beautiful baby!


Welcome to the world, Caterina Astrid, and congrats to my friends Stefani and Eric on their 4th beautiful baby, born at home, just like siblings Sarafina, Eleanora and Tor.

Here is Stefani's birth story for baby Cat, born July 3:

I'd like to introduce a very young, very long little girl to you all... She's 20 inches long and weighs 7 pounds, 15 ounces, a full pound heavier than my biggest baby so far.

She was born at 6:56 this morning, and she's nursed like a champ and she and I have been napping all morning. She
has rolls upon rolls and is quite cute.

Here's the long story: Last night (July 2nd, my actual due date) about 9:30, while lying in bed listening to Eric read from Terry Pratchett’s Jingo_ to me, I sort of idly began timing contractions. Roughly every 11-7 minutes, lasting about a minute and a half.

At 11:30, I called the midwife, who told me to take a bath and try to get some sleep. In the bath, I started losing my mucous plug at 11:55 pm. At 12:15, I called her back and said I'd
just feel better with her here, given my history of precipitate labor.

She and my sister arrived about 12:45, and I labored all night long in the tub (after they drained and refilled it, as I'd done it in the afternoon and it wasn't hot yet -- it was definitely the Keystone Kops moments of the birth!).

The contractions felt really productive, but I didn't have to make any noise, just be kind of quiet during them.

Sarafina was the only one up, and she kept announcing the time. When
she said, "It's 5:00," I began to wonder if she was helping much : )
She also did a lot of running around and chatting, which could occasionally be difficult to deal with. But generally she did great and was very helpful.

At one point, everyone but Sarafina was asleep, and I was falling asleep in between contractions.That's never happened to me before. I woke from a silly dream about someone saying that the new gun ban had to be called the BerlinGunBan. Apparently I was in Germany, but I woke into a contraction, which was disorienting.

I finally asked Kristen, my midwife, if I was actually making progress, or if I should be doing anything more active. She said that if I felt like I wasn't, we could talk about things to move things along.

Apparently talking was what I needed to do. Contractions picked up and I stopped having a long break in between. I actually felt my water
break, with a distinct “pop.”

Kristen said that the intensity might
pick up now – I knew, I knew. . .

Around 5:00, I asked Sarafina to get
Eric. He got the cold washcloth that is his main labor responsibility.
Sarafina brought a bowl of cold water for him to use. Right about then,
I began to cry, then threw up a few times.

One part of me was rationally observing: Hmmmm, crying, vomiting, sounds like transition to me! The other part was, well, crying and vomiting. During the last part of birth, I really hang onto Eric, tugging and pulling on his arms
as I try to deal with it. He doesn't seem to mind. I also assume announcing that it hurts is somehow helpful, so I do it frequently.

Danue and Kristen were especially nice in telling me I was doing well,
that the baby was coming soon, and yes, it stunk and hurt a lot.

At about 5:50, Sarafina got Ellie because I was making pushing sounds.
At 6:15, she got Tor, and I was in full cry, really roaring through the

I dislike pushing intensely, but I realized this time that I dislike the moments immediately after even worse, when the baby's head pulls back over the ground gained. Apparently our Labrador, Mack, was upset by the noises I was making and kept coming over to investigate.

I was totally focused on what I was doing, although I did check the kids
occasionally to see if they were okay. Denise said that at one point,
the children were all in different positions, covering their ears when
I yelled, then popping up to see what was going on when I quieted.

The midwives had asked me if I wanted to catch my baby myself. After
this birth, I realized that the answer is clearly, "No." I want reassurance that I'm not tearing, and lots of support. She crowned after a few pushes, and the midwives gave me perfect encouragement/coaching on going ahead and having her head. I was only certain that I didn’t want it to pull back for another push.

After her head was out, I had to wait for another contraction to get her body
out. It hurt too, more than I remembered it doing with anyone except

There was some complicated cord unwrapping going on behind me, as
I was on all fours. It turned out that her cord was pretty tight twice around her neck, so they were unwinding her by spinning her. Kristen later said that she though the slow head descent might have been because of the cord, since she had thought it was slow for a fourth child.

I turned around and sat down against the side of the tub, and there she
was, handed to me. Fat cheeks, fat arms, really a lovely little chunk.


Anonymous said...

I've always wondered about the older siblings who were present during an at-home birth...How do they react? Does it scare them when Mom growls and howls? The birth process is not an act for the timid...how do younger children respond? Has your friend shared any of this info with you?

Not judging...just curious.

Anonymous said...

This is Stefani responding. I had actually worried about that, and had multiple adults lined up to help with the children. Since I'd never had a night birth before, we assumed the kids would be up and awake. My sister and mother were in attendance also, so while we didn't have lots of adults, we had a couple of "spares."

We'd watched a video of one of my previous births, a nice, loud one : ) We talked a lot about how loud I tended to be, although I assured them I'd try to be quiet, I couldn't promise.

As it was, we woke them in stages, so they got different doses, with the three year old being woken closest to the actual birth. In between contractions, I spoke to them, greeting them and telling them the baby would be here soon. Then I stopped paying attention to them.

My sister reported that they covered their ears during the loudest noises, then popped up to see what was happening when I quieted. We've not heard any negative feedback from them, and they seem delighted with their sister. They did say they weren't thrilled with the noise, but accepted it as part of what birth means to me. I do believe that the timing of the birth was fortuitious.

As always, your mileage may vary!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for responding...I'm sure you had nothing better to do! hee hee . One of my friends took her two older children to the hospital with her to be a part of the birth of a younger sibling and one of them "grossed" out and the other was like Johnny Bench in the thick of it. Congratulations on your baby and thank you for sharing your story!

Summer said...

What a nice birth story.....I got tears. I remember when my 17 month old was born..what a miracle and a joyful day. I can't wait for #2 to concieve....hehe!