Ollie’s Birth Story

(Written 11/21/2022)

Oliver was born on July 10, 2022, at 10:46 am. He was 9 pounds, 6 ounces, and 22.5 inches long, making him significantly bigger than his big sister! This labor was so completely different from Evie’s. Early in the morning of the 10th, around 4:40 am. I was feeling a little crampy, and was losing my mucus plug. I texted the midwives at 5:40 am, telling them I was having twenty second contractions that were manageable. About a half hour later, I asked Jeff to get up and call Becca. To which he was like “Call Becca?” and I was like “JUST CALL HER.” She was to come over and watch Evie. 

At that point I also had him call Traci (who was coming to support us at the birth center) and then tried to get myself ready. Most of our items were together, but I wanted to eat and have some water, but my contractions were just too close together to do much. I asked Jeff to call the midwives and they said they’d meet us at the birth center around 7:30, which was about an hour from them, which honestly made me feel desperate. I was laboring in our bathroom, trying to eat a yogurt, and waiting for Becca to arrive. Meanwhile Jeff got the car packed up. Becca arrived and we got ready to leave, and as we did Evie woke up and I got to give her a hug goodbye. 

We headed to the birth center and my contractions were really close together and really intense. Traci met us at the parking lot, and it took two or three contractions to even get INTO the birth center. Once we were inside, after a few more contractions and a cervical check, Michelle (our midwife) said she was going to do rebozo to get the baby in a better position so that I would have more reasonable contractions. When she checked me, Michelle said, “OK, you are between 7 and 8, I’m going to say 7” and Jeff was like “centimeters?” and I just was like “NO MONKEYS, OBVIOUSLY CENTIMETERS.”

Once I had a (teeny tiny) break in my contractions, Michelle and Jeff did rebozo so that I would be more comfortable and it was like night and day. My contractions went from back-to-back and intense to reasonable 3ish minutes apart. I went from feeling like I absolutely couldn’t do the labor to feeling back to having the power to do it. At this point, Michelle drew a bath so we could labor in the bathtub. Jeff got in with me and we labored there for a couple hours. Traci kept us in music, water, and laughing, and of course was taking pictures and video of the whole thing. I felt like I needed to push not too long into this, and Michelle said I was only 9 centimeters, so to not push quite yet. At that point, I really did think I couldn’t handle the labor, so I asked for some nitrous oxide, taking some deep breaths of that.

I remember several times Michelle explaining to Jeff what was happening in my body, and at one point she mentioned that there’s some time between active labor and pushing where your body gives you a break to catch your breath, so to speak, and feeling like that was bullshit because the contractions were still strong, but in retrospect she was right, and I was in a “lull” for a little while in the tub. Once I started pushing, however, I really felt like I was in unknown territory, because I hadn’t pushed with Evie. I pushed in the tub for a bit, but Michelle asked if I was open to other positions because Ollie wasn’t progressing. So I got out of the tub and was pushing on the birth chair, and finally in bed. At this point, Michelle told me she could see Ollie’s head and I was so doubtful anything was happening. I did say several times I did not want to do this anymore, and she said (and I knew) this was a good sign and that things were moving along well.

Michelle kept asking me for three pushes per contraction, which absolutely wasn’t going to happen – I was focusing on two pushes, max. With some gentle coaxing (hah) I did try to eventually give her three pushes while Tayelor and Jeff supported my legs and Traci continued to document and be my cheerleader. Pushing, as it turns out, really hurts! I was probably on the bed for forty minutes or so before we got Ollie close to out – and at that point, Michelle told me he’d be out on the next push. I asked her repeatedly if I was going to tear, and that was my biggest fear, and she said “You’re not going to tear, you can push as hard as you can on this next push” so I did, and finally, Ollie’s head was out! Michelle turned him a bit to get him in a better position for the rest of his delivery, and I pushed again (maybe twice?) and he was out. I know I had a breather when his head was out to just gear up to push again.

Once little man was out, Michelle was like “I think he’s going to be over nine pounds” which like, good thing no one mentioned as we were pushing!! He was on my chest during this time, while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing and waited for me to deliver my placenta (which she said was very large, as well!) Delivering the placenta was more uncomfortable than I thought it was going to be, but once that was done, I was feeling great. No longer nauseated, and our chunky baby was here!! Unlike Evie, Ollie had a name from the get. I got him to latch a bit, and we just enjoyed our time together while Michelle and Tayelor cleaned up, checked us both, etc. Traci put on our non-mellow playlist (we’d started with mellow straight up this time around) and we bopped to some jams and introduced Ollie to Sara Bareilles, naturally.

This second labor was a completely different experience from the first time – in venue (no monitors, no IV, etc.) and in length (Ollie’s labor was six hours total, Evie’s was about twenty four), and in size (6 lbs 9 oz v. 9 lb 6 oz). Plus, Ollie was so long that Michelle measured him twice because it seemed like he just was SO SO long. After about an hour or so of relaxing, having some snacks, and enjoying Ollie, Tayelor helped me up and helped me take a shower. It felt amazing, and then I was helped to dry off, change, and get back in bed. It was so lovely and comfortable at the birth center, and we stayed just a few hours after his birth. Once Ollie and I were cleared for healthiness, we were ready to get home. Traci ordered us sushi and picked it up on the way for us to enjoy. We were home by 2:45, in the blazing hot sunshine of July. I was so proud of myself that I managed to do an out-of-hospital VBAC by advocating for myself, finding the right providers, support people, and of course having a supportive family. I am endlessly, tremendously in awe of Traci for being our overall birthing coach, the team from Gracefull for supporting me through a pregnancy that included thyroid management and low iron counts, on top of being a TOLAC, and of course of Jeff being there the whole way as a birth partner and Dad of the year. And of course thank you to Rebecca for caring for Evie while we were getting Ollie earthside. Traci and Rebecca hung around for most of the day taking turns with hanging with me and hanging with Evie while I rested and took in little Mr. Oliver! We are so glad he’s here, our little missing puzzle piece, who’s smiley and chunky and wonderful.

Evie: 7 Months

I know everyone says they can’t believe it because time goes so fast, but I mean, seriously, how do we already have a baby that’s STANDING? 

I’ve been journaling on paper when I can but I can’t remember everything (even though you think you will, but you can’t because who is sleeping these days?)

Here’s where we are at. She’s 7 months 5 days old (every day counts!) and here are some things she’s up to:

  • Standing – This is the past 2-3 days, she can get herself flat on her feet if she’s holding on to something – she’s almost standing in her crib and I can hardly believe it
  • Sitting – She learned how to do this April 12 – she woke up not being able to, and went to bed a sitting champion. She was about 6 and a half months old. I had to lower the crib to the lowest setting before bed while she cried nearby, cranky and ready to sleep but unable to go to bed in a raised crib any longer!
  • Crawling – She’s been crawling in earnest for about a week. She was scooting around on her stomach for a few weeks before that, but she’s cruising around now.
  • Eating – She’s into all things pretty much. She’s not CRAZY about avocado but eats it, and she loves loves Bamba, which are basically peanut butter flavored cheese puffs. She has had a lot of different things, from polenta and oatmeal to prunes to kale to cucumber, pears, different meats (some even spicy because I want her to have a higher tolerance than me!) I’ve been pureeing things for her out of ease so I have a bunch of stuff ready, but she’s also eating tiny chunks of meat, and fruit like mango and banana that’s softer, and polenta in little slices.
  • Playing – Evie loves her books. She’s into flipping through them and going from book to book to book. She loves being read to, as well, and loves all her touch and feel options. She also loves knocking over stacks of toys, and pulling on her baby dolls hair. And she loves to make noise!
  • Other stuff – Her new thing is fake coughing/laughing at everything, screaming while she crawls, crying near the Roomba (it’s terrifying, don’t know you), chewing on books, and when we imitate her noises it really makes her giggle. She doesn’t have any teeth yet, and it doesn’t seem like she’s even close, but that hasn’t stopped her from chewing on everything and eating all foods.
  • Sleep – Because I am still home, we are no schedule. Sometimes she wakes at 6 am, sometimes at 8 am. She was sleeping 6:30 pm – 3 or 4 am for a week, then went back to eating between 11-12, and last night she slept 6:30 pm – 6 am, so who’s to say. Fingers crossed that sleeping through the night becomes her new normal – it’d be nice to sleep for more than 3-4 hours at a time!
  • Signs/Language – She’s saying a lot. She talks all day long, and says “mama” and “baba” and “dada.” She loves to yell. She knows “more,” “all done,” and “eat” quite well, but she’s not signing back yet (except to slam her fist on the table when she wants more of something.) She also loves using her tongue to explore her mouth, and she loves to blow raspberries. She is just learning how to kiss which involves a big slobbery open mouth on yours, but oh how it’s cute!

That’s the majors. I’m going to try to keep track better these next few months here, but we’ll see! Where were your littles at seven months?


you got the kind of look in your eyes // as if no one knows anything but us

Today is my sister’s thirty-first birthday, and although I am not to celebrate with her I started the day feeling excitedly like it was my own birthday. Nikki’s thirtieth year was absolutely the most exciting one of our collective lives yet…she had the cutest son of all time, and I got married (a marginally less exciting event, if I do say so myself.)


Seeing Nikki being a mom has once again prepped me to follow in her footsteps (someday…calm down people!) and know that I’ll have someone to ask a million questions a day. She did the same for me when she got married, when went to college, when she played high school soccer, when she learned what movies were the coolest in the 90s…I could go on, and on, and on. She’s pioneered my life for me in ways I will never even be aware of (like learning how to put your hair in a ponytail without brushing it for 30 minutes first, driving a car, using dry shampoo, having a 9-to-5 job, a 401K) that I just take for granted.



She’s also hilarious. And she doesn’t take any bullshit. And she loves a challenge. She doesn’t like to talk through things – she likes to ACTUALLY do things. She’ll try anything once (or probably, ten times) and she likes just about everyone, everything, and nearly all foods. She’s basically my hero packaged into a tinier blonder version of myself. (Please see below. That is a strangers house where Jeff told us to go get on the bear…so obviously, we did.)



I cannot wait to see what 31 has in store for her, but I know it’s going to be a good one. I can feel it in my bones. Every year is an adventure as part of the Palluzzi clan, and as it expands to bigger and better things (read: marriages and babies and headstands and everyone finally into yoga thank goodness) I am excited every time we celebrate anything together. I can’t wait to sing Happy Birthday to you via video chat, Nikita. Love you ‘round the moon.

they can talk talk talk // but they’d better come correct

15 years ago today, my family drove from Connecticut to Michigan (well, most of us, and a couple animals thrown in for good measure) to move to Camp Waterloo for good. Or, you know, so my twelve year old brain thought. It has been more days since then than all the days I had been on earth on that day. That was a really convoluted of saying I was young, I was dramatic, and oh by the way, have I said I’m sorry Mom and Dad, like a thousand times?

80bc9712c11d11e3bce10002c99a8830_8At the time, it was the worst thing ever. We had just moved three years earlier to Clinton, where I had found some really great friends who I’d never see again (which I now scoff at, as I am in contact with all the ones who mattered all these years later.) I was nearly 13. It was the middle of the school year. Did I mention we were headed to MICHIGAN?


Lauren and I a few years back. We managed to stand the test of time by writing many, many letters to each other.

Looking back, I think moving to Michigan made me more of who I am than I really cared to admit for many years. I learned a lot about many things; what it was like to be different (when your parents are the ones with the weird accent); what it was like to maybe not know everything (like how actually, deer hunting isn’t the worst thing in the world); what it was like to stick to your guns (when you write columns for the town paper about how, wasn’t Michigan part of the north, so why are these confederate flags around?).

I got to live in Michigan, which is really one of the most beautiful states around – if not sometimes terrifyingly dark. I made some really excellently wonderful friends who I am still in contact with to this day, and who I can’t even imagine my life without – they are rocks to me, people who always get me, who always calm me, who are some of my truest true friends. I went from hating Michigan, to trying to explain how I grew up when people ask me where I am from (I say Chicago and it gives me away…but then ask me to say quarter.) I went from leaving Michigan off my history (a few years in college I was trying to play it as a cool Connecticut girl…) to being so proud to have lived there a short time – and defending Michigan, the midwest, and anything about country living to ANYONE who will listen.

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And you guys, I was thinking about it the other day. And this is super sappy and so I am sorry, but here goes: YOU GUYS, if we hadn’t moved to Michigan, we wouldn’t have Theo! I haven’t written about my little nephew yet as much as I have wanted to, but you guys. If we hadn’t moved to Michigan, Nikki would have never met Jon, we wouldn’t have ever gone to that Dairy Queen (they both know what I am referring to, a memory I will forever treasure as hilarious), they wouldn’t have dated/not dated/dated again/got married.

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And I wouldn’t have the perfect and wonderful nephew I have now. Among the many wonderful and great things about living in Michigan, I think that hindsight makes me so incredibly happy. I can see how living in Michigan has affected everything about who I am and who I am becoming and who I want to be. But that probably is the most tangible one I can see, one that will serve as a reminder of that great state for all my years to come. So, thanks Mom and Dad. Sorry again, we were losers and brats and the worst kind of kids for a patch there.

I love you, Michigan. (And, I love you, Theo.)

she’s living, she’s golden.

Today is my favorite sister’s 30th Birthday, and after knowing her for about 28 of those, I can say that I am truly excited for all that’s on the horizon for her as she rolls into the next decade. Any day now my nephew is going to grace us with his presence, and I can’t wait to see what an awesome mom she’s going to be.

My sister is the best you guys, but you probably already know that, because I talk about her all the time to anyone who will listen. I’ve always looked up to her, because she looks at something, decides she wants it, and she gets it. She always has some great advice for me, whether it be about my job, or recipes to try, what music I will love, what book to read, or what yoga position is the best to wiggle myself up to headstand.


This is us at Nikki’s wedding shower, and I feel like it’s pretty much a representation of our friendship – Nikki is one of only a choice few people who’s allowed to boss me around. And boss, she does. She doesn’t know how to sit still, she gets bored easily, and she always wants to be having all the fun. And she knows how to make anything fun – from a grocery store run, to waiting in line at a bus stop, to a long car ride – she’s the one you want by your side to make the mundane seem amazing.


This is a photo of my sister MOMENTS after falling into a lake on her WEDDING DAY. For those of you who know my sister, she has a serious fake smile, and you can tell in this photo that this one is 100 percent real. Even though the bottom of her dress is soaking wet and she’s got lake grass on her legs. Because she is into having full-on fun, not dwelling on the past – plus, falling into a lake was pretty much the second best thing that happened that day.

I am so excited as she goes into her 30s to watch from a close distance to see what awesome things are in store for her, and for me. I am so proud of who she is, I am proud of who she’s made me, and I am proud to call her my sister. Nikki, I love you, and I’ll see you in a couple of weeks when my nephew shows up – Have the Happiest Birthday.