He’s Here.

By: Jen Shoop

Landon Hill Shoop, Jr. was born at 8:49 a.m. on Friday, May 31st. (We are calling him “Hill.”)

Even though I make a living writing, the intensity of the experience of hearing his first cries is beyond words. Beyond comprehension, beyond expression, beyond beyond beyond. But it was something like elation, heartache, relief, shock, awe–and I will never recover from it, in a good way. Life and the way I carry it in my heart has permanently changed shape.

Blessedly, I was not shaking as violently as I had been during Emory’s birth via c-section, and so I was able to hold onto Hill a few minutes after he was born, after Mr. Magpie placed his little body right up next to my face and while the doctors completed the c-section. He was quiet and squirmy and his little mouth found its way to my cheek and though he was probably rooting around for milk, or my smell–it felt like kisses. A hundred little kisses on my cheek. I cannot even think about that moment (or that stretch of moments — time seemed to warp) without weeping. Ten months of waiting, all the agony and discomfort and anxiety over his pregnancy and his birth, all the fear around the c-section — and there he was, loving on me.

A big part of the emotional enormity of that morning was Mr. Magpie — his calm, solicitous presence at my side, squeezing my hand, locking eyes with me, saying nothing but holding my entire world together while I tried my damnedest to get through the 15 minutes of tugging and pulling and odd sensations until Hill was born. When they brought Mr. Magpie into the operating room after the anaesthesiologists put in the spinal, the beep-beep-beep on my heart monitor nearly doubled in speed. “Uh oh,” laughed the doctor. But the moment was tender rather than comedic. Somehow seeing myself on the table through Mr. Magpie’s eyes, laid out and ready to give birth to our son, nearly broke my heart. I could read the anxiety and empathy and gratitude on his face, and I was so overwhelmed by the intensity of the imminent birth of our son with Mr. Magpie at my side, I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. I will never forget the way I felt when he walked into that OR, or the look on his face during the procedure, or the expression of exhausted triumph and relief he wore when they wheeled us back to the recovery room. Because it was love. And there was something beautifully reaffirming about our relationship as husband and wife in that OR and in the hours and days since.

The last ten days, I have been living on heartstrings. There have been happy tears and overwhelmed tears and a few exhausted tears but mainly there have been gleeful smiles, the sweetest moments of siblinghood, and the biggest sighs of relief.

I will eventually write more about his delivery (blessedly different from and far more positive than the first c-section) and the recovery (also blessedly different from and smoother than the first) and the transition into a family of four, but for now, as I sit here with Hill laying beside me in my bed, I’m going to soak up these fleeting moments of newbornhood…

Thank you for all of your delicious words of encouragement, support, and love. xoxo

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28 thoughts on “He’s Here.

  1. I’m so thrilled to hear that Hill is here β€” what a blessing! Your joy radiates from the snap you posted β€” it’s palpable.

    I’m so glad to hear that your c-section went smoothly and that you’re recovering well. Enjoy every moment as you adjust to life as a family of four! πŸ™‚

    P.S. I adore Hill’s name!

  2. This just gives me all the feels. After having my own son, Fox, seven months ago I find I’m so moved by reading the birth stories of others, even those I don’t know IRL! Congratulations. I found as I was reading that I kept stopping and scrolling back up to the top to re-look at the photograph of you and Hill because of how well it captures pure ebullience and joy.

    1. Aw thank you, Bayley! I am the same way — I can’t get enough reading other women’s birth stories. Sometimes they feel very different from my own but they almost always capture some elements of the the weird and wild and wonderful tangle of emotions I felt, which I am still unable to fully process…

      That picture of me — I will cherish it forever. You can’t really see Hill’s face in it (whoops, shadows), but it’s such an accurate presentation of the total bliss I was feeling…


  3. Congrats on your perfect baby boy!! That picture is so perfect and I hope you are enjoying every minute w him! Xoxo

  4. You look like JOY maxed out!!!! So happy, so sweet, so loving life! Oh I wish I could encapsulate it!
    So glad to meet Hill (LOVE the name) and know you are on the mend!
    Love to your new BIG family of FOUR!

  5. Jen, this was so beautifully woven as always! You have a true gift for making us feel like we are in the room with you. And as I’m contemplating my own second delivery in a few months, and how I will feel holding a baby that is still currently a stranger to me, I found all the intense feelings of joy and love so encouraging and exciting! Looking forward to following along on this journey with you and wishing you continued speedy healing. Hope to see you around the neighborhood once you two are really out and about!

    1. Thank you, Gina!! You are almost there, too. So excited for you to experience all of this again! xxx

    1. Thank you, friend!!! For this and your sweet check-ins toward the end of the pregnancy too πŸ™‚ xxx

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