My daughter Reya shares her birthday – September 17th – with another baby who was born just two hours earlier, also at home in Brooklyn, and with the same midwife.
While laboring in the wee hours of the morning, I reached a point where I thought it could be time to bring in my midwife Kristen and her assistant, Piper. My husband Jason sent our midwife a text only to receive one back that said she had another mom in labor who needed her first.
I spent 35 weeks getting to know my midwife, preparing for this day with her, and she delivered me the blow of all blows. (No pun intended).
I write about my reaction to the news in Reya’s birth story, and how it all played out with Kristen’s backup midwife Barri, and the fact that in the end, Kristen and Piper made my birth a half hour before Reya was born.
At some point during labor Barri said she received a text from Kristen that simply said, “baby out.” I asked Barri what the woman had and Barri said she didn’t know, all Kristen wrote was ‘baby out.’
Even though I was knee deep in labor, it struck me then how innocuous this all was for the midwives. They spoke in truncated code to one another via text. It didn’t matter what mom had, all that mattered was the baby was out and they were safe.
The news comforted me, but it would have comforted me more to know about this other woman, just a neighborhood away, that went through the same thing I was going through and made it out on the other side, with a baby.
Not long after, I gave birth too. Reya joined us earthside at 6:27 that morning.
Afterwards, I asked Kristen what the mom had. She also had a girl around 4:15am and had gone into labor two weeks early. I had gone into labor two days late.
But it wasn’t enough, I needed to know more.
I asked her name. Thea. A name we had considered as a possible girl’s name at one point. When Kirsten weighed Reya and exclaimed that I nearly had a 9 pound baby, she told me Thea was just 5 pounds!
Two weeks after Reya’s birth, I was invited to the home of another Brooklyn midwife to discuss my homebirth with other homebirth moms, doulas and midwives. An evening spent reflecting on and processing my birth experience.
A woman walked in wearing a Moby wrap with a newborn and the baby was oh-so-tiny. Despite the fact that I heard her tell someone her bundle was two weeks old, I knew the minute she walked in that this was the mom of the other baby born on September 17th.
I went up to her and asked, “Is that Thea?” She looked at me proudly and somewhat cautiously and replied ‘yes.’ I told her I was Kristen’s other mom who also had a baby on September 17th. And with that, her eyes welled up with tears.
Since then, Thea’s mom and I have discovered we have a great deal in common, and that there are other little things that connect us, too.
Our first children are both boys born just weeks apart in the summer of 2010.
When our babies were just a few months old, Marni accompanied a friend of hers to a class on essential oils at the home of a doula and midwife-in-training in New York City. It just so happened to be Dia’s home, my doula. They began talking and Marni told Dia her daughter was born in September at home with Kristen Leonard. It didn’t take long for them to put two and two together.
We’ve dubbed Thea and Reya “Birthday Buddies”. September 17th 2013. One day out of 365 that brought two women and two baby girls together, forever.