Every year, as New Years Eve grows close, I enjoy taking time to ponder the previous years events – especially the babies whose births I have been privileged to witness. Every baby that’s allowed me to be present as they opened their eyes in this world for the first time, taken their first breath, enjoyed their first taste of mother’s milk…..
The births that my presence has been as mere witness….and the births that I fought for life…
…and even the births where that fight was lost. Every single birth holds a place in my heart, and I would like to (again) take an opportunity to reflect and share what they meant to me.
For anonymity, I will reference the baby’s name ONLY – no birth dates or last names or parents names. If, however, you recognize your baby’s listing and would like your baby’s photograph to be included in this post, PLEASE just comments to this post directly saying that you’d like your baby’s picture added….and I would love to add your baby’s picture at that time!!
2013 births in review:
Anela – You started the year off right!! Watching your mother’s journey from unsure of herself…to excited….to this incredible strength that screamed, “I DID IT!” Such a peaceful birth despite your dad coming into the dark room with a miner’s light on his head that he turned on to see as your mom started pushing you out! (your mom made him shut it off immediately! We all laughed. Okay, your mom wasn’t laughing at the time…but I think later she saw the humor in it) Such a sweet little girl – hard to believe you’re about to turn a year old!
Montgomery – Another of my water babies, your mama made that look way too easy!! (for the record, let me tell you – it is NOT easy!) VERY soon after grandma left with your big sibling, you came swimming into your parents’ hands – surprise!! For such a gentle soul as your mother is, she sure is a powerful birthing mother!
Charlotte – Oh my sweet Charlotte….what a crazy ride that was! Me showing up at your home to UNEXPECTANTLY find your mother in labor (I will never forget asking, “are you in labor?” and your mother saying, “I don’t know, but I think so…”), your mother working so hard and long, going to the hospital, seeing you come out and immediately into your mother’s arms…not what she’s hoped or expected, but joyous and definitely worth it!
Kairos – For days your mother worked in early labor….yet never gave up. She wanted you to pick your birthday and your own time and she fought hard to give that to you – and she did. With your brother playing in the other room, you slipped out QUICKLY (at the end) and perfectly. The moment of your birth was positively perfect…..
Grey – You are meant to be a family of boys! You have some awesome footsteps to follow and a super wonderful mother and father as well. A perfect birth for a perfect family….and who knew you’d be as big as you were! Your mom was a rockstar, though….amazing!
Finley – Your mother, still suffering the effects of Bell’s Palsy that she suffered at the end of your pregnancy, smiled through the facial numbness – her eyes sparkling as she lifted you up out of the birthing pool and into her waiting arms. The room was filled with peace….at times it erupted into laughter…and still other times there was an intimacy she shared with your dad as they welcomed you into this world. Beautiful space for a beautiful birth…to start what I hope to be a beautiful life for you.
Avalynn – Your mother is a little southern spitfire, isn’t she!! A powerhouse packed into an itty bitty body, you swam into her arms surrounded by family and doulas and most of all love and joy! Her hair was braided into a crown around her head…very fitting for the birthing royalty that she is. Excited siblings bouncing around as your mother sat in the rocking chair moments after your birth to nurse you…..exactly how birth should be.
Brielle – My little miracle baby!! From breech to head-down at the last moment…only to have mother’s blood pressure sky high when she was in labor with you….one blessing from daddy (along with your uncle) and her blood pressure dropped down…down….down…until it was totally normal! And here you came, quickly for a first baby, in a rush while everything was still perfect, rushing to swim out of mommy’s body and into this incredible family! It was one of the most spiritual God-attended birth I’ve ever been lucky enough to bear witness to.
Carter – I may not have been there when you entered this world, but I will always consider you one of “my babies”. Born sooner than we hoped so it was in the hospital, yet still a waterbirth! WOW! You are the cutest little itty bitty sweetheart…who exploded into a great big squishy ball of cuteness!!!
Mason – I was there when your big sibling was born….and was so excited to be invited back again to be at your birth! It was a wonderful night to be born not long after the sun went down and the house was quiet. Peaceful, beautiful, triumphant…..really an extra joy to watch you enter our world.
Piper – Your mother worked SO HARD for your big siblings that she EARNED an easier birth with you!! Thank you, Piper…thank you for making it easier and gentler than your brother did. A waterbaby, your birth was remarkable only in it’s perfection and beauty….(and I came away not only with a wonderful memory, but with some yummy gifts from your parents’ garden as well!)
Sage – Every time I eat a belVita cracker, I smile and think about your birth. What a fun family you joined! I had so much fun swapping game meat with them, and knitting your hat while your mother labored…not all births are “fun”, but I thought yours sure was! I hope you have a “fun” life as well, sweet Sage!
Liam – For a first baby, I wasn’t sure you were going to wait for me to get there!! Born at your aunt’s house, that hypnobabies must have worked well! (or maybe it was the water she labored in) I barely made it there before she was pushing you out into the world and your daddy was catching you! You chose some of the COOLEST parents I have ever met….fun, totally ridiculously in love, so generous and tender…..the type of people that merely thinking about them makes me smile. You are one lucky baby! (I wonder if they even realize how much I adore them and how much I appreciate all they have given to me…)
Silas – I never would have guessed that you would be born EXACTLY the same way as your brother – in all of the good and NOT good ways! You, too, chose to be a waterbaby…and that was a fine choice! But to choose to put your hand up there, and to take so long to get your shoulders out (just like your brother)…now THAT we could have done without! Luckily it was just enough to get our attention and not enough to get you really mad at us – you were happy once you were born. Me, on the other hand…..wanted to spank you! (and I don’t hit babies)
McKay – I tear up before I have said anything about your birth. I get choked up thinking about it….about the past your mother had to overcome with faith in order to make the decisions she made, about the beauty and ease of your birth….but especially the moment of your birth as your mother reached down and lifted you off the ground, the moment she realized that you were born and in her arms and perfect….and the moment she called out through sobs, “I did it and he’s perfect!” I bawled like a baby….it was such a gift that I was allowed to be there for that moment. So many people live a lifetime and are never part of a moment like that….I am so lucky….
Emma-Jean – A happy dog bouncing around causing mischief, an excited big brother looking into the birthing pool, a vortex of sudden swirling wind whizzing past the window….there was too much power for the universe to contain in the moments that were your birthing time. When you were released from your mother’s body, the universe calmed, happy to welcome you earthside, finally at peace once more. You know when you are a part of something incredible that you can try and describe but you know that others won’t truly ‘get it’ because they weren’t there? That is little Emma-Jean’s birth….
Elyot – Walking – no, marching – stomping up and down the hall as if each step brought you closer to birth….your mother stomped…marched…up and down the hall…up and down….until she finally dropped to her knees in the space you were to be born. Slowly you emerged, all 10 pounds 12 ounces of you! Such a tiny mother producing such a sweet (and adorably chubby) baby! Such an intimate birth, just the couple of us in the space….it was exactly what you and your mother needed.
Henry – or should I call you Yrneh? After all, you are the one that likes to do things BACKWARDS!! (although finding out you were a little boy before anyone else in the room as your boy bits were born with your booty before anything else was kinda cool) Your mother is powerful and did everything right in order to have you born in a healthy and spiritual way guided by God. But if you have any future siblings, if you could please tell them to wait until I get to your mother’s house to be born, and if they could choose to come head-first….I’d really appreciate it!
Gracin – Third time I’ve been invited by your parents to be there during their birthing time….I was at both of your big sisters’ births as well! A gentle waterbirth welcoming you the same way she welcomed your sisters…my only contribution was some chocolate chip cookies!!! Your mother and father did everything else! Your family will always be very very special to me….thank you for welcoming me into your home three times over for all of your girls and for keeping in touch with me. (and if you ever want more biscuits and gravy, just say so!)
Brynlee – Your big sister’s birth was the FASTEST first baby I’d ever attended, so I was ready for your birth to be speedy! That’s why I RACED out of the movie theater when I got your mother’s text that she was in labor with you! I jogged across the parking lot, drove like crazy to your house…..and got there just in time to set my things up and welcome you to our world the same way we welcomed your sister not all that long ago. There’s so much more I’d like to say about your mother and how much she means to me….but I’m just going to say that she means more to me than she realizes…
Seth – Another one where ‘three times a charm’….third time I’ve seen your mother give birth, second waterbirth…but this time she was SURROUNDED by her women, keeping her space, supporting her, witnessing her awesomeness….welcoming you with awe and wonderment. Your big brothers went CRAZY over you, always wanting to hold and love you (sometimes too much!). I remember them sitting on the floor eating their cookies right after you were born….but that was just to give mom some space to feed him his milk (they got the cookies, you got the milk). It was a long journey….but so worth it!
Oakley – For her first birth, your mother rolled with the experience….in and out of the birthing pool…using her doula for strength….finally choosing the floor next to her bed to complete her transformation from woman to full mother (although mothering your big siblings since their biological mother could no longer do it). I was blown away by her strength…and truth be told, I got the impression she was pretty blown away as well.
Rome – After being at your sister’s birth…I was so excited to be there for yours! A rough pregnancy….and easy birth. From folding clothes in the bedroom, to hopping into the tub and giving birth an hour later….WILD! And then to see that you (crazy kid) swam around and gave your umbilical cord a true knot! Your mama had such a challenging time overcoming the icky parts of the pregnancy, that I’m so glad your birth was so joyous and made all of those challenges worth overcoming! It was such an honor to be in that space when you swam into our world and I will always hold special in my heart the memories of your first moments earthside.
Hunter – I know you were born 10 pounds 12 ounces, but did you have to make it so rough on your mama? (she did it, though!) Not so much the birth, but the breastfeed….challenge after challenge. Did you know that I’ve been there for EVERY ONE of your mother’s birth?? Awesome, right? I thought so! I met her and she and your father were expecting their first…and now look at them, parenting THREE children! I am so lucky to have witnessed their entire journey…so lucky.
Jace – A birthing space that was so blessed and set up with love by your daddy, a movie playing in the background nobody was watching, your mother working so hard in and out of the pool, her family gathering around her with love and support and she transformed herself…..she entered that space a woman and left a mother. Daddy caught you with complete awe and amazement….you have such a good role model for how to be a good man and fantastic father when you grow up.
Sarah – Another to join the 10+ pounder club…and another to join the ‘third timers’ club as well! Smooth as silk, blessed by God, and another of my waterbabies….your pregnancy was the longest I’ve ever had to wait for a baby to join us in this world. But join us you did…and it was so worth the wait!
Seth – Perfect pregnancy, but we were unsure for quite a while as to whether your daddy would be able to attend your birth as he got a job that required that they move! But they prayed, they believe, and YOU DID IT! You came exactly when Daddy was in town and could be there! Such a BEAUTIFUL birth! (although no amount of prayer was going to make that birthing pool that kept deflating last much longer…so I’m super glad you came when you did or I’m not sure you would have been a waterbaby!) I love your family and was so incredibly heartbroken to see you guys move away so soon after the birth….but it was what was best for you. I hope some day you come back for a visit.
Kate – Most would probably expect me to focus on the fact that you were born still – that we never heard your cry, and all that was lost to us that day. Instead, I’d like to say thank you…thank you for all that you did give me. You let me feel your kick under my fingertips. You let me talk to you and watch your grow inside your mother’s belly. You even waited to come out until I was there and were born into my hands. You let me cradle you in my arms and kiss your head. You let me touch your sweet toes. You had to leave us, and I wish things were different – but thank you for sharing your too-short life with me. I know I am one of the very few people in the world you gave those gifts to, and I am humbled and honored. Thank you, Kate…..thank you.
Tanner – Another of my waterbabies, I thoroughly enjoyed your birth!! So simple and beautiful, in the middle of the night so your siblings could sleep….it was quite peaceful! Not the first time I’ve seen your mother give birth, but I think that the fact that this wasn’t her first homebirth made this time more peaceful with less anxieties. She knew what this whole thing was about and she did it with style and grace.
Reese – Another of my 10+ pounder club! I only wish you’d been faster for your poor mama who worked all day and into the night for you!! I think your daddy was pretty blown away by your mothers tenacity and strength! (and everyone was amazed at her patience in waiting for you to choose your birth day!) A beautiful woman, inside and out…and also a bit of a prankster in her! (did your dad really believe I was going to put HIS footprints on my chart next to yours? REALLY? But that was your mother’s idea to tell him that…)
Charlotte – Princess Bride on the television…..a warm August day, too warm to have the air conditioning not working! Your mother smiled through labor, let out two roars, and you were in her arms! WOW! Crazy fast! A waterbaby you swam into mom and dad’s hands like you were in a hurry (even though a week and a half past when your mother expected you’d be born). I loved being there for your birth….I truly did!
Brett – Oh you stubborn stubborn boy…not only did you decide to wait for all of your 5 sisters to be born first – you then decided to get crooked inside and make labor last extra long for your mother! And who would have thought that you’d be born ON your due date! (Okay, that fact is kinda cool) A waterbaby caught by your parents, your dad couldn’t WAIT to finally announce the arrival of his BOY!! And anyone who is worried that you will be surrounded by too much pink and lace having 5 big sisters – they don’t know what kind of family you joined!! All the macho boy things are going to be tossed your way, I think, for the rest of your life!
JoyAnn – We knew you grew a funky placenta….and we hoped it wouldn’t cause a problem, but it sure did. Beautiful waterbirth….if only it weren’t for that funky placenta it would have been perfect! But rushing your mother to the hospital and all that she endured after your birth was something I wish she had never had to experience. You are worth it, of course….but I wish that they didn’t have to go through all of that.
Felipe – Slipping out of your mother into the water and swimming into her arms was a beautiful moment that early morning! You got our attention when you took your time to start breathing for us, but you did wake up with a little help and join your birthday party and the rest of the day was perfect for you and your entire family.
Ivy – The opposite of everything your brother’s birth was! Yours was fast, peaceful, butter-birth, waterbirth….but your mother EARNED that after what your stinker brother put her through! I couldn’t wait for your birth, looking forward to the redemption I knew you’d offer your mother in that not only could she have a vaginal birth…not only could she have a homebirth….but she could do it quickly and in the water as she’d always dreamed. YOU, Ivy, are her dream come true.
Torynn – WHOOSH! I think that’s the sound of you being born…so fast that your mother couldn’t make it off the toilet. WHOOSH you slipped out so quickly! From chatting to holding you in her arms, your mother was shocked! Such a sweet birth (and I have to say that yours was the BEST home visit with the BEST food served from the BEST chef….I don’t know that it can be topped!)
Jason – my Jason….MY sweet Jason….it’s special to watch a baby enter the world, extra special to see a family member enter! Not nearly as petite as your sister, you still had to do SOMETHING special to get our attention! I was honored to be there….I’ve spoken with your parents enough that I hope you know (and they know) how much I love you (and them) and how grateful I was to be there…
Louise – Waterbaby….mom-and-dad caught….surrounded by family….encased in love and faith….A beautiful girl joins an incredible family. The photographs from your birth are STUNNING! I love all that your family is and all that they do….thank you for sharing your birth day with me – and thank you to your mother for sharing those incredibly moving and inspirational pictures of your birth!!! I LOVE being around your home, it is filled with warmth and joy!
Eviana – Okay…you win the “stinker of the year” award. You are the baby that has scared me the most. I love your mama and have been there for ALL of her baby’s birth…but good grief, you gave me such a fright! I’m glad that I was there…and that I can hold the special place in your life to have been the one to help you through those challenges – grateful for the outcome and to see you grow into the beautiful young lady I know you will become.
Thena – Not the waterbirth that she envisioned…but I don’t know that your mother knew you were as close to being born as you were when she got up to go to the bathroom! It was a year of changes for your family, and I’m glad that you presented them with a smooth and simple birth. Watching your big brother meet you and love on you was so awesome – being present for his birth and then watching him meet you! I’m glad that my relationship with your mother extends beyond her birthing journeys….
Zachary – She did it! She got her homebirth….she got her waterbirth…she got absolutely everything she wanted!!! Rockstar birthing Goddess is who your mother is! It was a fun day – I loved the cheeseballs and crackers (made it feel like the PARTY that it was!), I loved watching your sister meet you….but I think what I loved most is everyone tucked into their own bed together just relaxing after the birth as if this was a normal day. Because it was. A normal every day miracle had just happened!
Isaac – Sweet little Ike who would push your mother to the limits! While everything went without a hitch, I think your birth really challenged your mother emotionally. Another of my “third time’s a charm” babies….I wished that I could make it easier on your mother (she makes it LOOK easy…although inside I know she struggles), and I’m so glad that you joined a family that knows how to look after you in your special way to keep your health – your sister taught them how. Live a long and blessed life, you lucky boy!
Rylee – I wasn’t sure if you were going to be a water baby or not, since you ALMOST came while your mother was out of the pool…but she hopped in just in time to push you earthside! I loved feeling your mother’s energy as she rolled through her labor, following her lead as she instinctively moved, doing everything right to birth you in your way….then watching your brother’s excitement made me giggle. Thank you for letting me be there!
Rebekah – chatting, joking, having fun….pushing out an 11 lb 7 oz baby like she does it every single day of her life! Born well before your due date, everyone was amazed not only at how many chunky rolls you had, but how totally COATED in vernix (baby lotion) you were at birth! Enough we had to take a washcloth and gently wipe a clean spot on your face to make sure your color was good and you were doing well! Your lotion coated everything – your mother, your father, floating in the pool….it was awesome!! Loving your mother at every step of her journey through pregnancy and her birth was an honor I will forever be appreciative for….
Kaden – Waterbaby just like your sister….born under God’s watch and protection…..your birth was the lesson for your mother to trust, have faith in God and His will for our lives, and that we aren’t always in control. Joining two girls, your daddy couldn’t be prouder of having his first BOY in the family! Your family will always hold a very special spot in my heart and will always inspire me in spiritual ways…
Olive – I didn’t have long to get to know your parents since they came to me so late in the pregnancy, but it was really a blessing to watch her (quickly!) have her first homebirth – and a waterbirth! You were born at your grandmother’s house surrounded by love, caught by your daddy while grandmother supported your mother. It was a really beautiful night to be born..
Elijah – Your big sister scared your parents and me so badly that we prayed you’d be easier. Weeks of worry, prayer, strength, faith, more prayers….finally, on the next to the last day of the year, you decided to leave the snug world you’ve been living inside your mother. Your petite mother is a powerhouse packed inside a small package! With Christmas lights glowing in the family room, your mother surrendered to the experience and was rewarded with you swimming into the world! A waterbaby just like your big sister, your mother lifted you out of the water and you let out the most beautiful little cry that made the entire room erupt in joy and tears! Your sisters were so sweet as they were watching you being born – none of us guessed that you would end up being almost 10 1/2 pounds!! Now THAT is the way to end a year!!!! Happy birthday darling boy….
Adam – MY CABOOSE! My New Years Eve baby! Both of your dads waited so long for you to arrive, and when you did it was amazing! There’s a reason there will always be fireworks on your birthday! Papa caught you while Daddy watched, stunned, as you were lifted out of the water. Your surrogate mother gave you not only the gift of life, but the gift of a beautiful, gentle birth along with the gift of her own milk. You are a very loved and very hoped for baby – go and do great things in your life! Be the firecracker I know you are, little one!! (although not-so-little when it comes to newborns! Yes…another in my 10-pounder club!!)
And please know that I haven’t forgotten the 11 babies were gone before they started. Miscarriage is such a difficult thing, but something that is easily overlooked. They are not overlooked by me, nor will they ever be forgotten.