I thought it would be routine. And then I was surprised. Then I thought it might suck. But it totally didn’t.

One week ago today I had just been admitted to the hospital, and was drifting away on a tide of demerol and phenergan. Not, as one might assume (and most people did), because I was in labor. Instead it seems my gall bladder surrendered under the irritation of the pregnancy. One minute I was cruising along and the next I was snapped over with a very specific kind of piercing pain. Monday morning I got the shot in the hip and then went home to sleep it off and hoped to see the back of the issue. But when the drugs wore off the pain was back and I was admitted at about 9pm. Sonograms were not helpful because my gall bladder was shoved so far up under my ribs, and finally the doctors decided that we needed to get the baby out before anything else could be done. The hope was that would correct the issue and we could all forget it. Otherwise, at least a gastroenterologist could proceed with more invasive tests.

I never thought I’d be induced, but also wasn’t too worried about it. I was 39 weeks pregnant and already 3cm dilated, so I felt confident my body was already warming up the orchestra.

The nurses put in my IV and started me on little bumps of pitocin at around 8am on Tuesday. I dilated to 4cm. And stayed there for about 7 hours. One of the many weird things about this was that I was braced for the agony of the pitocin contraction. And then it turns out they were not remarkable to me. I was offered an epidural, and declined at that point because I still valued my ability to move around freely more than I felt hampered by pain. So on and on we went. No one, bless them, at any time said anything about a c-section or otherwise made me feel like a clock was ticking. Finally, because no position was having an impact, I said I’d go ahead and take that epidural. They hooked me up with the epi-lite (TM, if only in my head) which meant I could still move my legs and happily sit up cross-legged or kneel, which had been my preference all day. And still no real progress. I’d made it maybe to near 5cm by 5:45. My doctor came in and spent a lot of time checking out the situation. She finally said, “I think he’s just sitting a little bit funny and not hitting your cervix at the right angle.” Her suggestion was that we turn the epidural up and that I lie down on my left side, on the theory that would rotate him in the right way. Her hope was that if it worked we could have him in just a few hours. She asked me if I felt comfortable with her going to a work dinner she had planned, reassuring me that she could be back in 15 minutes if we called her. I said something breezy like, “Oh please do, no reason to sit around and watch me poke along.” Damon went down to grab dinner around 6. He rolled back in around 6:15. At about 6:20 my nurse came in to say, “I thought I’d come check and see if anything is happening.” The next thing she said was, “OH! He’s on the perineum. Don’t! Move!” I swooped my hand down, and there he was. The nurse hit her walkie talkie and a handful of other nurses came scooting in just Elliot glided into the arms of Nurse Diane. I had just enough time to say, “Seriously?!?!?!” before she dropped him on my chest. I guess Dr. Roberts was on to something with her funky angle observation. After that I got a serious talking-to from the on-call doctor, who wanted me to really hear her when she said that if we choose to have another baby we should be fully prepared for an unassisted home birth. Should the next one not be at a funky angle we might have less than an hour from start to finish. (PS — A “next one” is not on the agenda.)

The birth experience was at no point what I expected. And yet, it was funny, thrilling, and perfect for us.


Note the lack of head molding, as he spent just about no time in the birth canal.
7 lbs 3 oz
21 inches
seriously delightful


Alden is being generous and sweet, but he’s also clearly insecure. He wants to nurse every time he lays eyes on me, and gets all “Moooooommmmmmmmy” about everything. I’ve got a lot of patience for it. I know this is rocking his world.


Elliot is already deeply committed to scientific research.


His hair is so thick and black that one nurse asked me if my husband is Hispanic. Then the pediatric nurse practitioner said, “I speak Spanish so I see an awful lot of Hispanic families. I have never seen a baby with this much hair.” The truth is that I had the same head of hair. It’s a call back to our Sicilian heritage. He’s also a champion nurser and I may need to write a whole other post about how much easier (which is not to say totally easy) it is to nurse the second time around.

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48 responses to this post.

  1. He’s awfully cute, and he has lovely hands, like a writer.
    What’s that little fella’s middle name?

    Reply

  2. He’s awfully cute, and he has lovely hands, like a writer.
    What’s that little fella’s middle name?

    Reply

    • We finally settled on St. Charles. I wanted so much to honor various people in my family, but I couldn’t do it without making him sound like the king of England. So we decided to stick with honoring his mama.

      Reply

  3. Aw, congrats!

    Reply

  4. Aw, congrats!

    Reply

  5. Congratulations! I’m glad everything went so smoothly- how is your gallbladder?

    Reply

  6. Congratulations! I’m glad everything went so smoothly- how is your gallbladder?

    Reply

  7. Congratulations!
    Now get that gallbladder taken care of. You’ll feel so much better. I had mine done two months ago. When they turn evil, it’s best to part ways.

    Reply

  8. Congratulations!
    Now get that gallbladder taken care of. You’ll feel so much better. I had mine done two months ago. When they turn evil, it’s best to part ways.

    Reply

  9. Wow – what a story! I’m glad everything turned out okay. Congratulations!

    Reply

  10. Wow – what a story! I’m glad everything turned out okay. Congratulations!

    Reply

  11. How wonderful, congratulations! What a great story!

    Reply

  12. How wonderful, congratulations! What a great story!

    Reply

  13. Congratulations! He’s adorable. 🙂

    Reply

  14. Congratulations! He’s adorable. 🙂

    Reply

  15. Congratulations, and Elliot is a fantastic name.
    He’s named after Pete’s dragon, right? Right?

    Reply

  16. Congratulations, and Elliot is a fantastic name.
    He’s named after Pete’s dragon, right? Right?

    Reply

  17. Congrats! He’s beautiful. 🙂

    Reply

  18. Congrats! He’s beautiful. 🙂

    Reply

  19. Congratulations!

    Reply

  20. Congratulations!

    Reply

  21. Oh, what a beautiful little child! Your birth process sounds pretty amazing… it’s shocking how much different it is the second time, even after you think you’re prepared for it! I’m glad he’s nursing well and hope you have several weeks of comfort and rest–gall bladder notwithstanding.

    Reply

  22. Oh, what a beautiful little child! Your birth process sounds pretty amazing… it’s shocking how much different it is the second time, even after you think you’re prepared for it! I’m glad he’s nursing well and hope you have several weeks of comfort and rest–gall bladder notwithstanding.

    Reply

  23. We finally settled on St. Charles. I wanted so much to honor various people in my family, but I couldn’t do it without making him sound like the king of England. So we decided to stick with honoring his mama.

    Reply

  24. Thank you!

    Reply

  25. Thank you! So far so good on the gall bladder. I’m hoping we’ve seen the back of it now that the baby is out.

    Reply

  26. Thank you!
    That’s great to know. I need to find a GP, but I may come back to you with more questions. I’m glad to hear it went so well for you.

    Reply

  27. Thanks so much!

    Reply

  28. Thanks! No one was more amazed that I was.

    Reply

  29. Thank you!

    Reply

  30. Why thank you.
    And of course you are exactly right about the dragon.

    Reply

  31. Thanks so much!

    Reply

  32. Thank you! It is amazing. I guess all you can be sure of is that you can’t be sure what it’s going to be like. I got super lucky on the delivery. I’d be happy to do it again if I didn’t have to do the pregnancy part.

    Reply

  33. I’ll be here. 🙂

    Reply

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