Samuel Davis Hershberger arrives

Babies refuse to cooperate with the best laid plans of parents and physicians for their birthday party.

For the first baby my St. Louis daughter-in-love planned everything natural from birth to food. Then the stress of finishing school and working combined with a baby just a bit off center resulted in surgery that possibly interfered with natural food production.

Their eight and-a-half pound daughter arrived healthy, energetic and feisty – ready to show her parents that not even a stack of books on parenting could prepare them for the reality of the cute, little charmer with a will of her own. At two-and-a-half, she knows her colors: Green, blue, yeddow and “Elmo color.” She knows where she likes to hang out, “Go Applebees. I not hungry, I go to Applebees.” She can jump, turn somersaults and told her parents she definitely wanted a “brudder.”
Well she got her “brudder” last week — and he also refused to cooperate with the best laid plans for his birth.

Via the ultrasound, the physician estimated his weight at 7-and-a-half pounds and growing. He too would top eight pounds.
“How likely am I to deliver naturally?” his mom wanted to know.
Considering his projected size and the previous birth’s failure to progress and the doctor thought not too likely.

Given his daddy’s work schedule of scattered 12-hour shifts and the likeliness that it would be a C-section, his parents decided to schedule surgery. They asked for Saturday to accommodate Dad’s time off. The doctor agreed to skip her book club meeting for the birthday party.

They called to tell us, “If nothing happens before then, we will have the baby July 10.” I commiserated with them, but eagerly anticipated the birth of the 15th grandchild — our third grandson.
They settled into a busy week at the pharmacy and finishing final preparations for the baby. I settled into a my week of work and hanging out with my house guests of the month — at least I did until Wednesday evening when the phone rang.
“We have a baby. He arrived at 4:45 this afternoon,” my daughter-in-love announced cheerfully. “I guess I had better be careful what I pray for, I did not want to have a C-section and I didn’t get one.”

“What?” I could not comprehend it. The original due date was 12 days away. The C-section wasn’t until Saturday.
She said she woke up from her afternoon nap feeling like she might be having a baby. She wasn’t sure, so she called her mom, a nurse.
“Call the doctor,” her mom said.
“Go to the hospital,” the doctor said.
“I’ve got to find a replacement,” my son said and began searching for a someone to finish out his 12-hour shift in the pharmacy.

“I’m not waiting for your replacement,” his son said.
The other grandmother took her daughter and granddaughter to the hospital. She estimated afterwards that they were at the hospital less than an hour before the child made his grand entrance while big sister played in the waiting room with an acquaintance.
The eight-pound baby boy came quickly and naturally.
“How much does he weigh? What’s his name?” I asked. My son previously told us we had to wait until the baby was born to know his name.
“He weighs 8 pounds and 6/10th of an ounce. I don’t know his name, I am still waiting on Nathan to get here and tell me.”

I asked my son how he felt about missing the big event, “It is, what it is,” he said. When his replacement finally came, he went by their house to gather forgotten items such as the camera.
He walked into the hospital room and announced, “His name is Samuel Davis Hershberger, but we’ll call him Junior,” he teased thinking of Sammy Davis, Jr. the entertainer.

“We’ll call him Sam or Samuel,” his wife informed him.
Once things settled down, the new mom laughed and said “Sam had gotten his eviction notice and decided he wasn’t going to be kicked out – so he got out on his own – in a speedy way.”

A few days later she happily informed me that this time she will not have to hassle with washing, sterilizing and filling baby bottles to haul around in the diaper bag.
Like every newborn, the boy has his days and nights mixed up, but with two-and-a-half years of parenting behind them his parents have learned a few ways to get babies to cooperate – even those who defy the best laid plans of parents and physicians.
(Joan Hershberger is a reporter at the News-Times. E-mail her at