Lisa Leslie Discusses Son MJ’s Early Arrival

04/29/2010 at 06:00 PM ET

When retired pro basketball star Lisa Leslie welcomed her second child on April 6, he arrived a little ahead of schedule! Not due until May 1, son Michael Joseph II decided he was ready to come into the world sooner than expected.

Leslie, 37, talked to PEOPLE Moms & Babies about MJ’s delivery, what big sister Lauren Jolie, 2½, thinks of her new little brother and shared a few baby photos!

Courtesy Michael Lockwood

Congratulations on the birth of MJ! Can you walk us through what led up to his early arrival?

On April 5th I was experiencing a series of contractions. According to my doctor, it was pretty normal for me because I had an excessive amount of amniotic fluid; however, those contractions got to be five minutes apart.

We didn’t want MJ to try and come out naturally since I had already had a c-section with Lauren because she was breech. I was scheduled for my second c-section on April 24th — a week before my due date of May 1st.

The doctors tried to slow down my contractions by giving me an IV, but a few hours later MJ turned head down and the pressure increased. The doctors knew it was time and MJ had decided!

This was unexpected so I just kept praying, “Lord he will come in your time, not mine.” I was so uncomfortable but I was determined not to have my baby taken out early for my own selfish reasons.

Thank God, it was really MJ’s time. He’s here and healthy!

Were there health concerns initially or was everything okay?

The biggest health concern was his lung development. When he was born, I saw his chest caving in and he was struggling a little, but baby MJ fought hard and each breath got stronger and stronger. He did not need any oxygen to assist him with his breathing.

For the first two days, I could hear him breathing and every day the sound faded. By the time we left the hospital on day three, he was breathing normally without a sound.

Did you find pregnancy easier or more difficult the second time around?

This pregnancy was much more difficult. I don’t know if it was because he’s a boy or I’m a few years older, but a sista was struggling!

He was heavier — I couldn’t work out like I did when I was pregnant with Lauren and I was not in the mood to dress cute. I just wanted to bum around in sweats and chill!

Courtesy Michael Lockwood

How has the adjustment to two little ones been for you?

The adjustment has been hard in the beginning because of the c-section. I have to be really careful because Lauren is so active — she might break my stitches making me laugh or with one of her karate kicks just from being a 2-year-old.

How is Lauren dealing with having a baby around?

Overall, Lauren has been a great help. It’s important to make sure the oldest child is able to bond with the new baby. I had both them in the bed with me at the hospital and Lauren thinks MJ is her baby.

She tells everyone at gymnastics, swimming and dance class that she has a little brother and that she’s a big sister now!

Now as far as I go, I’m not high on her list right now because she knows our routine has changed. But I have been providing her with little surprise gifts and stealing kisses every moment I get. She will come back around … I hope!

The funniest thing she’s said thus far happened when I was changing MJ’s diaper. She said, “Mommy, what shape is MJ’s bottom?” I told her, “His bottom is shaped like a boy and your bottom is shaped like a girl.”

Oh my God, this is only the beginning…

What do your stepdaughters (Mikaela, 15, and Gabrielle, 18) think?

Our big girls are happy to have a little brother … now they want a dog!

You retired from the Sparks last year and now occasionally appear on TV as a sports commentator. What do you enjoy about the days you’re at home with your kids?

I love broadcasting and having a non-traditional job — I can take Lauren to all her weekly activities, be here for MJ and be able to nurse him for the next six to 12 months. What a blessing to have a husband [Michael Lockwood] that takes care of his family and affords me the opportunity to be the best mom I can be!

I’m happy, even if my toenail polish is chipped and my hair is in a ponytail until I go back to work on TV. For now, Mom will take a loss and sacrifice myself for my babies!

Courtesy Michael Lockwood

For more on Lisa, check out her official Web site and follow her on Twitter.

— Sarah Michaud

FILED UNDER: Babies , Exclusive , Kids , News , Parenting

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Showing 45 comments

Pam on

He is just precious! Glad he’s healthy and that both mom and baby are fine after his birth.

Anonymous on

What a centered, inspirational mom and a beautiful boy. It’s so nice to read interviews like this one.

Lorelei on

What beautiful children! I love her honesty with the challenges of baby number 2 pregnancy. She was also chasing around a toddler. That’s never easy.

Lisa on

her baby is really cute!! just one thing… after only one c-section it’s not a problem to have a vaginal birth…specially naturally (not induced) like hers… I have seen babies born after a precious c-section without any issue…

Dani on

The pic of MJ and Lauren is just precious. He is a super cute baby.

Izzie on

What a beautiful little boy!!!!! 🙂

Just Saying on

Beautiful kids!

Alice on

The picture of the siblings together is precious.

Can you break your stitches laughing? I hope I never have to have a c-section, because I would never recover from it!

Lola Monroe on

What gorgeous babies, Congrats!!

jenny on

That top photo is beautiful!!!

Crystal on

What a wonderful interview! Lisa Leslie is such a great inspiration to young women everywhere who aspire to have families and play professional sports. I wish her all the luck with Lauren and MJ! CONGRATULATIONS!! 🙂

Amy on

A terrific interview- she seems so grounded and nice. Kudos to her. Her babies are gorgeous!

Madison on

I remember watching her on the channel 7 news on Easter Sunday. She was being a sports commentator. Well when she was talking the L.A. earthquake happened and everything shook and she grabbed her belly. She looked like she was getting ready to dive under the table. The next day she gave birth….so maybe all that excitement made the baby want to come out earlier.

Melissa on

I always think of Michael Joseph Jackson when I hear this kid’s name. His (The baby) father’s name is MJ, as well right?

Arianna on

Wow he has pretty much the exact same name as the most amazing and gifted star to ever step foot on this earth, Michael Joseph Jackson!! RIP Michael Jackson. Super cute baby boy born to Lisa Lesile.

Sabrina on

I just want to thank Lisa (not Leslie) for her comment about VBACs. I’ve been following Lisa Leslie’s pregnancy because our due dates were so similar. I also had a c-section because my daughter was breech but am planning a natural delivery this time. It makes me nervous when Lisa Leslie says that she obviously wouldn’t have a natural delivery because of the previous section. I think it’s generally accepted to be a safe choice nowadays with bikini line incisions. No criticism of Lisa Leslie’s choice to do another section though. It is what you feel comfortable with. Btw I am a big WNBA fan and love Lisa Leslie. Her children are precious. Congratulations to her and her family.

nema on

Can’t wait for this deployment to be over so I can have another one again, I can’t wait, I want another one so so bad!!!

Nena J on

Whenever I hear this childs name im going to automaticly think Michael Joseph Jackson…

Sara on

Not all states allow VBACs. Sometimes it’s not a matter of the mother’s wishes. Where I live you can’t have a VBAC, regardless of the circumstances. The last thing I wanted to do was have a C-Section but my daughter had other plans…so now, I’m stuck having a C-Section if I ever decide to have another child.

On a happier note, he is a beautiful baby. Congrats.

Lisa on

Beautiful… Just Beautiful!!!

Ivory on

Absolutely precious! Almost makes me want another one 🙂

Angela on

Wow, I had no clue that VBACs are illegal in some states. I think that’s rather sad. She probably could have had a vaginal delivery given the fact that she’d gone into labor on her own and the baby had turned head down. The risk for uterine rupture after going into labor on your own is super low. I had two C-sections and am due with my third baby in August, and I’m really hoping I go into labor on my own beforehand so I can try again for a vaginal birth, and I luckily found a doctor who doesn’t like to operate unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Lisa on


Just to clarify, VBAC’s are legal in all states. You may have a difficult time finding a care provider, but they are not illegal in any state.

Beth Elahmar on

Congrats to both Michael & Lisa. I went to Cactus High School with Mike back when we were both sophmores. I was just going thru my old year book and came across his entry. What a great guy! You are a very lucky woman, Lisa.

hayley on

awwwwwwwwww tooooooooooooo cute !!!!!!! makes me want more babies lol xxxx

I would like to just say alot of the women i look after that have had c section have a mind set that their labour would be to controlled by their midwives, also there is the seed of fear because no matter what any one says and its what i tell me ladies its major surgery and although the body heals sometimes its the extra fear is their own minds can hinder their labour the next time so a c section calms them, they no whats coming and what to expect and that makes having babies less scary.

i will always do what ever the woman wants ‘as long as there is no major health risks’ because at the end of the day its her body and no one has the right to tell a woman how she shoud give birth.

i really hope she recovers well x and thoses babies are just to sweet for words i must go take another peek.

Laura M on

Nena J:

Think of the OTHER MJ. Michael Jordan. That makes a lot more sense than Michael Jackson since she played basketball..

Karen on

Precious and sweet!

Amy on

HUGE Congrats!!!

What sweet pics!!!

Mrs. R on

What a GORGEOUS picture of the two kids together!
Such beautiful children! and so sweet!

Chris on

Awwwwww so precious! 🙂

racmc on

yup, a missed opportunity for a NORMAL birth. and whats up with planning to nurse for only “6-12 months”? the recommended minimum is 24 months.

glee fan on

he is so adorable. love the names of her children. not like some other celebrites whom give their children wacky fruit names! all the hair on his head ic adorable! i also like the picture of lauren and baby michael. it’s so cute!

skunknuggets on

Congrats to her!

There is no state where VBACs are truly “illegal”. In many areas, it is pretty darn close to impossible to find a dr or hospital that will “allow” a woman to have a VBAC (largely due to malpractice insurance reasons, not based on medical research), but there is nowhere that there is actually a law on the books saying a VBAC is illegal. If there is, someone please post a link with the law in that state.

Thankfully, I don’t live in one of those areas and I just had my third VBAC monday morning. A wonderful labor, easy birth of a 10 lb 10 oz baby (after my first was a c-section for “CPD” of an only 9 lb 6 oz baby).

Nkey on

Congratulations Lisa and Michael!! He’s gorgeous!

I can’t believe people are nitpicking the choice she and her provider made concerning HER body! Her body, her choice! Just because she made a decision that you wouldn’t have made does not make it a wrong decision. Just her decision. That goes for the C-section and the breast feeding.

m.white on

He is sooo cute!!!!!!!! God is good and may he continue to bless her and her family.

fluffy on

so cute and wonderful

FC on

He is so darling! The first shot with his sister kissing him and the last one where he seems to be smiling—those are my favorites 🙂

CelebBabyLover on

racm- I thought the recomonded minium was 12 months?

CeeCee on

The comments are being made because of the ridiculous c-section rate in the U.S. Nkey. If guidelines are followed VBACs are very safe and the rise in surgical birth affects our health care costs and that affects all of us. I’ve had 3 successful VBACs after a primary c-section for breech and everything was fine. Of course, the higher your income, the higher your chance for a c-section, so this poor woman never had a chance.

Katie on

There are plenty of reasons that VBAC may not have been an option for her, so let’s move on. You aren’t her doctor, you really don’t know what the situation was, get over it.

Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy, Lisa!

sinclair on

“There are plenty of reasons that VBAC may not have been an option for her, so let’s move on. You aren’t her doctor, you really don’t know what the situation was, get over it.”

Thank you, Katie! I don’t care if she wanted to deliver through her ear–her choice. And we don’t know what kind of section she had, and it isn’t our business. The baby’s here, healthy, and adorable.

More women are getting the message that VBACs are possible, but don’t assume that Lisa didn’t try for it initially. And honestly, this is the US, where OB/GYN malpractice insurance is through the roof. MDs will continue to discourage patients from pursuing VBACs as long as their MP insurance remains sky high and lawsuits stemming from complications, etc. continue. This is not a cut and dry issue for expecting moms or their docs.

Patricia on

The Michael Joseph made me tear up, even though I know it’s after his daddy (hence the “II”).

melissa on

depending on the reasons behind Lisa’s 1st c-section a v-back for her 2nd delivery may not have been a healthy … my mom had me via c-section after a lenghty & grueling labor she ended up w/ a herniated belly button that prevented her from having a “regular” delivery w/ my brother .. had she delivered vaginally the hernia would have ruptured & my mother and possibly my brother could of died …

now my aunt has 4 children – 1st child was born via c-section (baby was breeched i believe) yet the last 3 were all vaginal births … my cousin has 3 kids & all 3 were c-sections … the 1st child was born over a month early due to preclampsia/toximia so the docs decided that any additional births needed to be prescheduled c-sections as a “just in case” … it all just really depends on the woman & the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy/labor/delivery

Suzie on

just an FYI racmc – there is not set amount of time to breastfeed the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest it should last for at LEAST the first YEAR of life if mother (& child) wish to go longer it is up to them reason being – once solid foods are introduced baby’s primary source of nutrition will shift from mothers milk to other foods … exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life

sat on

Gorgeous little darling! and a very candid interview. wishing Lisa a smooth recovery and rest! Very nice to hear about the supportive spouse, excited big sister and step-daughters.