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And baby makes three (or four if you include Max the cat)

Hmmm.... let's see - what could have happened between now and November 4th (my last post) that prevented me from blogging? I guess the suspense of this first sentence was probably ruined by the title of this post, so I'll get right to it. I HAD A BABY! 

Here's the birth story for those of you who like these kinds of things. My baby's due date was always December 25th, which we thought was kind of neat, but hoped wouldn't happen so we wouldn't have to name him Jesus and put his all his birthday presents under the Christmas tree for his entire life. Apparently he agreed, because he waited until 1 AM on December 26th - an hour after I'd gone to bed on Christmas night - to kick hard enough to cause my water to break. What actually happened is that Michael came into the room and woke me up because he wanted to play me the most recent edition of the podcast "White Dad Problems" on which he had appeared as a guest. It's a group of very funny Dads, so Michael fits right in, and as he was playing me his part of the podcast where he talked about our birth plans, my water broke. Very apropos. 

I should back up a bit here and say that I had intended to have a completely natural, drug free childbirth. I went to extreme lengths in order to do this because it was important to me for a variety of reasons. Michael and I took a natural childbirth class called the Bradley Method every sunday for 3 hours for 8 weeks in order to prepare ourselves. I decided not to give birth in the hospitals here in Manhattan and instead found a hollistic birthing center attached to a hospital in Rhinebeck, up near where my parents live. I read books, did yoga for my entire pregnancy, and spent the last month of my pregnancy either traveling up to Rhinebeck weekly to have my appointments with the midwives, or living at my parents house for the last two weeks waiting for the baby's arrival. One of the reasons I was so adamant about having a natural birth in a hollistic place is that hospitals in Manhattan are known to have very high rates of Cesarian sections because they don't have time to let women go through long labors, and because they don't want to get sued, so they choose to just get the baby out quickly. And I really didn't want a C section. 

So here we were in the Hudson Valley for Christmas, and my water broke. If you've watched movies, you would probably assume we would dash off to the hospital, but actually if you are having a natural birth, you just wait until labor starts naturually, which can sometimes take 24 - 48 hours. Again, the hospitals and doctors don't want you to do that, because they are worried about complications, but the midwives believe it will be just fine. We went in and got checked by the midwife at about 3 PM the next day, after I'd been having sporadic contractions since the water breaking, but they weren't consistent yet, so we went back to my parent's house. Then as soon as we got there, the contractions came on hard and strong, so we went back to the birthing center and when we arrived, I was already at 8 centimeters dilated. For those of you who might not know, that's really dilated. Most women arrive at the hospital when they are 3 - 5 centimeters, and you're done at 10, so I was really in labor. 

I quickly reached 10 centimeters, and I labored, unmedicated until about 2 in the morning. In fact, from about 10 PM til about 2 AM, I was completely dilated and was pushing. Finally, after no movement during those 4 hours, a doctor was consulted, and it was determined that I needed a C section. After 24 hours of Natural Childbirth classes, I couldn't really miss the irony, even amidst drug-free contractions.  I did all that preparation and then all that labor and then a C section??? But the baby's head was stuck in my pelvis and wouldn't budge. Sometimes C sections are very necessary, and this was one of those times. Childbirth is kind of like performances - you can prepare all you want, but what happens in the moment is what happens in the moment. So after 23 hours of unmedicated labor, I was rolled into the operating room and out he came at 2:40 AM on December 27th, perfectly healthy at 8 pounds, 3 ounces, 21 inches, and looking just like his Dad. We named him Jackson Collins Rice and he is without a doubt, the single cutest baby ever to be born. I mean, I guess I'm a little biased, but I've included pictures below so you can judge for yourselves. 

I really hope to keep blogging about my life as a singer, especially about what it's like to sing, travel and have a child. In fact today we have to hop on over to the post office to apply for his passport. I will do my best to keep up my blogging duties as we navigate this whole new world, however, I do ask you to bear in mind that having a child is sort of time consuming. Especially my child, who a few days short of his 8 week birthday is already in the 95th percentile for height and weight, which means he eats  A LOT and keeps me very occupied. I go back to work in April when I return to Berlin for a revival of Agrippina with baby and my mom in tow. I will do my best to keep you posted. In the meantime, here are those photos I promised.


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Reader Comments (9)

Hi Jenny, Concratulations on the birth of your very, very cute son! He is so beautiful! I am happy for you and your familiy.
I wish you all the best for your young family! Friederike

February 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFriederike from Berlin

Congratulations to all of you! Love the bib- and he is adorable!!

February 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Congratulations! I've been wondering about you and the baby, and I'm so glad to hear it all came out well. I can't begin to imagine how ovewhelmed you're going to be in the next few months, but if you do get a few minutes to report on what it's like singing in Agrippina with a four-month-old baby in the picture, it will be fascinating to read. Thank you.

And yes, he is utterly adorable.

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

Congrats! I'm excited to hear how having a child and being a singer works out. I'm a young singer having a baby soon, and its encouraging to know that its possible to succeed in both areas!

March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

Hi, Jenny - I've been following your blog for a couple of years, so I feel that I know you, though I've never actually met you or seen you on stage. Congratulations on the cute baby!

I've been a season subscriber to both Opera Colorado and Central City Opera for years, and renewed my Central City tickets several months ago. They announce the season productions far in advance of announcing casting. So imagine my surprise and delight when I got the season brochure last week and saw that you're singing Rosina!

Looking forward to seeing you in Colorado - and I hope you were warned about the altitude. Sondra Radvanovsky commented a few years ago when she sang Tosca here in Denver that in the first rehearsal she thought she needed an extra lung! And Central City is about 3,000 feet higher. But you'll have lots of time to adjust.

See you in July!

March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda in Colorado


March 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

good to see you back on stage! :-) great evening, great performance. thank you jenni!

May 2, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterb

Hi Jenny!

I'm very new to your blog. Like your style of writing and a singer myself hope you will be back soon with reports on your adventures as a singing mom.


May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStella Scott

Hi Jen;

Alice and I want to be your #1 fans. We always were. The news of Michael and baby (I tend to ignore cats) is super wonderful.

Congratulations on everything.

I'll e-mail you when we come to NYC to visit Beth and grandson super-Oliver. He just turned 8.


February 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBurt Saidel

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