Welcome to our world, Arlo

by Janelle Hanchett

If there is one cosmic message I seem to receive more than any other, it’s this one: “You are not in charge of this rodeo, Janelle.”

(So sit back, asshole, and enjoy the ride.)

I wanted to have a May baby. I really, really wanted a May baby. My husband was off work for the better part of 3 weeks in May. On June 7 was a family reunion that occurs once every 15 years. I wanted to go, and I wanted to take a week-old baby. My due date was June 3. I had a vision. I always have a vision. WHY WON’T THE UNIVERSE GET IN LINE WITH MY FUCKING VISION?

Of course, strategically-timed-baby-delivery is a bit harder when you’re planning a homebirth. Midwives offer visualization techniques and Amish birthing herbs. They do not offer Pitocin.

But I did try castor oil. At around 39 weeks, I gave it a shot. They said I could. It didn’t work.

It worked with Georgia, but I was a few days past my due date when I tried it with her. All it did with this one was make me sick (I’ll save you the details) and sap my strength. Also my soul, but I digress.

After the failed induction attempt I surrendered. Fuck it. The baby will come when it comes and I’ll either make it to the reunion or I won’t. Profound, I know.

Three weeks passed. Actually it was a couple days, but we all know how long those days feel. I was enjoying false labor ALL.NIGHT.LONG, or at least every night until 2 or 3am. You know, contractions that hurt enough to keep you awake, come regularly, get your hopes up, but don’t actually evolve into anything? Yeah, those. I love those. Those are fun.

Around June 1 the baby dropped so low into my pelvis I peed teaspoons every 30-minutes and enjoyed near-constant cramping and pressure and an existential misery that took my breath away. Okay, drama. But for real sometimes I would sit on the toilet and almost cry. Everytime I peed I’d think “was there blood on the paper? Anything? ANY FUCKING SIGN?”

I was sure my water was going to bust at any moment.

So much pressure.

But it didn’t.

At my 40 week appointment on June 3 I pretty much hated all humans. I couldn’t sit very long. I couldn’t stand for long. I couldn’t lie down (my bladder was all “UM you need to pee, bitch.”)

Precious, precious end of pregnancy.

On the evening of June 3 contractions began again around 9pm, and I figured it was more false labor. I had resigned myself to forever pregnancy at this point. But these continued through the night and into the next day. They came every 15 or 20 minutes but were mellow. I took Georgie to the dentist, picked up a prescription, got haircuts for Georgie and Ava. I wanted to believe it was the real thing but I had been misguided so many damn times I just assumed it wasn’t real.

But they kept up.

By 7 or 8pm they were 10 or 15 minutes apart and still manageable. I would stop and breathe through them, but they weren’t long and I was clear-minded. I ate dinner. I made cupcakes so we could sing him or her “Happy birthday.” I knew my baby was coming, but clearly it was early labor. Early labor can go on for hours. I’m no schmuck. This isn’t my first rodeo.

(oh yeah, just when you think you “know…” that’s right. you get served.)

At 7:30pm or so my mother-in-law picked up the three older kids. The plan was that they would keep the kids while I labored at home and bring them back when it looked like I was getting near the pushing stage, so they could be here for the birth.

I texted my dear friend Sarah, who was going to photograph the birth, told her I’d call her when it got closer. Did the same with my mom.

The contractions kept on, 8 or 10 minutes apart, 30 or 45 seconds long, and they just sort of stayed that way. I had to stand up and moan and lean against the wall during them, but they just weren’t really evolving. I called the midwife at 10pm and told her they were 10 minutes apart and I’d call her when they ramped up. I told her I was restless and anxious. She said take some skullcap, go for a walk and take a bath.

Mac and I took a walk around the neighborhood. It was hot. When a contraction came I would hang from his neck and lean on him and bury my face in his chest. I couldn’t believe the strength I found against his body. During my last 2 births I was kind of a lone birthing wolf (or whatever). I didn’t want to be near anybody or touched. This time was different. This time I felt dependent, overwhelmed. I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want the work, the pain. I was just so tired.

This pregnancy was really, really hard. I’m pretty tough, but this shit damn near killed me. Three kids, teaching 3 classes, writing, moving, all of it. The last two months were the hardest months of my life, at least since I’ve gotten sober. I was so uncomfortable, so tired, and yet life just kept on. Kept on. And kept the fuck on. So much work. I had nothing left for this birth.

It seemed incomprehensible that I would face 7 or 8 or 9 hours of MORE WORK at the end, but there was no choice. The only way through childbirth is through childbirth.

Like life, I guess.

We got home from the walk. Still 8 or 10 minutes apart. I got in the bath.

They seemed to stop for a bit. It was probably 10:45pm at this point.

I thought “OH HOLY SHIT they’re going away.” But then, after what seemed like a long time, a contraction came that felt a little different. I felt a little panicky, scared, freaked out. I got out of the bath and thought “Well shit, that felt a little like a transition contraction.”

But it couldn’t be. The contractions aren’t hard enough, fast enough, I’m nowhere near that point!

I hadn’t labored actively at all, or I didn’t think I had. I was confused. I was in labor but I wasn’t. In my past births, there was a time when the contractions came hard and fast and long, my whole belly like a raging machine – 60 second pains, 90 seconds. It was all consuming, insane. I left this world for a weird “labor land.” All lucid thought ended.

These never went past 45 seconds. I never entered that place.

I remember standing out of the bath and thinking I just can’t do this. Mac held me and I cried. “I can’t do it, Mac. I just can’t do this work. The pain, all of it. I can’t face it.”

I had another contraction. He pressed on my lower back and it helped.

Out of the tub, I leaned against a dresser and had 2 or 3 contractions 2 minutes apart. What the hell’s happening? Why are they coming so quickly? They were just 10 minutes apart?!

He called the midwife and we told Sarah and my mom to come.

I had 5 or 6 contractions 2-minutes apart, maybe 30 seconds long. I knew I was entering active labor, and I just dreaded the hours to come. I knew I had A LOT OF WORK ahead of me.
I asked Mac if the tub was full yet. I asked him if he remembered to put the sea salt in, and I even helped him find it. Always the multi-tasker. Or, control freak. Probably both.

As I was walking across the living room to the birthing tub, I stopped and leaned against the high chair (yes, it was in the living room. Don’t ask.) to have another contraction. The pressure built and my water broke. Everywhere. Like a flood.

With the rush of waters I felt my baby’s head slam down, way down. Like coming out down.

He was coming.

“The baby’s coming NOW!” I was shocked.

So calm, he said “Get down to the ground. Get down to the ground.”

He ran across the room and grabbed some towels, threw them beneath me. I squatted, the head was crowning. I squatted more and the head was out.

“Get it out!” I yelled.

“You have to push the baby out with the next contraction,” Mac said.

“Are you holding the head?”

“Yes, I’m right here.”

I bore down a tiny bit, and out slipped a baby. I ripped my shirt off to hold him and tried to turn, but felt the umbilical cord. Duh. Mac passed him between my legs and I pulled him to me, kissed his gorgeous self, laughed, looked between his legs “It’s a boy!” (Though I already knew that, the whole pregnancy).100

“Is he okay?” my voice shook.

“Well, he’s crying,” Mac answered. We laughed.

Mac grabbed blankets. They were already warm. He had them prepared already. My heart explodes for him.

We sat together and laughed again, gazed at this little creature, talked to him, loved him, suddenly the three of us in a quiet, darkened room.

I couldn’t believe it was real. Here he was. After virtually no labor, he came. After no time at all, he was in my arms. Peacefully, gently, quickly.

Maybe he knew I didn’t have the strength. Maybe the universe knew I needed this, like this.

A birth so fast I barely knew I was birthing. A perfect baby fallen into the arms of his father. We named him Arlo Theodore Valentine.

064Since he’s our last, we just gave him all the boy names we’ve ever loved.

The midwives showed up about 10 minutes after he was born. Sarah and my mom about 30 minutes later. At one point I saw Mac literally jumping up and down. Adrenalin, I guess. He was born around 11:15pm, an hour after I called the midwife for the first time, telling her I’d call when real labor started happening. Ha.

We sat and talked and laughed and I smelled him and loved him. I thought for sure he was a regular-sized 8-pounder (since he came out so fast), but he was 9 pounds, 8 ounces. I had not a tear. The power of movement in birth. The power of the woman’s body.

The next morning, the other 3 kids came and I thought if somebody tried to tell me 6 years ago that this would become my life, that it would ever get this good, I would have laughed in their face.

In a birth like this, everybody’s born again. The heart bursts open, raw, exposed. People fall in love all over again. The man who sat beside me 13 years ago when we were 19 and 22 years old, as I birthed our first baby and we breathed together, to last week, as he caught our 4th baby, second son, the remaining portion of our hearts.




And then, newborn breath.


And hey! Three more days to help fund The Before Project. Seattle-based filmmaker Terence Brown is making a documentary about tweens, “exploring those raw early days of growing up.” As a mother of a 12-year-old, I am both in love and terrified by this strange, liminal tween place. Talk about gray area. There are moments when they seem so grown up. Other moments not totally unlike my toddler.

Please click here to help fund this project. Though Terence has reached his initial goal, he is using thousands of his own dollars toBefore project ad fund the making of the film, so every additional dollar will make a profound difference. Also, there’s only 3 days left, and every backer (even at the $1.00 level) gets access to the finished documentary.  

In Terence’s words: “Last year I thought it might be interesting to film some very short interviews with a class of 4th graders just to see what they would say. Here’s what they said: 4th Grade. Now that this group of 60+ kids is heading to middle school, I’m planning to film more extensive interviews with each 5th grader this June.  I’m going to spend roughly 30 minutes with each student, asking them a wide range of questions.

The final project will be a documentary short called ‘Before.’  My goal is to explore and even celebrate this awkward and thankfully fleeting phase of life. The final video will live on a site we are creating called thebeforeproject.org. Our plan is to create an interactive site where people from around the world can contribute content and stories about the tween years.”

  • Sara

    Absolutely beautiful. I have tears pouring down my face. What an intimate experience for you two. I am due in 6.5 weeks (yes I am counting half weeks now…) with bb number 2. My new mantra will be the only way to get through childbirth is childbirth (along with my old one. I AM WOMAN.) Give little Arlo a kiss from me.

  • Susan

    WOW what an amazing, wonderful birth story. It’s so nice to have our babies at home. Enjoy those snuggles! Congratulations to you all.

  • Dani

    Birth stories don’t do much for me, in fact I find them pretty samey – either screaming and gore, or hippy dippy breathing the baby out on a wave of golden light. But this one made me cry. Well done all of you, you deserve this. Enjoy him.

  • Alison

    Janelle, CONGRATULATIONS! What a wonderful, sweet, heart-warming and yes, tearjerking birth story. It’s just perfect, like Arlo. You guys are beautiful!

  • Sanda

    So excited for your whole family! Been waiting to hear since I started reading your blog 2 weeks ago! Did you go to the reunion? Enjoy this precious time!!!

  • Cath

    Wonderful wonderful, well done!

  • Sheila

    Congratulations, Janelle and family, and welcome, Arlo!!
    Thank you so much for sharing your birth story. I needed some lightness and ease and magic and I got to experience some of it through you and your gorgeous family. Well done, Janelle – you fucking showed up and showed up and showed up even when it was fucking hard and stupid and impossible, and thus, fucking rocked it. The world’s a better place for your honesty and sharing, as sanity is saved everywhere because apparently the moms of the world (and the dads, too) are not alone, after all. So much love to you and your family.

  • Kara

    Holy fucking squishy awesomeness! You make me proud to be a woman! All my best to you SIX!!!

  • emily s

    so beautiful!! thank you for sharing. congrats! i adore the name arlo….:D

  • Jane

    What a glorious story of Arlo’s birth. No two are ever the same. And the miracle of it all will never cease to amaze! Congrats & blessings to all.

  • Danielle (Imperfect mom of 3)

    Beautifully written:) Congratulations:)

  • Erika

    You always amaze me with your strength. You don’t always see it in yourself, but it is there. Your acceptance of the situation, and ability to relinquish control are signs of your spiritual fortitude and the love you have in your family. You inspire me and always give me hope for the present and future. Thank you!

  • Nicole

    I am sobbing.

    I birthed my little boy 4 months ago and you brought it all back. He was our last too, but damn if you didn’t make me want to do it all over again – even the horrors of the end of pregnancy.

    Congratulations to you all. xo

  • J o s e y

    Oh wow, I had an amazing home birth experience last January (and same as you, he was a big baby [9#5oz] and I thought he was much smaller), but THIS, this is what I would hope and dream for if we ever had a 3rd child. What an amazing, powerful, (QUICK!) intimate experience. This entire story made me laugh and cry and just feel SO DAMN GOOD for you and your family. Birth is such a phenomenal experience, and Arlo’s birth story is nothing short of fantastic. Welcome to the world, little Arlo. You are so loved. <3

  • Maria

    Congratulations! My third was born while my husband was getting our daughter from school. I was mentally calculating how many hours I had left based on my last birth & thought I had a long way to go. Ha ha. 🙂

  • Phillipa

    What an amazing story….thank you so much for sharing!

  • Rai Bak

    Amazing! CONGRATULATIONS and welcome Arlo! I had a VERY similar homebirth last Novemeber: my daughter also shot out of me – literally – catipulting into my husbands arms unexpectedly, with our midwife walking in 5 min later. Alas, the beauty of homebirths and letting life do what it does!! Arlo has a catipulting buddy named Anna 🙂 Best wishes to baby, you and your family!

  • Lisa

    What an amazing birth and a great name for such a beautiful little guy. I love your honesty. I am so glad you had someone come in a document your first hours together. She captured some pretty incredible moments. Congratulations:)

  • Jenn

    Please don’t do this. You’re making me want to go for #3 when I thought I was done. What a beautiful, peaceful, perfect way to enter the world. So happy for you and your family. Happy Birthday, sweet Arlo!

  • Jessica

    I made it through all the words dry-eyed and then the photos…I lost it. Knot in my throat, tears on my face. Beauty. Pure and unfiltered. The power that a photo has…to capture a moment so intensely that it MAKE YOU CRY with joy for a stranger.

    So beautiful, Janelle!

  • Desiree

    What a fantastic story and congratulations to you for doing the work to bring your baby Earthside! You’re such a great storyteller and I have no doubt that you got this birth because you NEEDED this birth. It’s awesome how it works out that way.

    Welcome, baby Arlo!

  • BeautifulMess

    Sending you and your family love and well wishes! Congratulations to an amazing mama and welcome to the world Arlo! You are one blessed little dude

  • Amber

    yup…made me cry. Beautiful.

  • Jackie a la Calgary

    Also due in 6 weeks w bb 2 but had horrid section and I’m really scared. Loved this story, thanks. Mac is just….unreal, a fantasy man I’ll pretend is just a tv character. Lots of love janelle.

  • Briana

    Oh my goodness. That was too much to read. I am just so moved. I’ve never even left a comment on a blog before, but damn. Welcome to the world Arlo.

  • Denise

    God, I love birth stories. There’s nothing quite as raw, miraculous or profound. Thank you for taking the time, allowing us to be a part of this birth. And thank you for sharing your incredible gift for story/truth telling.

  • Bonnie

    Thank you for being honest & funny & saying the things I think but don’t have the balls to say. Many blessings for you and your tribe! XO

  • Lisa

    Congratulations! He’s adorable 🙂

  • Jendra

    Congrats! I’m so happy for you that were able to end your last pregnancy so awesomely. You deserve it. He’s beautiful.

  • Ramsey Andre

    Congratulations! I loved your story and it sounds like such an AMAZING experience. He is absolutely breathtaking 🙂

  • Janine Kloss

    Loved your story! Thank you for sharing and congrats to you all <3 A healing birth is a beautiful thing 🙂 And thank goodness for catch classes!!

  • Momtpthree

    Hi J and Mac, and Congratulations. I last wrote you June 4, thinking of you all day on June 3 (which was your due date, right?). I knew something was going on, cause you were on my mind all day. So welcome to Arlo, and kudos to Mac for having been just perfect. Strong and capable, not panicking or freaking out. He and his son already have a special bond, it shows. I’m so glad you didn’t have to empty your soul on an 8 hour labour, that this baby just slipped out of your body and into your arms. How amazing. Well done, honey. Give yourself some time.
    Beautiful photos, Sarah is a keeper btw. And your midwives look so kind and zen.
    It is the home birth I dreamed of having.

  • Laurie McFarland

    Beautiful story. Enjoy your sweet little one. My fourth (and final) pregnancy was terrible too, but oh those babies are worth it!

  • Jessie

    Congratulations! Knew you were having boy too. Well done Arlo for giving you the birth you needed. I think no 4s are pretty good at that. (My 4th is 10 months today). Love & Congrats.

  • Mathilda

    Well done you!!! Both on making me tear up (hate birth stories and never cry..) and producing another beautiful baby!!!! 🙂 I hope things feels lighter now!!

  • Jess

    Beautiful… you and your family are an inspiration in what life can be. Thank you for sharing it with us, as it provides a much needed respite from the onslaught of parenting ‘advice’ out there. I only have one, but you make four seem like the definition of joy:) Congratulations to you all!

  • Stacey

    Just beautiful! Amazing! This was like I was reading my own birth story of my 4th labour!!

  • Jodi

    Congratulations! Those battles that are the hardest fought, have the sweetest endings. Enjoy your time with your family and congrats to the big brother and sisters too

  • LisaC

    That was beautiful. Congratulations to you all…he’s gorgeous.

    My #4 was 9.5 and she felt no bigger than any of the 8lb’ers 🙂

  • SummerLily

    Ohmygosh!!! What an absolutely beautiful birth story. I’m almost in tears! Congratulations, he’s beautiful!

  • Marnie Plunkett

    This was sooo touching. Wow! I wish we were neighbors. I’d love to make breakfast for your family…as long as I got to hold Arlo while you ate. 🙂

  • Michelle

    Beautiful. This made my heart sing.

  • Alycia

    This brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations on such a beautiful baby and incredible birth.

  • Nicole

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story and pictures. Brought back memories of the difference between births of my own two babies. Beautiful start to my morning! Congratulations and many blessings to you and your family.

  • Susan

    This was beautiful. It made me tear up! The pictures are beautiful.

    I’m a NICU nurse and my view of “normal newborn” is skewed so as a general rule I don’t believe in home births. Your story is beautiful!

  • Vanessa

    Congratulations! This is a beautifully written story.

  • Cara

    Just beautiful! Congratulations and best wishes!

  • Erin

    You must be the strongest women-ever! Thanks for sharing your story. You are my go-to inspiration now;) you are real, you are honest and raw and I love how that comes across in your writing. And I love how much you are in love with your husband after all these years n all the kids. I know your probably thinking,”who the fuck is this person talking about”? I’m talking about you! Keep on keeping on.

  • John E. Keats

    Well, now that that’s over, I guess I’ll have to go somewhere else for vivid details about peeing and hemorrhoids! For now it’s all adoring another miracle, appreciating loyalty and long, real love, and taking stock of the great that can come from a hard road taken and endured. I guess that’s okay, too. Congrats, from another grateful stranger.

  • Renee

    Beautiful story Janelle! It was so moving and well written. You deserved to have an easy birth with Arlo. You had a lot on your plate during his “incubation” period. Congratulations to you, Mac and the other three kids. You make one beautiful family!

  • Kateri Von Steal

    How wonderful!



    I love this .. all of it.

    So real.. so true.. And such a great memory.

  • Rosa

    Welcome Arlo! Congratulations Janelle and family. Thank you for the epically awesome homebirth story.

  • Jess

    Congratulations! He is beautiful, and I’m glad it went well in the end.

  • Lornadoone1972

    What a beautiful story – what a beautiful birth, a beautiful wee son and I love the name/s! This happened with my daughter’s birth last year, I had 3 days of contractions every 10 – 15 minutes, I had to breathe through them, but could carry on. Then on the afternoon of the third day I was in the bath, while my husband poured water over my back, but then he got a bit antsy, I couldn’t figure out why. Turns out he had realized I had transitioned but I did not realize. Then, when I got out of the bath I had a contraction that bowled me over and I just hung onto the door. It was surreal, like where did this come from – how did this happen, after that I was contracting every 40 seconds to 2 minutes. I know exactly how your ride felt, congratulations on such a beautiful and intimate birth! 🙂

  • Heidi

    So wonderful. He’s beautiful. My husband caught my 4th and 5th child. His 1st and second. It’s a wonderful thing. <3

  • Jasmine

    Oh how I love this post! I can’t believe how brave you and your husband are!! Medicine has us so scared of the natural birth–congrats to your brand new perfect baby boy!!!

  • Tracey

    You’ve rock chick. He is gorgeous.

  • Mackenzie

    Welcome to the WORLD baby Arlo. Well done mama and papa.

  • Tonya

    i have been following your blog for some time now and love your heart and rawness…this one is probably by far my favorite. these words i loved…

    The only way through childbirth is through childbirth. Like life, I guess.

    Mac grabbed blankets. They were already warm. He had them prepared already. My heart explodes for him.

    thank you for your words!

    In a birth like this, everybody’s born again. The heart bursts open, raw, exposed. People fall in love all over again. The man who sat beside me 13 years ago when we were 19 and 22 years old, as I birthed our first baby and we breathed together, to last week, as he caught our 4th baby, second son, the remaining portion of our hearts.

  • Jessica

    A “portion of our hearts.” That, that right there, gave me goosebumps. It’s exactly right. Congratulations. What an amazing birth story. What an amazing family story!

  • Stephanie

    Well done, mama!! Tears at work. What a beautiful family you have

  • JuliePowell

    Wow! What an amazing story and such beautiful pictures. I actually saw my husband jumping up and down in the delivery room after the similarly fast birth of our second child. It’s cute how they act like a kid when they get really excited. Never seen that before or since. Congratulations, and thanks for sharing!

  • Jennifer

    I just keep coming back to read this over and over again. Beautiful, beautiful words. Congratulations on this miracle.

  • Annie Reneau

    Congratulations! What an awesome story. You just never know what to expect with birth. One of my babies was born at home – my favorite birth experience. Enjoy your babymoon. 🙂

  • Siri

    Aaah Arlo! You make me wonder why I had that IUD put in 2 days ago. The only thing better than a plump baby boy is a father with natural instincts and a heart of gold. My husband would have 100% fainted in that situation. Can’t wait to see the sweet sibbling pics that are sure to come! But don’t rush it, your fam gets priority over all of us waiting on the internets. You’re the best! Xoxo from Norway.

  • Zoe Collins

    Thankyou for sharing such an intimate and amazing moment with us. I had two home births that were completely different and wonderful all at the same time. I love a birth story and yours rocked. Almost makes me want to go again. These days when I feel clunky I tell myself to look at a teenager. Works most of the time. I have tears right now. Congratualtions.

  • Zoe Collins

    OMG just realised I wrote clunky….bloody corrective text!

  • Jennica

    Wow, that is amazing! And awe-inspiring! I am almost 27 weeks pregnant with twins, my third pregnancy, and I’m wondering how the heck I’m going to do it. You just made me think to myself “I am woman, hear me roar!” lol Congratulations on that bundle of joy!

  • Miranda

    Lovely boy! Congrats! Makes me want to have another…almost 🙂

  • liz Horton

    Beautiful. Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing such in intimate moment. It helps me relive my births. Congratulations on your new love.

  • Jessica

    Beautiful! Congratulations!

  • Kim

    I love this post so hard. I don’t have words. None. I am so happy for you and your family.

    And this: “The only way through childbirth is through childbirth.” THAT. Yes. Thank you for writing that. It’s so simple and so amazing.

    (I have just begun studying to become a doula. Women like you are the reason. I want everyone to have good birth stories. Even if they were tough as nails, I want the story to be good. Thank you for sharing this.)

  • Almostme

    You and I are the same age, have children the same age. But you write better and you birth way better. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful birth and beautiful baby with me.

  • Rachael

    Congratulations! Sounds like a beautiful birth and your son is equally as beautiful!!

  • Axelle the french reader

    This story is overwhelming. Your pictures are wonderful… Well, i guess i just have to rape my husband to have another child…
    Congratulaions, janelle and keep strenght enough for now.
    Very friendrly,

  • Amber Sours

    I have read your blog, every word. I have never met you and probably never will. But most of your words echo so closely with my own, I get goose bumps. I just want to wish you and your family the best of wishes. Congratulations on your awesome and empowering birth. I hope you have the clarity of mind to (from life and all that hectic shit) to enjoy him being so small. Love and Light your way.

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As...the Wife

    What an amazing story! Congratulations on your new son! I hope it’s a smooth and easy transition for everyone in the family.

  • lisa

    Oh my god this is so beautiful! I am trying to hold back tears as I sit at my desk at work (no one needs eyeliner/mascara running down their face before it’s even noon!) Congratulations on your gorgeous new baby boy!!

  • Meghant

    Janelle, I have to tell you, these last few blogs have touched me so deeply. I gave birth to a beautiful daughter, Marlowe Page, on June 9th and have related on so many levels to what you’ve written in the past month. What an incredible story of the support you received from your partner during Arlo’s entrance into the world. I received this same support from my partner and sister through the un-medicated birth of our first daughter and SOBBED reading this to my husband just 2 days after she was born. CONGRATULATIONS and thanks so much for sharing…

  • Val

    So what was actual birthdate?? My one n’ only just turned Sweet 16 last week (6/09), but I shouldn’t read of other’s MUCH MORE PLEASANT birth stories at work – I can’t indulge my tears, keep blinking ’em back like the stunned stupid cow I feel like…
    NOTHING w/my pregnancy/childbirth/or infancy went as I had hoped – just picked the wrong sire, obviously 😉 !!!

    But congratulations on your beautiful baby boy – well done, my dear!
    (My ideal childbirth would have been to spread a blanket in the pasture & have my sweet old mare as MY doula 😉 After all, she did it EIGHT times.

  • Dee


  • courtney

    Thank you for this. I generally don’t like reading birth stories. I’m a horrible person, I know. I’m sort of the opposite of you: 35 years old and about to have my first. I’m about a week and a half away from my due date. I don’t know what to expect. I am terrified. Reading this was beautiful. Still terrified but feeling a little more excited. I cannot wait to see how this will change my life.

  • Temptress Mama

    Oh Janelle he is beautiful! Congratulations 🙂

    Even as I started reading this post I kind of had a feeling your labor was going to go faster than you thought. I was pretty much in transition for 36 hours with my son and was all “nah, I’m good, I can handle this” the whole time, so I know it is totally possible to not think you’ve hit REAL labor 😉 What an awesome birth for your last child; it’s all I hope my own home birth will be with the second kid, but we’ll see.

    I’d gush some more over the gorgeous pictures, but my crazy toddler is unattended in his room, and while there’s nothing in there that can physically hurt him, he has a tendency to find a way to get into trouble anyway.

    Congrats again! You and Mac make gorgeous kids btw

  • Sara

    WOW!!! What a beautiful birth story! Thank you for sharing it! 🙂

  • Melanie

    Beautiful and so so happy. Reminded me of my last son’s birth, almost 14 years ago. Good thing we planned to have him at home anyway. 🙂 It was a process that was so completely “in my body”, as opposed to anything I had prepared my mind for. I remember saying to my husband-at-the-time, “The baby is coming out!” (meaning Right. This. Minute.) and he was trying to reassure me, but it came across all patronizing and shit, “Of course it is– that’s what this whole thing is *about*.” I didn’t even bother trying to explain that he was missing my point. It became precipitously evident in short order. 😉 Congrats to you guys for breezing right through like pros. I adore this story.

  • Lindsay

    Im a new reader of your blog and I absolutely love your writing style and sense of humor. Your birth story brought tears to my eyes- so amazing!! Im currently 28 weeks pregnant with my first. Your sense of humor and view on life is so freaking refreshing compared to all of the pregnancy books etc that I read. I literally feel comforted when i read your blog like- oh ok I’m not the only one who thinks this way haha. I really look forward to reading more and your past posts also!

  • Ali

    What a lovely story! Welcome Arlo! And guess what? We have the same midwives! Newborns are so rad.

  • Emily

    I’m such a sap, I always cry at birth stories. This one is, frankly, awesome. Also, my dad’s name was Theodore Valentin, as is my brother’s (Valentin is kind of our family name) and we just named our son Theodore after him, so may I say that your son could not be in a better or more admirable cohort than to share those names with my father. I know, you don’t have any reason to care one way or the other, but it does me good to hear that name.

  • Ruth

    Beautiful, honest, revealing . . . perfect.


    Omg, just bawled my eyes out at work … Im pretty sure i love you and your man and your 4 babies.
    Thank you, wow.

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from Sacramento Home Birth Photographer - Sarah Maren Photo
    Tuesday, 22 July, 2014

    […] in the middle of the dinning room floor as a very surprised mama gave birth.  I highly recommend reading Janelle’s account of Arlo’s magnificent birth. Actually, I just highly recommend reading everything Janelle has written, ever.  She is pretty […]

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