Last week, we welcomed our baby boy into the world.
The birth of a child is one of those experiences in life well worth documenting. I wanted to capture our story in writing to remember all of the emotions and details before they faded in time. I’ve always enjoyed reading other birth stories, and today I’m sharing ours.
While this pregnancy was complication-free, it wasn’t quite as easy as the first time. My morning sickness and food aversions were worse (though still manageable) and the exhaustion was real.
By the third trimester, sleep was a challenge as I became more uncomfortable, and the last few weeks were especially difficult. I felt fine at 41 weeks with Esmé, but by 38 weeks I was ready for this boy to come out!
As much as I’m glad it’s all over, I know a part of me will miss being pregnant one day. In the end, a healthy baby is all that matters, and we’re incredibly blessed to have that gift.
Labor and delivery
At my 38 week appointment, I was checked and thrilled to learn I was already 2cm and 70% effaced. My doctor said it was very likely he’d come on his own before the induction scheduled for the following week.
That evening I felt constant cramping, and thought it was the beginning of labor. However, when I went to bed that night, the cramps went away and never returned.
At this point I was in a lot of discomfort—unable to sleep or walk without pain, and I spent the next several days in bed waiting for labor to start.
I made it to my next appointment and came to terms with going through another induction. During the NST test, baby wasn’t moving at all, which was not typical for him. A cervical check also confirmed I had barely made any progress since the previous visit. The doctor recommended we go straight for the hospital to be induced.
When we arrived at the hospital and began monitoring contractions, they were occurring semi-regularly, though there was no pain and felt like the Braxton Hicks I’d been experiencing for the last month. Unlike my first labor, I was already progressing on my own, so they allowed me to get an epidural right away.
At 5:25pm the epidural was in, but after 40 minutes I was only numb on one side, so the anesthesiologist had to administer an extra dose. That did the trick!
20 minutes later, my contractions were a few minutes apart, and I had dilated to 4cm/80% effaced. The doctor broke my water and 90 minutes later, I was at 6cm with baby’s head descending—things were moving along naturally so they decided to skip the pitocin.
I was checked again just before 9pm, and had made it to 9cm, but his head was facing the wrong way so the doctor had me lie in a new position to help him turn. She said she’d be back to check on me in 20 minutes.
Another hour passed with no doctor in sight, and I began to feel a lot of pressure. Finally, a nurse returned to check on me and announced “Oh my gosh, he’s right there!”
Within a few minutes, the doctor arrived and told me to push through the next contraction. Two contractions later, his head emerged with his fist in front of his face, and I was told to stop pushing because the cord was around his neck—not once but three times. The doctor remained calm as she loosened the cord and placed our purple baby in my arms. She cleared his airway and we heard his first cry at 10:10pm.
He stayed there in my arms for over an hour before the nurses came in to weigh and diaper him. I thought they had made a mistake when they read the weight—7lb 14 oz—that’s more than a pound bigger than his sister! No wonder I was so uncomfortable.
In total, labor only lasted five hours from settling into the hospital bed to delivery, with no induction medication. It felt like it flew by (thank you, epidural) and I didn’t have to endure the the six hours of painful unmedicated/induced early labor I experienced with our daughter’s birth.
Shortly after delivery, the epidural began to wear off and the pain set in. The larger than expected baby with a stuck arm had left me with a tear and bruised tailbone among other things. I was given pain meds which took the edge off, but a week later I’m still recovering from the rough experience.
The next day, Esmé arrived to meet her baby brother and my heart nearly burst. She had been preparing for this moment for a long time—reading all the big sister books and practicing taking care of ‘her baby’. It was a priceless moment when she finally saw him, and I am grateful that we were able to capture her sweet reaction on camera.
Choosing his name
This was honestly the hardest decision we’ve ever had to make and one I lost many nights of sleep over. From the moment we found out the gender, I scoured every list of names from every website, carefully combing through the top 500 and 1000 names in every country. I followed baby name Instagram accounts and lied awake at night trying to come up with new combinations.
Lucas and I made our own lists, and weren’t in love with each other’s choices (or even our own, to be honest). We wanted something uncommon but classic, easy to say and complimentary to Esmé.
The name that we both agreed on was Emile—a traditional French boy’s name that was more popular over a century ago but rare today. I’ve always liked the name, and it shared a similar sound and origin as Esmé. There was just one drawback we couldn’t get over: most people we asked mispronounced it as “Emily”.
With just a week to go before his due date, we began revisiting other names on our list, and I kept coming back to Luca. We both loved the name from the beginning, but wrote it off because it was so close to Lucas. I also didn’t love the fact that it has become quite popular in recent years.
We weighed the pros and cons of both names carefully, and polled our friends and family who were evenly divided.
Ultimately, we felt more of an emotional connection to Luca, and knew we had made the right decision when we met him and called him by name.
After a week with our boy, I can confidently say Luca suits him perfectly. I also now think it’s sweet that he’s named after his daddy 🙂
Adjusting to a new normal
When Esmé was born, I shared that I had a difficult time with the transition and managing postpartum hormones. It took three years before I felt ready to go through it all again, and this time I prepared myself for the worst.
Now at a week postpartum, thankfully things have been easier overall. The biggest difference this time around is the gift of perspective. While the days are still long and exhausting, I know he’ll never be this little again and I’m soaking it all in. This is also our last baby, so I’m more intentional about slowing down and reminding myself that this won’t last forever.
This time around, I’m more relaxed and don’t feel as much pressure to be productive. I find myself more present and acutely aware that everything is temporary.
The hardest part for me, which caught me off guard, is the mom guilt. Our family of three had such a special bond and now our routine looks different. I hate that I don’t have the energy to play with my girl the way I used to, or the time to give her as much of my undivided attention. She’s been struggling a little with the change as well, and it breaks my heart.
I know we’ll figure it all out and settle into a new normal, but this adjustment has been the hardest on me, emotionally.
Lucas has been truly amazing, and the best partner I could ask for. He has taken on the majority of responsibilities as I recover and process the postpartum emotions.
His parents live nearby and they have also been a wonderful help with Esmé. I feel incredibly blessed to have this support system and don’t know how I’d do it without them.
Navigating the 4th trimester is all about learning to let go and ride the waves. I’m grateful for the lessons I learned after our daughter was born, and am truly able to enjoy it more this time. I think focusing on gratitude and knowing everything is temporary are the keys to a positive experience.
Thank you all for your continued support on this journey! We’re anxious to get back to renovations and have started squeezing work in when we can. I may not be posting quite as regularly over the coming weeks, but there are many projects in the pipeline and I can’t wait to share those with you soon.
For more frequent updates, you can follow along on my Instagram stories. See you soon,
Girl, enjoy those moments, heal, give yourself grace, we’ll be here later for those updates and projects. Enjoy what you can of these moments, its not easy, you know as well as I they can be equally exhausting and memorable (maybe even 80/20 lol). What a beautiful family you have. ❤️
Congratulations! Love the name & know Esme will be a great big sister!
Long time lurker, first time comment, you’re doing great mama! Soaking in the moment and a speedy recovery!!! Transitioning from 1 to 2 is so hard, I remembered feeling guilt all the time with my older, watching her confused and sad seeing baby attached to me all the time for breastfeeding! I did choose to focus on her once I recovered from childbirth as the baby is not aware of hard feelings yet! Mine are 5 and 7 now, they are best friends!
Beautiful story! Beautiful family!
First, you looked fantastic in the hospital after giving birth!
And you are so right, these moments don’t last long. You blink and they are grown all of a sudden. Enjoy all the moments now.
Oh Jenna, you and Lucas have the most beautiful kiddos. Good genes for sure. It’s scary to think about the cord around Luca’s neck. You hear horror stories about that. You had a competent dr., even though she should have come back to check on you sooner! Love his name too! You will find a path as a new family and it will be just as it should be. Thx for sharing. You have followers who have been around for a long time, and we care about you as a friend! Take care, and God bless, Sherri
Congratulations on the birth of your adorable son, Luca. The photos are so beautiful. I’m sure that your sweet family will adjust and brother and sister will be just fine.
Take care of yourself! Enjoy every minute with your little family.
Firstly Congratulations on the safe arrival of your beautiful baby boy.
Secondly – I had a term scheduled c-section with our second child. We dropped our first born off with his grandparents when we went to the hospital and I cried all the way there because I was afraid I was ruining his life. Turning his world upside down and that things would never be the same again. My doctor at the time, told me that although it might not necessarily feel like it at this moment, that a sibling was the best gift we could ever give him. I reflected on that a lot those first few months, and of course it all turned out that the doctor was right. I hope sharing that gives you some comfort in the mom guilt department. ♥️
Thank-you for sharing Luca’s birth story. I really like his name as well. Luca’s bunny suit is just so perfect on him. Lucas seems so loving, kind and supportive to you. I could tell right away in the picture with his hand on your head while you and Luca were laying down. And Esme, well, one can see how gentle and loving she is with the baby already. Esme and Luca I thought looked a lot alike as babies, only Esme had the little girly lips, LOL. Congratulations!!! Great idea to take this time to enjoy to the fullest, you got it!
Megan Harpring says
Ooooh he’s so cute!! 🥰🥰 Love his name! I’ve never heard it! Congratulations 💝
We experienced something like what your speaking of after our second. Now my only regret is I didn’t give them another. Lol
I must say what I’m most drawn to is your Natural pregnancy pics. Not overdone, simple, tasteful! I love them!!
Your family is beautiful. We will all be her when you are healed and ready to give yourself to us but for now your family needs you.
The night before I became a mum of 2 I sat in the bathroom and sobbed, I too thought my family dynamic was perfect but luckily it just got better. Yours will too but first let your hormones do their thing. ♥️
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I love a good birth story, and name selection – it’s always so tough, but Luca is wonderful name! Give yourself the gift of grace and enjoy every moment with your newborn. Isn’t funny how big your oldest gets as soon as you come home with a newborn?!?!
My children were born in 1987 and 1990, yet it feels like yesterday, after reading your honest and loving post. Like you, I had my daughter then my son. You have a healthy and beautiful family of 4 now❣️ May blessings continue to abound. 🙏🥰
Congratulations Jenna on your little boy. These moments truly are a gift and I thank you for sharing your story with us. Enjoy the next few months as much as you can.
Congratulations, Jenna. Your family is beautiful. You captured some really special photos of your babies.
I had a similar birth experience with my son (now 1). I had to borrow a walker when I came home from the hospital!
I also have a daughter(3), and I remember crying on the porch holding my son right after coming home from the hospital because I missed my daughter. Who was right inside the house. My husband took my baby boy out of my arms and sent my daughter outside to sit with me and eat an ice cream cone and watch the bats fly in the twilight.
It’s hard missing out on time with your girl because your boy needs you so much right now. I know you know this, but it does get easier.