PEORIA — When Sculpture Walk 2018 held the kickoff event Saturday, “Ancient Protocol,” a sculpture by Chicago blacksmith Paul Russell, was missing.

There was a very good reason why.

Russell’s wife Patricia gave birth to their third child late Thursday night after a health scare which prompted doctors to induce labor early. She wasn’t due till June 3.

Patricia Russell began to worry when her feet started itching early in May.

“She thought it was poison ivy, but there was no rash,” said Paul Russell during a phone interview Wednesday. “She Googled “itchy feet and pregnancy,” and it turns out it’s a pretty serious condition for baby. She called her doctor and they did a blood test, found out she was positive, and they had to schedule an emergency induction.”

Patricia had cholestasis, a liver condition that can occur in late pregnancy.

“It has something to do with the liver not breaking down the bile,” said Paul Russell. “It could cause stillbirth. The risk is pretty serious.”

Patricia went into the hospital for induction on May 15. Paul Russell was at her side. The pair played cards and games to help the time pass.

“They gave her pitocin for like two days, but for most of the time the contractions were really mild. She didn’t start active labor until about 7:30 p.m. Thursday,” said Paul Russell. At 9:17 p.m. a healthy baby boy was born. He weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces and the couple named him Kit Francis Russell.

Knowing he had an appointment to install “Ancient Protocol” in Peoria on Friday, Paul Russell held out hope to the last minute that he could still make the appointment.

“If he had been born on Wednesday I might have been able to make it,” he said. “We didn’t actually get out of the hospital until Saturday morning.”

The sculpture, which coincidentally has a theme of procreation, will be installed June 1.


Leslie Renken can be reached at 686-3250 or Follow her on, and subscribe to her on