We are happy and proud to announce the birth of Elisha Jeanne Davison, at 12:03 PM today. Weight: 7 lbs. 2 oz, 20″ long. She’s a keeper!

I am happy to report that labor and deliver was short, relatively painless—a phrase that always gets us guys in hot water—and trouble-free. Mother and child are both doing very, very well.

When we checked in around 8:45 AM, Erin was already dilated 5 cm, so we bypassed a lot of the walking around the hospital and Jacuzzi tub adventuring that we did with Jonah. (In Jonah’s case the walking around got Erin to 5 cm; with Elisha, Erin started at 5 cm.) The birth center at the Salem Hospital had been full to the gills for the past four days so when they checked us into a semi-private triage room they didn’t know if they had a labor and delivery room for us. It didn’t exactly set the mind at ease. Baby’s on the way and you’ve already got planes on all the runways?

While were in the semi-private triage room they hooked two monitors to Erin’s belly. One measured contractions and they other gave us audio of the baby’s heartbeat. Since contractions were still relatively light and since we’re goofy together by nature we started telling jokes. Well, it turns out that if you laugh when you’re wearing that audio heartbeat monitor it creates its own laugh track which is in itself pretty funny sounding. So we kept laughing in a vicious circle of laugh—laugh track—laugh until they folks behind the curtain in the other half of the room remind us that we weren’t alone in the room. Then they started laughing and the same thing happened to them. Good times.

I don’t know if they kicked new parents out of the labor and delivery rooms or what, but we got our own private room shortly thereafter. Contractions progressed throughout the morning and by about 10:15 AM Erin was at about 7 cm when anesthesiologist gave her an epidural. (The anesthesiologist was the father of one of Erin’s students.) We initially debated the epidural, our preference being to go as far as possible naturally, then to use the epidural if needed. At 7 cm you’re kind of out of time to decide on the “yes or no” of an epidural. If you wait it’s quite possible that you won’t have time for the procedure before the kid is born. Erin got one nastily painful contraction before opting for the epidural. We figured that if you can’t do anything but yell your way through a contraction, it’s best to get pain relief.

The epidural masked a lot of the pain, but left a “hot spot” near Erin’s hip where she could still feel everything fully. We were led to understand that there’s not a lot of control when it comes to these things, and hot spots can sometimes happen. Ultimately, it proved a useful guide to Erin for knowing when the contractions where coming.

After the epidural, the doctor came in a broke the water, figuring that it would speed contractions and move things along. From about 10:45 to 11:45 Erin and I were more or less alone (occasionally nurses came in to monitor Erin’s blood pressure which was a bit high). Erin worked her way through the contractions as they came, and we told jokes to each other in the in-between times. The mood was light and good. Erin was worried initially that the epidural might have been a mistake since it seemed like the contractions had actually lessened. I reminded her of the last major contraction she felt fully, and we agreed that pain relief had been a great idea.

At 11:45 AM, our nurse Cindy found Erin to be fully dilated, picked up the phone and told the doctor to “come have a baby,” and started prepping the room. This surprised us. With Jonah, we walked the halls for hours, sat for hours in a Jacuzzi tub, and did God knows what else. Both Erin and I couldn’t believe it was time to have baby #2 already.

The actually transition labor was surprisingly short, especially compared to the 3 hours Erin pushed with Jonah. Erin pushed through three major contractions and at the end of the third brought Elisha into the world. Erin described the event as happening in two parts, by which I think she means that she pushed Elisha’s head out, felt a pressure change in her uterus, and then pushed out the rest of Elisha’s body. I was looking down at the Elisha’s head most of the way through this (while I held one of Erin’s legs), but I glanced back at the doctor at one point, and he was just standing there casual as could be, waiting for Erin to finish doing her thing. I mean, he could have been in line for an espresso at StarBucks. But his body language was a useful guide to me that all was proceeding according to plan. It’s no exaggeration to say that Erin delivered the baby and the doctor was there to catch it. Like with Jonah, I had the honor of cutting the umbilical cord, a relatively minor contribution, but, hey, somebody had to do it.

All kidding aside, Erin and I are both still stunned (and thankful) at the quickness and relative ease of this birth compared to Jonah. We continue to be ever so grateful for the gifts we are given.

Both mother and child are going to try to sleep this afternoon. We’ll introduce Jonah to his sister this evening. Jonah and I will likely be at home tonight while mother and daughter stay at the hospital. Barring surprises, Erin and Elisha will check out tomorrow.