Happy Birthday, Little Brother

Still my baby, but not for long…


Meeting John Caleb for the first time. I was a teensy bit overwhelmed by the feels.

Sleepy Little Monster

Sleepy Little Monster

This kid, you guys. THIS KID.

He is smiley and snuggly and curious and goes from zero to HANGRY in about 2.3 seconds. He likes being kissed and tickled, he likes graham crackers and a bottle full of milk, he likes tackling the cats, he likes pulling on mommy’s earrings and playing with dangerous things (and occasionally appropriate baby toys, too) and he LOVES his sister. (Mom and Dad are okay, I guess.) He does NOT like being laid down in his crib when there is a human being within a five mile radius to cuddle him. He does NOT like being put on his bum when he wants to practice standing (all the time). He has a love/hate relationship with his binky – sometimes it’s his BFF and other times he recognizes that it’s a tool the big people use to distract him or attempt to lull him to sleepland.

JC in Baby Jail

Baby jail. Not acceptable.

He has seven teeth and shaggy, dirty-blonde hair. His eyes are HUGE and clear blue, like a favorite marble or deep sea water off Florida’s coast. When he’s tired, he folds in half and cuddles with whatever is handy (his jacket, a dirty Tshirt he pulled out of the laundry basket, the dog’s blanket). He plays pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo and when he’s teething he bites mommy on the shoulder and doesn’t feel even a little bad about it.

Looking for Noms

In search of noms.

Eating the Noms

Eating the noms.

He’s just darling. I love him.

I didn’t realize it until after I’d given birth, but my pregnancy with John Caleb was HARD. After losing Garrett halfway through my pregnancy with Caitlin, I sort of wondered if God wasn’t going to allow me to have TWO children. I was certain that I was developing every possible pregnancy complication, but especially the ones that end in DEATH. Also, as I entered the third trimester, I started having terrible pelvic pain that was only alleviated when sitting in certain positions. I was physically tired and emotionally wrung out by the time I got to JC’s December 5th due date, which I NEVER expected to reach (both Garrett and Caitlin were a few days early). I talked to my OBs about being induced, but they wanted to take a wait-and-see approach. I understood WHY they wanted to do that, especially since I was sort of downplaying my misery. (I’d say things like, “I’m just really uncomfortable” when I was, in reality, in a great deal of pain as well as very anxious.) I finally called my OB and broke down crying and explained that I was terrified of a stillbirth, I’d already lost a child, I was hurting, I was depressed, and I needed to have this baby NOW.

And so she scheduled me for an induction the next day.

Hallelujah Squirrl


So that’s how I, a former natural birth junkie, ended up on a Pitocin drip, and later got not one, but TWO epidurals (the first didn’t “take,” and the second was kind of weak – but it was WAAAAAY less painful than my previous two births) on the morning of December 11, 2014.

And in the evening of December 11, 2014, at 5:20 p.m., John Caleb was born. He was just over 20 inches long, nearly eight and a half pounds, and absolutely perfect.

Caitlin meeting JC for the first time

John Caleb meeting his big sister for the first time.
And wishing she had a bottle, apparently, hence the tongue sticking out.
Caitlin looks thrilled with the new addition to the family
but I’m not sure she fully understood the repercussions of this event.
(Hell, neither did I.)

He’s had a hard first year. He developed a big ugly scab on his nose, and we had no idea WHY. It healed up perfectly, thank goodness… but not before I took the perfect first Christmas picture.

Rudolph Nose

He also was a champion barfer, depositing a few swallows of every bottle onto my clothes after every feeding. I started calling him “Ralphie” (since it was late December and I was at home watching and getting barfed on all day, I watched A Christmas Story many, many times).

Then I started with the ridiculous outfits.

Angry Tigger Just Did 9 Months on the Inside Monster Hoodie

Hashtag Sorry Not Sorry.

When I’m not annoying him, I’m boring him to tears.

Early Morning with Mommy

Worst of all, after I went back to work full-time in the summer and he started at daycare, he embarked on a five-month-long cold that developed into three different ear infections, a sinus infection, and a recent trip to the urgent care for steroid breathing treatments which we’ve had to continue at home.

Baby Hospital Gown

I seriously can’t handle the adorableness of the mini hospital gown. Or his face.

The constant sniffles and coughs and clogged ears mean that his sleep patterns are seriously wacky, which means mine are, too. And adjusting to life with two little people has been difficult at times. (I am so sorry for all the times that I ever ever EVER thought that another mom was exaggerating her complete and utter exhaustion. Really, truly, deeply, overwhelmingly, snoringly sorry.) But it’s also been wonderful. I love watching Caitlin and her brother interact. They already fight with each other (which boggles my mind – you’re barely past the larval stage! What do you have to fight about?) but JC absolutely ADORES his big sister and she is very sweet with him… most of the time. And learning to share… most of the time.

First Day Home

Our first day at home after JC was born. Look how tiny BOTH my babies were!

At the doctor's office

At the doctor’s office in September for Caitlin’s 2 year check up and JC’s 9 month well visit.

I had quite a bittersweet moment a few months after going back to work. I was driving down the road with the two kiddos in my backseat, thinking about how good it felt to have a job I enjoy as well as a little family that I adore. Two little people! Two delightful little people! … And I remembered that I should have been having those thoughts and feelings in 2013, after Caitlin was born. I should have THREE little people in my backseat now, but someone is missing. I think of him constantly, still, and feel acutely the empty spot in our family that no one can ever fill.

But my longing for the boy we’ve lost can’t overtake the joy that our youngest darling gives me. I love you, John Caleb! I cherish you and I’m grateful for you. Your smile is dazzling. Your curiosity thrills and worries me at the same time. I predict lots of “why?” questions in the future, lots of taking things apart to see how they work, perhaps a beehive-poking incident or a visit to the principal’s office to discuss the appropriate time to light off firecrackers on school grounds (short answer: never). You’re mischievous and sweet, loveable and determined.

You’re amazing. Thanks for being our little guy.

Just Chillin


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