PAXmommy Jillian’s Baby #7 is here safely!  Thank you for your patience as we spent the first 24 hours with our newest blessing in privacy. We’re so happy to share her with you now!

Our Cate was born on October 28 at 7:50 am after a wonderful 4 hour birth!!!!  Her  birth was an amazing home birth in the water with her two big sisters watching.  At 8 days early, Cate is a sweet 7 pounds 10 ounces, 20 inches long, and already an avid breastfeeding fan!  Thank you for all your love these past couple weeks; your support helped me have the birth I’ve always wanted!  <3

Keep scrolling to read her full birth story!

Welcome, Baby Cate!!!

She’s a water baby!

7 pounds 10 ounces and 20 3/4 inches long!

Congrats to our #babycate game winner, Sarah B in Hawaii, who guessed the closest arrival date, time and birth stats!  You will be emailed to confirm your details!!!  Thank you to Calico Sunshine for providing our rainbow prize!!!!

Read Cate’s full birth story below & see more photos at sons & daughters photography!!!

Cate’s birth was planned to be my 6th natural birth, 5th at home, and 4th water birth (the remaining birth being that of our adopted daughter who was also born in our home)!  My mantra this pregnancy has been to have a “different” experience than my last 3 births which, although home water births, were all very similar and intense.  For this little girl’s birth, I was hoping & praying for more peace & power. And I got what I wished for!!!!!!

Thanks to 13 days of prodromal labor, when my body finally shifted into “active labor,” I was impressively efficient moving from a 2cm dilation at 4:00 am when my husband checked me to fully open and pushing by 7:40 am!  Zooming through dilation wasn’t painful this time, but just a task set in front of me.  I could feel my body responding to each contraction which on average didn’t last more than 55 seconds and spaced no closer than 5 minutes apart.  This gave me time to rest up, stay hydrated, and prepare for the next contraction with purpose.  I was very excited to have my water break on the way back into the tub from a bathroom break; this was the first time I’d ever had this experience out of the water! So different!

Once our midwives arrived at around 5, I felt so much comfort and support from their presence and was reminded of the awesome service that they provide to enable mothers to labor & birth at home!  What a blessing to be in my own room, with my own choice of things & people, without the imposition of unwanted interruptions or unwelcome intrusions.  My beautiful children sleeping in the other room served as a constant reminder of my ability to “do this!”

My 2 daughters had expressed interest a few months ago in being present at their little sister’s birth, so once the midwives were settled, my husband called my dad to come stay downstairs with the other children as they woke up for the day, and my girls came to join me.  They sat together in a chair next to the birth tub where I was laboring, reading their books, and every so often came over to hold my hand, or stroke my hair.  Their loving witness made me feel even stronger that this birth was going to be awesome if only to give them the ability to view birth as a wonderful & natural event instead of an emergency that can’t be controlled.

At around 7:40 after being in active labor for almost 4 hours, I suddenly had back to back contractions which were each a minute and a half.  I exclaimed loud enough for everyone in the room to hear, “I need a BREAK!” which, as every birthing mother knows, is the sign that transition has come & the next stage of labor is imminent.  Sure enough, with my next contraction, I was able to push Cate’s head out.  Her sisters were watching as she rotated her head just like she was supposed to and wiggled her body – still inside of me!  I asked my husband if he was pushing on me, but when he replied in the negative, we both realized that it was Cate “helping me!”  After a long 5 minute break, another contraction gave me the strength to push out her body into the water.  Each of my babies have had either their cord wrapped around their neck or meconium in their water, or both!  So following tradition, Cate’s cord was around her neck as well as “rucked” around her shoulders and arms.  My husband and midwife worked calmly & efficiently to get her untangled while I waited for another contraction to birth my placenta. Then it was time to really take a look at Cate!!!

My first observation of my sweet baby was how tiny she seemed; Baby #6 was born so large though that anything smaller than his huge 9 1/2 pounds would have seemed small!!!  Even my midwives were surprised by how petite she was in comparison, but at 8 days early, she didn’t have any signs of being “early” at all.  We rubbed what vernix there was into her dry skin later to help her peeling elbows and knees.  Moving into my bathtub with Cate for an herb bath was a great idea, and we all sat in our bathroom chatting for another hour, drinking coffee and a green citrus smoothie for me with the added benefit of a piece of raw placenta to boost my healing and help balance my post partum emotions. Cate breastfed for the first time in the bath after latching onto her daddy, oops, with a great latch and a big appetite! It was only after this break that my midwives ( measured & weighed our new baby while the older kids observed and exclaimed over her adorable features!  It was so sweet to see the older boys’ immediate look of love when they met her, and to hear them oohing & aahing over her!  We made sure to give lots of attention to Declan who, at 2 1/2, is doing much better with his transition to being a “big boy” than we had even hoped!!!  Having had no tearing at all, I was able to sit comfortably right away and participate happily in the rest of the day which included a nap, a shower, and a visit from one of the PAXmommies who so sweetly took my kids to the park for an outing.  My midwife,Theresa, brought us dinner and took my placenta away to dry & encapsulate it which is usually my husband’s job!! We decided this time that with 6 other littles to look after, he simply didn’t have the time!  I’m looking forward to taking my daily placenta pill again –!!!

Our birth photographer is a long time friend of mine who last week moved locally to Southern California – lucky me!!! She timed both her move and her arrival to the birth perfectly with an hour to document my labor & then Cate’s birth!  AlisaMarie from Sons & Daughters Photography caught so many amazing moments on camera that it’s been hard for me to choose which picture to show you first!  She will be sharing more photos as she edits them here!

Thanks for your love, and for being part of Cate’s life, even if only by reading the story of her birth.  Your participation helps the normalization of home births, shows the power of midwifery, and enables the belief that women’s bodies are designed to birth and sustain our babies naturally.  peace, jillian

*happy babywearing*

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