Rory Patrick Riordan was born on February 14, 2024 in Morristown, New Jersey. 

I have always loved reading birth stories. I wrote my own for Jack’s birth two and a half years ago and I can’t believe it’s time to share the birth story of our second son Rory, who entered the world on Valentine’s Day.

I still think about Jack’s birth nearly every day– it is imprinted in me– and I have a feeling Rory’s will be no different. They were two totally unique births though. While Jack’s birth was completely “uneventful,” I had a lot to unpack with how it unfolded. I had never been in the hospital before as a patient (besides my own birth) and I didn’t know what to expect. In a way, that was a good thing. I went in naive and with zero preconceived notions about how labor and delivery would go.

This time around, I was nervous. My pregnancy with Rory was a little more complicated than mine with Jack and the last six weeks of my pregnancy was filled with personal sadness and stress as we handled our precious Hamilton’s illness. I also had a miscarriage early last year and I think I was just constantly waiting for something bad to happen– I held my breath the entire time. There were a series of misfortunate events as well. Days after I found out I was pregnant with Rory I got super sick and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance– and while it turned out to be unrelated to the pregnancy, it scared me quite badly. Then I severe food poisoning before my first doctor’s appointment. Then I got hit by very rough morning sickness. Then I found out I had a complete placenta previa that didn’t resolve until the very last minute (36 weeks!). To say I was a basket of nerves would be an understatement.

I think because of everything going on, I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I was actually having a baby. I just felt “pregnant” (and scared). I knew I was having a baby, obviously, but also… it didn’t feel real? Or I couldn’t let myself go there.

Despite all of the ups and downs of my pregnancy, one thing was abundantly clear… I knew I made the right decision to change OBGYN practices. The practice I was with for my pregnancy with Jack was not great. I should have trusted my gut and left when I started getting off vibes. (I think it’s worth mentioning that not a single doctor who was there when I was a patient remains at the practice and they changed hospital affiliations.) This new-to-me practice (Madison Ave OBGYN if you’re local) was incredible throughout my miscarriage and I knew I was in good hands. Sometimes you can’t even put your finger on the differences other than to know in your bones that you’re surrounded by the best medical professionals who care about their patients’ wellbeing. Every person from the front desk staff to the nurses to the nurse practitioners to the doctors are the best of the best. I know they see hundreds of patients every week, but you don’t feel like you’re just on a conveyor belt being pushed through “the system.”

Because of the placenta previa, I was going into MFM for extra scans, which was both reassuring (baby was looking great!) and nerve-wracking (the previa persisted!). I was doing everything I could to avoid bleeding and to hopefully try to get my placenta to shift. I went on pelvic rest, limited my work outs, avoided heavy lifting as much as possible, started going to acupuncture, etc. I even did about 20 minutes of positive thinking/biofeedback trying to bargain with my placenta. You name it, I was trying it.

At 36 weeks, I was finally cleared for a vaginal, full term delivery. I had spent months trying to wrap my head around an early c-section (with placenta previa the risk of hemorrhaging during a vaginal delivery is too dangerous so you have to have an early c-section to avoid going into labor). And then I had to re-wrap my head around going another four weeks (at least) of pregnancy and a vaginal delivery again. It was ultimately what I wanted, but I had to change gears completely!

Then at 38 weeks, I took a nasty fall (thankfully avoiding my bump, but it still shook me up) and Hamilton’s health was rapidly declining and we were dealing with other health issues at home…. When I went in for my 38 week appointment, I felt horrible. A raging headache, blurred vision, slightly elevated blood pressure…. so I got sent to Labor and Delivery out of an abundance of caution. I was 99% sure I was just extremely stressed and probably having a migraine. It ended up being a blessing in disguise because the hospital was so calm. The mood was completely different than when I went in after my water broke with Jack. It was peaceful. It was calm. For lack of any other word, I felt safe. Everything ended up being completely fine and I was sent home with a clean bill of health, but I really left feeling so much better about returning to the hospital. I actually don’t think I realized how much of my anxiety around labor was wrapped up in the hospital experience until I saw first hand that it didn’t have to be a hectic, stressful environment. I also got to see my OBGYN in the hospital setting and she was so kind and understanding. (Honestly, I was embarrassed that I was there and clearly not in labor or at any risk that a little Tylenol and a nap couldn’t fix.) I left feeling confident in a sense– again, that I had chosen a great OBGYN practice and that the hospital could be calm.

Fast forward to the Super Bowl Sunday and I started having real contractions. I was convinced I was having a baby that day! They were getting closer and closer together and increasing in intensity. We went to our friends’ house to watch the game and I was completely distracted thinking I was giving birth in hours….. and then at 11pm the contractions stopped! I went to bed, slept great, and woke up feeling normal pregnant again. Baby was kicking away, but now had zero contractions. I couldn’t believe it. I had my 40 week check up on Tuesday the 13th (the day before my due date) slightly dilated but not really. I was resigning myself that I was going to end up having the baby at 41+ weeks.

Throughout that afternoon though, I started to feel contractions again…. So much so that we boarded Teddy, dropped Jack off at my sister in law’s house, and went home to get ready to go into the hospital. I showered and dried my hair, we had a light dinner, and then I called it in. My doctor had me come to the hospital to get checked out and we were admitted around 9pm. From there things moved fast. It actually moved so quickly that I don’t even have a very good read on a timeline, so the following is to the best of my knowledge:

I was put on Pitocin around midnight and then the doctor came in and broke my waters (very painful!). The nurse came in and said they were about to start a c-section surgery so if I wanted an epidural, I’d have to do it asap or else wait about two hours. I loved my epidural with Jack, so I was like, “sure, let’s do it now!” The anesthesiologist came in what felt like minutes later and he popped the epidural in so quickly. It did hurt more this time I think? But he did such a great job explaining exactly what he was doing and when and why and how that I was truly in awe of his expertise and was completely distracted from the pain. It started to work pretty immediately. I did have a reaction to it where my blood pressure bottomed out a few times– that was kind of scary just because I felt so sick. (At one point, it felt like I was about to float out of my body straight to heaven I was so out of it.) The nurse gave me three rounds of some kind of medication and my blood pressure finally leveled out and then we were smooth sailing again.

A foley balloon was placed at some point around then…. honestly can’t remember since I was so relaxed and pain free from the epidural.

At 2am, we heard the woman next door give birth– I sobbed listening to the miracle! It felt like a preview of what was to come for us. The nurse came in and said, “okay you’ll be ready to push in about two hours we think!” Because I was in labor for so long with Jack that this felt absolutely insane to me. What do you mean two hours, we just got here!!!!

Sure enough, a little more than two hours later, everyone starts coming in. The foley balloon is removed, and I’m ready to push.

I am going to have a hard time articulating how magical Rory’s delivery felt to me. Jack’s was so painful and I was exhausted and overwhelmed and, looking back, I felt incredibly confused by the whole process. This time, everything felt “right,” in large part due to my incredible doctor, the resident assisting her, and the two nurses who were with us (one from pediatrics and one for me). Mike was amazing again, too. Just so helpful and supportive. Because we had done this before, he knew what I needed instinctually and was able to tell me exactly what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. My doctor was able to help coach me through the pushes and she worked with me to get the right pushing technique down. Once we got into a good rhythm, it just felt…. amazing?

I always thought labor was just something to endure, but this felt euphoric and so good. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard and it hurt (even with the epidural), but it felt so right. I felt in control of my body in a way I absolutely did not the first time. After a little bit, they said to stop pushing because he was right there and they started to gear up to catch the baby…. but I had to keep pushing. I blacked out for this part with Jack and I’m so glad I didn’t this time because it felt miraculous and the memory of it will stay with me forever.

The pressure was intensifying and intensifying…. and then….. BABY!

It was pure magic. Rory Patrick Riordan was here! He weighed eight pounds fourteen ounces (just one ounce more than Jack!) and was absolutely perfect to me.

We had a beautiful two hours doing skin to skin before we moved to the mother/baby room. I wasn’t sure if it was just the medication, but I felt shockingly well. I was standing almost immediately and was able to pee right away…. I felt so good I almost couldn’t believe it.

Everything went so well that although I had him just before 6am on Wednesday, we were walking out of the hospital at noon on Thursday. We were home at 12:15! It was wild and surreal and I couldn’t believe that I just walked out holding a newborn and we were on our way. I still kept waiting to feel the pain, but it never came. With Jack, I felt like I had been struck by a bus (everything hurt for weeks) and this time I felt completely normal. The “worst” of the pain was sore arms– from pulling my knees during labor– and then the uterine cramping that occurs with breastfeeding. Nothing Tylenol couldn’t address though. It felt like I was pregnant for fourteen months that the already quick delivery felt exceptionally fast when we were really only in the hospital for a grand total of 40ish hours!

It’s been a much smoother transition and, well, so far, so good. Jack is loving big brother life and we’ve been in the newborn bubble just enjoying the snuggles and coos that newborns do best. Maybe it’s just the nature of second children…. we know how fast it goes so we are soaking it all up!

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Dear Carly,
congratulations on baby Rory! I am so happy to read that you had a wonderful experience. It is such a heartwarming birth story. Thank you for taking the time to share your story with your community!
I wish you, your two boys and Mike all the best!


ahh I gave up Instagram for lent, but I’ve been checking your blog for any baby news! so thrilled for y’all and baby Rory! he’s perfect! still heartbroken for y’all about Hamilton but what a joy to have this sweet new bundle of love! congrats and so glad the delivery was so much better this time! xx

Lisa Mari

Congratulations,Carly,and welcome little Rory! All the best wishes for your family of four 💙 what a beautiful birth story and lovely first pictures!


Congratulations on the birth of beautiful baby, Rory. You had a lot to content with during this pregnancy but you made it every step of the way. I hope you can relax and enjoy beautiful Rory
and you new family dynamic.

Liv Burns

I love reading birth stories — and loved reading yours! So grateful your delivery with Rory was the foil to Jack’s. Seems like it was just what the universe called for after a stressful pregnancy.

Ellen E. Elliotte

What a beautiful way to start my day – I have tears in my eyes! Congratulations to your family!

Alyssa S

Thank you for sharing such an intimate story of your experience! I was tearing up reading this, excited to hopefully be a mom within the next year 🥹 congratulations Carly & Mike! You have a beautiful family. From college prepster to best mom ❤️


So happy for your news and the safe delivery of your baby! Second time was better for me too 🙂 Congratulations to you and your family! Wishing you all the best and many blessings always.

Elizabeth Cicchino

It’s so wonderful to write a story like this. Years from now you will be THRILLED! Not to mention how happy your son(s) will be when they get to read it as adults. CONGRATULATIONS!
As an aside- for me I’d add the description of “exhilarating” to deliver…its empowering in a way that is truly indescribable unless you go thru it. So I hear you and glad you had that this time around!


This gives me such hope for having a second child someday soon. Thank you so much for sharing. Congratulations!!

Katie Smith

Congratulations Carly!!! I love his name, Rory!! It is so good to hear a positive birth story!!


I am so happy for you! Stay in the newborn bubble as long as you can. The rest of the world can wait. Isn’t watching your first love on your second the absolute best thing ever?


Love this post—thank you so much for sharing Rory’s birth story! I’m so, SO glad that you had such a positive experience, especially compared to your first delivery. I was waiting all of February for an update and was so excited to see the announcement on IG! And the updates since—especially those featuring Jack being the best big brother 🥹—have been pure joy. I look for your posts and stories every time I open my phone!!! 🥰

As a 30 year old without kids—who wants them someday but is VERY nervous about the idea—I’ve loved following your motherhood journey (and I’ve been following for 11 years!).

Thank you for sharing your life and precious family with us. I hope you always know that you have an entire community of people who are cheering you on, awaiting every update, and loving you and your family from afar. 💕

Katie Garner

So happy for your little family and loving that you had a smoother experience!! Enjoy every minute 🫶🏼


CONGRATULATIONS Carly!!! I have been thinking about you and your family and am over the moon happy for you all! I gave birth to my second (first son) on 2/12 and feel like I’ve been on this journey with you the whole time! I completely agree that the second time is 1000% better than the first. You are amazing! Wishing you blessings as you settle into being a family of four!


So happy for you and your family! I teared up reading your story, and so happy you found the peace you deserved this time around. Best wishes to your sweet fam!


Absolutely loved reading this! My first delivery was great, but still felt a little off not knowing what to expect. Hoping that having some knowledge of the experience, together with a great OB will make the second go-round just as pleasant as this!


Congratulations, so happy for you and your family!! I’m giving birth to my first baby in two months, and it’s been so so heartwarming to follow your journey with both Jack and Rory, and I was tearing up reading through your birth story. I also love watching your stories, especially the one yesterday where Jack pointed to a big brother on a book and said “Jack Jack!” and to the little brother “Wrowry!” SO CUTE. Showed my husband too, he knows all about you guys because I talk his ear off about you and your blog. Congrats again!!! I can’t wait to keep following your journey with two boys!


Congratulations, Carly!! I’m so happy to hear that you had a wonderful birth experience where you felt supported, heard and in control. What a blessing! Enjoy the newborn snuggles!

Josephine Schulte

Congratulations!! Rory is gorgeous and you look so happy! I’m so glad you had such a great experience this time around! Enjoy those baby snuggles!!

Cindy Gillespie-Lena

Congratulations! Thank you for sharing the Rory Story, it makes me reflect on my daughter’s birth and the two miscarriages that I had before her. Welcome to the world, Rory!

Samantha Sohl

Carly! I totally tested up reading this!!! Congratulations and I’m so happy for your growing family! Rory is so precious and that cute video you posted of Jack with the brother book saying Rory melted my heart!!!



Congratulations to the whole family! As someone who had a really tough first birth (so much so that we changed course from wanting two to being one and done) it is so heartwarming to hear a smooth second birth <3


Welcome to the world, Rory!!
I am so happy to hear that your previa cleared, I experienced it with my little guy, Patrick, and it added a whole layer of anxiety to my pregnancy as well.
Wishing you all the best as you settle in as a family of 4!

Amanda Hyland

Oh my gosh, your story reminds me so much of my delivery experiences with my second and third babies. My first was so stressful (I also had high blood pressure and a headache, ugh!) that I was genuinely shocked when I felt great the second and third times around. I also switched practices after my first was born, and I know that played a huge role in how I felt. Having the right doctor and care team makes ALL the difference! I’m so glad you had a great experience and congratulations on sweet baby Rory! 🙂


What a wonderful story! I’ve been following you forever and it’s been fun to watch your journey. Congratulations Mike and Carly!

Shayla McMurray

Omg what a wonderful birth story and the photo of Jack holding Rory absolutely melts me!!!!!! Congratulations Carly 💗


Welcome to the world baby Rory! So glad to hear mother and baby are doing well. Congratulations! You have a beautiful family Carly.


Oh my gosh, Carly! What a beautiful birth – congratulations! I’m due with my first in June and have a ton of anxiety, so reading this (that you actually enjoyed delivery and felt so empowered) was so reassuring and encouraging! Thank you so much for sharing. Soak up every minute of those newborn cuddles! I can’t wait to be right behind you.


Hanna Garcia

So thrilled for you! What an incredible experience, I was brought to tears by this. This makes me less scared to try for a second baby. You’re such an amazing mom. Jack is about 5 months older than my son and I’ve been so appreciative of your mentorship through motherhood. You and your family deserve the best. Thanks for being here 💙


What a sweet valentine for your family! Thank you for sharing your story. Wishing you much happiness –

Sarah Gomez

Congratulations! What a great birth date! Boys are the sweeetest with their moms so you are doubly blessed.

Geysanni Robbins

I’m so happy to hear another positive birth story! I had my baby a year ago also at Morristown and I loved, loved giving birth. People look at me weirdly when I say that. The only difference from you was that I requested my epidural pretty much immediately, so I didn’t feel when the doctor broke my waters. But the whole process took 14 hours and the l&d nurses there(shout out to Anna and Michelle!), as well as the resident who assisted, were just incredible! You’re making me want another baby 😅
Congrats mama!❤️


So happy that you had such a positive experience, and that your postpartum is feeling smoother, too. For what it’s worth, I felt the same after my second baby and kept waiting for things to get hard/scary like they were with the first but it just never happened (and she’s 18 months now). Second has just been so much smoother for me.


Beautiful 🩷🩷 congratulations on becoming a mother of two!

I loved reading your birth story with Jack before giving birth to my first a little over a year ago. Funnily enough we ended up having a very similar labor experience. Now, reading about your second, it gives me confidence that I will be able to navigate it again too (when we’re ready!)

Enjoy those newborn cuddles 🥰


this is amazing and inspiring!!! I hope my next birth is smooth and feels safe like yours did. I had a similar first (but c section after grueling 15 hrs of labor unmed and medicated 5 hours of pushing. just insane. from my doula being annoyed I called at 4am, it is your job.) birth that is not what I prepared for or wanted. thankfully my baby is healthy but just no. My recovery was terrible and feeding journey went poorly. Kept being in shock at just how everything I hoped for kept not happening. 🤪😆

dreaming of a VBAC and choosing a diff provider (my practice is awesome. They are labor nurse was angry she was at work, miffed/perturbed at me and left bodily fluid down my legs for the entire labor. as a nurse myself this in unacceptable and I want to go into l&d someday! just no!!! Clean your patients legs!!! for goodness sake. I did not feel safe throughout even though my doula, husband and mom were there) and diff hospital w better VBAC rates. I will do some things differently but I can’t think of how a recovery could go worse than my first did.

so here’s hoping for a redemptive, amazing 2nd experience even if it is a planned c section (I’ve heard the recovery is way better bc of no labor before). Surrendering to motherhood is hard.

birth really is an important transition! I’m definitely envious of anyone with a vaginal birth even w severe tearing. there’s such a wide range of experiences.

DAnna Smith

I’m so, so happy this was a better experience for you – just as it should be! A baby’s birth is a miracle! Congratulations to your sweet family!

Beth Glenn

Carly, congratulations to you, Mike and big brother Jack. Baby Rory is beautiful – love the alliteration of his first name with your last name. You write so beautifully and honestly, it warms my heart. You have been through so much this past year, enjoy this precious time. May Rory be a blessing to you and to the world. xo


Congratulations Carly!! Way to go mama! I’m so thrilled you and baby are happy and healthy, and I have to say: my birthday is February 14th as well, and it is THE BEST! What a perfect start to Rory’s life – filled with love!