was, with a brand new baby boy. ANOTHER boy. Blessed doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Going home was the most emotional for me, and I wasn’t expecting that. I was in good spirits throughout our stay and didn’t feel overly emotional or overwhelmed by emotions until that last hour when they wheeled me out. The relief of ‘we did it, we’re going home. HOME!’ was pretty strong — leaving the hospital is something I’ve come to appreciate more than your average mom, but it was more than that. It was wheeling past the NICU. Not knowing, the nurse wheeled me down the hallway to the elevators in front of the NICU and just sitting there with Caden in hand. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe the stark contrast to the last time I was in that hallway– pleading for God to rescue my one and only boy. Now I had two!
I cried and it was so cute, the nurse leaned in (with a puzzled look on her face), and said “did you have a premie before or something?” Oh, hunny. You have no idea! I sure did. And that, was no walk in the park.
Pulling in at home there was a lot of excitement about introducing JR to Caden in our home. We did an initial introduction in the hospital but bringing the baby home was different. Of course, JR was pretty content watching Mickey and didn’t pay us too much attention at first, but soon, and over time, he’s come to love being a brother, I think. He asks about the baby and gets excited when I bring him out in the mornings or to the car for outings. I love the way JR looks at Caden with curiosity and eagerness in his eyes. He knows he’s part of our family now, and there doesn’t seem to be any jealous or frustration at all.
JR squeals when he’s around Caden. He loves when the baby touches him – with his face, his foot, anything! JR just lights up. And he always says, hi/bye to the baby, and cracks up when he passes gas or goes #2! (It’s hilarious.) I’ve also caught JR holding Caden’s hand when they’re sitting side-by-side. It’s the most precious sight EVER, ya’ll. And I love it. I wish I could freeze time for these moments and soak them in.
Of course there have been a few of these moments, too:
But they’re few and far between!
Speaking of this, though. I have to point this out. Caden pouts! And it’s the most adorable thing, ever! He has the most prominent bottom lip, y’all! When he gets upset, he sticks it WAY out and frowns. The space between his eyebrows crinkles and then the tears come. It’s so cute, but breaks my heart! I try to avoid the bottom lip if I can. Haha
So far, from what I’ve seen, Caden has his only personality and his own plans! He’s determined to do his own thing, and they’ll be no pegging him! Here we thought the second one would be easy, I always say, but none are easy!
Some of my favorite things that Caden does:
Looks so serious! But then suddenly smiles and it’s the sweetest most gentle smile ever. He has dimples!
Pees on everything — even on his own face! ? We were both pretty shocked at that one!
Loves the boob! Thankfully he took a bottle today but it’s not a guarantee he will. He’s been fighting tooth and nail against bottles and formula!
Loves movement and looking up at the fan. And has taken to his wabanub-puppy pacifier recently!
He sleeps through the night!!! Not always but a lot of the time and let me tell ya: it’s glorious!
What Caden Loves:
Our daily/nightly snuggles
Nap time together (see bullet above!)
Early morning nursing; snuggling in bed
Loves being held hair brushed + food! Like white noise, reflection early mornings
Cooing, kicking and eating his hand
And he’s getting to be a little bit ticklish !
I’m sure you’ll be hearing more from me about Caden Leroy. He’s story is only just beginning and I am enjoying ever second. <3
Welcome to the world, big guy!