Three months ago, on April 9th, we welcomed John Peter into the world.
He was born on a Friday during the Easter Octave, at 7:50 p.m. Leading up to his birth that day, we covered the delivery room with prayers—prayers for those who requested or needed them, for the holiness of our family; offering up every bit of discomfort and pain that came with the contractions and delivery. From the moment I was ready to start pushing to hearing his first cry, the peace I felt was so palpable. In those 20 minutes, I even envisioned our guardian angels surrounding us, including Jack’s, and felt all the intercessory prayers pouring from heaven thanks to our family’s patron saints.
The weather on his birth day had thunderstorms coming and going, which I thought was very fitting. Why?
The night before, we spontaneously watched the Season 2 opener of The Chosen series, titled “Thunder.” Opening scenes of the episode were of the Apostle John interviewing the other apostles and the Blessed Mother years after Jesus had ascended, compiling their eyewitness accounts which would then be included his Gospel. There was also a thunderstorm in the background. [Disclaimer: This episode takes creative liberty when it supposes how Scripture was written.] Afterwards, as I went up to put the kids to bed, I realized how much that episode was an affirming lead-in to birthing our second son, John, who together with our firstborn James would complete our own “sons of thunder.” For those who don’t know, in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus referred to brothers James and John as the “Sons of Thunder.”
I also barely got sleep that night in anticipation for my scheduled induction. It was around 1 o’clock in the morning when I paced the room, then eventually deciding to give myself a manicure while listening to Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Bible in a Year podcast. Lo and behold, he had just released the episode of the day, and it was on the Gospel of John. All the episodes prior were from the Old Testament so upon discovering this, I was just amazed at the fine details of God’s plan for our growing family —these little moments that took place right before his birth couldn’t have been more clear from the Lord that our son was always meant to be a John.
After 20 minutes of pushing, he arrived and I was overwhelmed with all the emotions—joy, consolation, and gratitude. We chose the name John Peter long before finding out he was a boy. Not only is this pair of names made up of our favorite apostles, but he was also named after Fr. John Peter Peterson, a priest dear to us, the one who married us. He is known to all as Fr. Jack. Hence, John’s nickname, Baby Jack.
The past three months with Jack have been quite the adventure. The first few weeks were the hardest, with recovery, learning to breastfeed, and acclimating to three kids at home happening concurrently. In some ways, he is our baby of “firsts”—first to not take a pacifier (though I’m still working that out), first to breastfeed successfully, and “breast sleep”. He was the biggest baby at birth. He’s the first one I’ve been able to stay longest with after birth. By the time I return I would have had 16 whole weeks with the kids, which has been such a huge blessing for me and our family.
Weeks after his birth, he was already a great sport, tagging along to his older siblings’ soccer practices and games, his sister’s dance classes, and Target drive-ups. While he is a fairly easy-going baby, he is fussiest when in an idle car. Just like James when he was a baby.
When Jack turned one month, he was baptized into the Catholic Church on Mother’s Day. We were particularly grateful that our pastor agreed to doing the Extraordinary Rite of Baptism for Jack, since it was his first time doing so. Both James and Lucy were baptized in the Old Rite at our former parish so it was very important to us to ask the same for Jack many months before. We were also so blessed that our dear friends Andrew and Liz said yes to being Jack’s godparents. We are also godparents to their second daughter.
Nearing his second month, around the time of our sixth wedding anniversary, Jack took his first road trip to his paternal grandparent’s house and we celebrated in Busch Gardens Williamsburg with friends and family. The kids were really little the last time we came to Busch Gardens, so this particular time was super fun given that they were able to ride a lot of rides.
On a fun note, a book that I was honored to be a model for back in September, Worthy of Wearing, arrived around that time as well! Though I was not yet showing, Jack was very much a part of the photoshoot; he even got a shout out in Nicole’s Acknowledgement page! This was such a special project and will be a beautiful memory to look back in many, many years to come.
Our ordinary days together have of course been met with challenges as anyone would expect, but this new chapter of motherhood—being a mother of three—has been such an extraordinarily tremendous gift. Often I’ll look down at my baby, and smiling ear to ear, think about just how much I love that he’s a part of our family. And witnessing Jon, James and Lucy love on him? Those moments very quickly redirect me to a disposition of deep, deep gratitude.
Well, I’ll be returning to work in August. Despite how long 16 weeks is, I also can’t believe how fast most of it has flown. So many wonderful memories already, and countless more to come.
Please pray for me, for us, as this will be another transition once again!