Just going to pop in quickly here to introduce you to the newest member of the family . . . Mary Jane Tierney.

She was born at 3:08am this morning, July 25th, her due date, the Feast of St. James. 8lbs 3oz, 21 inches long, not much hair to speak of. Looks exactly like the rest of them.

And . . . she was accidentally born at home.

I went in for a checkup last Tuesday and was already at a five, and I’d been having a lot of tightness over the course of the week, so I figured things might go quickly. But I had no idea it would go THAT quickly.

I was finishing up some stuff on the computer at 1am when I thought MAYBE that was a contraction, but I wasn’t sure so I decided to try to get some sleep and see if it was the real thing. I woke up at 2:19am and knew that was a real one. So I got up, put some chargers and whatnot into my hospital bag. Had another one. Thought maybe I’d curl my hair to have something to do. Had another one. Decided to forgo hair curling.

At about 2:40am, I woke Jim up, and told him that the contractions were really short, but really close together. He got dressed and got Betty up, and we were ready to head for the car at a little before 3am. But by this time, I was walking back and forth in the kitchen having long contractions, close together.

And they were the loud kind. I was thinking back to my other births, especially Lulu’s and how we had joked around in the car and sang What Does the Fox Say on the way to the hospital, and I knew I was WAY past that. I had had maybe eight contractions total? But I just knew we weren’t going to be able to make the 15 minute drive to the hospital.

I marched back to our room and headed into the bathroom. Jim followed me, and I told him I think we needed to have the baby here. He was pretty shocked, but he’s good in a crisis. We were trying to figure out for sure what to do when my water broke, which, for me, means this is happening RIGHT NOW.

I got into the empty tub on my hands and knees, and Jim was there, ready to catch the baby, but I was scared to push with the first contraction. I gave myself a little pep talk, and pushed on the next one, and out came the head. Then, there was a lull of like a minute where I didn’t have another contraction, and the baby’s head was just there, frowning at Jim. The rest of her was born with one more push on the next contraction. And it was a girl, our Mary Jane.

Jim went to go get Betty, who had been patiently waiting in the kitchen for us to all go to the hospital! The placenta was still in there, and Mary Jane was still attached to it, so I couldn’t pass her off to anyone. But we filled up the tub and got ourselves warmed up and cleaned off.

I held her and Betty washed her, while Jim called the OB and my parents.

It was a good forty minutes later that the placenta was birthed, and THAT made a real mess of things. Yuck. Until then, the whole experience had been rather tidy. Anyway, we put the still-attached-to-Mary Jane placenta in a bag, rinsed off again, wrapped up in a robe and a couple towels, and headed over to the hospital.

Betty went back to bed.

My OB met us there, checked me over, and put in a couple of stitches. Mary Jane got checked over and was deemed practically perfect in every way.

My parents and the rest of the kids (except Jack, who is on his way back from Boy Scout Camp on Catalina Island today!) came by to meet her at about 7am, and she was a big hit with everyone.

And now, my folks took the kids home, Jim is meeting our realtor at a house we were supposed to go see this morning, and Mary Jane and I are chillin’ all alone in our hospital room and looking forward to a well-earned nap, before we try to get all the tests and paperwork finished so we can sleep at home tonight.

It was a crazy, fast experience, but in retrospect, it really did all go beautifully. I have been praying for your intentions all week. Thank you for entrusting them to me. For now, I’m going to offer my frustration with bossy nurses and dumb hospital policies for you. Dealing with those is much harder for me than giving birth anyway. ;0)

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And now . . . the winners of the Baby Pool!

You guys were good. Twenty four people guessed that she would be a girl born on the 25th, and a few of you were REALLY spot on. Many of you guessed her name!

I decided to just randomly select five winners from all the best guesses. And here they are:

1. Rachel of The Hardest Job I’ll Ever Love (She got four out of six guesses exactly right!)

2. Amelia of One Catholic Mama (Who I’m almost positive has won a different giveaway on this blog too. But that’s allowed.)

3. Abby S. (Who is Lulu’s Godmother, but that’s also allowed.)

4. Jessica Lambert

5. Betka

Check out the original post for pictures and details, but the fabulous prizes are:

1. From WholeParentingGoods: a pair of completely adorable 0-6m baby leggings. Check out Nell’s Etsy shop to see these and more creative, handmade items for babies, toddlers, and moms.

2. From Bison Booties: A $30 gift certificate to spend as you please at Erica’s online store. Bison Booties are handmade by stay-at-home-moms, and are Vegan (if you’re into that sort of thing). Choose from infant and toddler booties, child and adult slippers, and even bibs and pacifier clips.

3. From Magnificat and Ignatius Press, a collection of three new books, especially for Catholic kids: Catholic Saints for Children , A Missal for Little Ones , and Let’s Pray the Rosary .

4. From Michele Chronister, of My Domestic Monastery: A digital copy of the book Rosaries Aren’t Just For Teething, featuring reflections by ten of your favorite Catholic mom bloggers on the subject of Mary.

5. And from ME, if I can get my act together to mail it out to you, one of the spare baby blankets . . . so that the baby of your choice can be twinsies with my baby and his or her cousins. And a signed copy of MY book, A Little Book about Confession for Children which now FINALLY has an Imprimatur. (It’s a slow church.) I TOLD you guys it wasn’t heretical.

To claim your prize, please email me at catholicallyear@gmail.com with your name and mailing address. In the email please put the five available prizes in order of your preference. Hopefully everyone will get something she actually wants!

If I haven’t heard from you by Wednesday, I’ll award the prize to a new winner.

Thanks to everyone for your love and prayers and support.