When my boys were born

My sister, Elia, watched her due date come and go yesterday. She loves Halloween, so even though an All Hallows' Eve birthday wouldn't mean the same in Italy as it does here, I'm hoping her little guy arrives with a bang today! I haven't had much time to think lately, but as Elia has approached the 40-week mark, I've become increasingly excited. Vicarious anticipation, if you will. Both Jack and Oliver came early; Jack by four days and Oliver by two weeks. And both, as you might know, were born on festive holidays: Jack is a July 4th firework and Ol is a St. Patty's shamrock. So, I'm hoping her baby's lack of punctuality means that he too will join our family tradition of holiday surprises.

Back in July 2006, I passed my 39th week and my parents arrived in hopes of making it before Jack was born. It was a hot DC summer, and I was more than ready to welcome my boy. On the night of July 3, Tom, Mom, Dad and I sat out on our deck, the three of them happily enjoying margaritas while I cheered, once again, with a seltzer and lime. This Louisiana gal was most definitely over the dry-living lifestyle by then, and when Tom set a bowl of chips on my shelf of a belly and it stayed there, securely enough so that they could all grab chips before dunking them in guac, I smiled a wan smile and thought a private message to Jack: "Little one, you best come soon."



Around 10 pm, we finally bid each other goodnight, and I fell fast asleep. At 2:20 am, I awoke in the throes of a serious contraction. "Tom, this is it. Yow!" He said, "Are you sure, hon?" I death-gripped his arm, told him to time my contractions, found that they were a minute or less apart, and ordered him to call our doula and wake my parents.

Meanwhile, I got myself to the bathroom and plugged in my curling iron. Hey, I knew pictures would be taken, and the least I could do was quickly style my hair. Surely this makes no sense to anyone but me and the 85 other women out there who did or considered the same. Five minutes later my mom was upstairs, saw what I was planning to do, and said, "Emily, what in the world? Unplug that thing and get in the car. Don't you remember I had your sister in the hospital hall on the way to delivery?"

So anyway, we got in the car for the drive from Reston (where we were then living) to DC (because I was hell-bent on delivering at GW with my beloved OB), attempting to make it downtown before the Key Bridge closed in anticipation of immense July 4 traffic. My OB almost didn't make it. For real. We pull into the ER entrance, and the utterly sanguine nurses were like, "Oh, sure your contractions are that close." The pain was so enormous and my contractions so frequent that I seriously thought I'd rip one of their throats out if they didn't take me seriously and get me to a room. But I kept smiling.

Fast forward just five hours, and I was holding Jack and ordering Tom to sneak Moet White Star (now Imperial; shoudn't'a changed the name, Moet) into the hospital that night. It was all totally terrific, except for the part where I thought I was literally breaking in half and screamed as much. My parents heard me from the waiting room. Bygones. I got the epidural then.


Not quite three years later, I awoke feeling like something was going to happen. We were, mercifully, living in DC at this point, and Jack and I were snuggling on the couch reading- as best a 38-week-pregnant lady and her son can snuggle. Tom was supposed to head, ironically, to Reston for some meetings, and I said, "please keep your phone on and at the ready because I just feel kinda, kinda, I don't know, kinda something."

Swear to G not ten minutes later, Jack asked, "Mom, did you just tee-tee on me?" My water had broken. It hadn't with Jack, and I was floored by how much there was. It was a flipping reverse-geyser. In any case, Tom said, "That is so weird- you really did know! I'm glad I didn't leave." My mother-in-law was at the airport but canceled her flight to come stay with Jack. A friend stayed with him until she arrived so that Tom could get me to the hospital, leaking all the while.

Oliver didn't want to come as quickly as had Jack, but ultimately he was born at 4:16 pm, a time I felt was wonderfully auspicious as it's the month and day of my own birth.


Both were such deeply happy days, and I wish the same for my dearest, best-friend sister today. Come on Bruno Tiny (don't worry; just our nickname for him). Make your entrance!