Baby Delivery: Dr. Peter Rice

Waiting Patiently for My New Grandbaby

As I start this, I’ve been vacationing in Virginia Beach, Virginia for two weeks, but it seems like forever.  How often do you hear a description like that, making it seem like you’re only just tolerating your vacation? But in this case I am, because I did not come here to just sit around. I’m waiting for a baby to arrive.

My oldest daughter Tamar and my son-in-law Grayson promised to deliver a grandbaby. My grandchild is late.

Some things only happen in their own good time, and babies can be like that. We have gestational calculators which tell us exactly when a baby is due based on knowing the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period. You just dial them in and you can start planning.

Baby Delivery!

Baby Delivery!

Sort of. Most deliveries do not occur on the planned date.

This baby’s “due date” was the first day of summer with an unusual full “strawberry” moon; wouldn’t it be neat to have the baby with a celestial event that occurs only once every 50 years or so. We missed it. Wouldn’t it be neat if the baby came a few days later on the great-grandparent’s wedding anniversary. Missed that, too.  It looks like the baby will insist on having his or her own special day very soon.

What makes it very interesting is that there are some drugs which will stimulate, or even force, delivery. It is not uncommon for late pregnancies to be treated with prostaglandins to efface and dilate the cervix, followed by increasing doses of oxytocin to rhythmically contract the uterus and stimulate delivery. It is called augmentation of labor.

In our case, we just joked about foods or other things that might get labor going. By this time, both sets of grandparents had arrived in town expecting to visit with the same new baby. The other grandfather took the initiative to check the internet on things to help stimulate labor.  As Abraham Lincoln said, “You can trust anything you find on the internet.”

The mom–to-be had accumulated or tried a number of items on the list. 

  • She exercised regularly, usually with a walk of about a mile or more each evening.
  • We went out for spicy food; no help. 
  • Raspberry leaf tea sounded like it might really help, since it helps uterine tone; she was already on her sixth box of raspberry leaf tea when I arrived.
  • Massage might help. When pregnant women have massages, they avoid certain spots which might induce uterine contractions. No help, in spite of telling them not to worry about avoiding those special spots.
  • We tried more spicy food.
  • We heard of a relative’s delivery stimulated by her mom laughing uncontrollably through a funny movie.
  • We laughed when we found “eggplant parmigiana” on a list of labor-stimulating food. We waited several more days. 

So the day before I was scheduled to leave town we went out to dinner at Mannino’s, a nice Italian restaurant nearby.  I had linguini with white clam sauce, the expectant dad had lasagna, the mom-to-be had … eggplant parmigiana.

Contractions started within two hours and continued after we returned home. Things progressed quickly with just enough time for the mom and dad to make it to the hospital.  An obstetrician from another practice had to stand in for the planned midwife.

It’s a girl! My new granddaughter, Hope Mauria (8lb, 6½oz; 20 inches), was delivered after a short labor at 11:25pm. She is a beautiful little one.   


Dr. Peter J. Rice

About Dr. Peter J. Rice

Dr. Peter J. Rice is a professor of Pharmacology emeritus at the East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine and Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. --------------------------------------------------------------------------He received his BS in pharmacy from Northeastern University, PhD in pharmacology from the Ohio State University and PharmD from the University of Kentucky. He is a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist and practices in the ambulatory care and community pharmacy settings. Professor Rice is the author of Understanding Drug Action: An introduction to pharmacology (APhA, 2014) and is a fellow of the American Pharmacists Association. --------------------------He welcomes interesting medication questions and suggestions for future columns.
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