Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A New Baby!!!

I normally write about something tasty and delicious on Thursdays but couldn't contain my excitement over the birth of a new baby... at the farm. That's right, my obsession has officially transcended human birth and is spilling over into the animal kingdom. My aunt has a delightful 14 acre spread in North Carolina (Blueberry Hill Farm) and one of her alpacas, a maiden named Run Around Sue, just birthed her very first baby a whopping 8 days past due (in the Bradley world that is right on time!)... a female cria named Merry Cathy- in sweet homage to my mother, whose birthday she now shares.

Unfortunately, Sue wasn't the most attentive mother and was wandering away from Baby Cathy, but we had hopes that she would get the hang of being a mom (we all know there is a learning curve, right??) and that the baby would continue to learn to nurse and get big and strong.

How consumed am I with natural birth and breastfeeding?? (And if I didn't know it before, I'm aware of it now). Well, when I heard that Sue was not letting the baby nurse, I unthinkingly offered to pump for the new cria, not realizing how strange it was to even contemplate giving a baby alpaca my human milk, much less actually offer. And honestly, who goes around gifting animals their pumped milk?!? Then I thought I could come up and somehow try to teach Sue how to nurse this baby (alpacas are not known for their intellectual aptitude- maybe I could "model" nursing for her, show her how it's done), and could possibly bring along my friend and LLL leader for an alpaca breastfeeding intervention. I asked my aunt if she thought Sue may be engorged, whether her nipples (I mean teats!) may be sore (I'd be happy to loan out my Lansinoh), and asked if she thought hand-expressing some milk may be beneficial... all while giving various other human mother/baby nursing tips.. Then I realized that holy moly, I have seriously gone off the deep end and should probably keep my mouth shut, and my Lansinoh and milk to myself...

You will all be happy to know that in the days following the birth the baby is nursing more frequently and is growing stronger without my assistance- or my milk. :o)

So without further admissions of insanity, here are some sweet pictures of that new baby!!

Baby Cathy- you see the top of her head and her left pink ear (that brown spot is a lovely fawn marking) and two front legs. How grateful I am that human babies are not born arms and head first!!

This is Sue and Baby Cathy just moments after birth. Amazing that she can already stand on those spindly legs!!

Here are Sue (mom), Silver (the silver one, ahem) and Beatta checking out "their" new baby. Interestingly, they are both probably pregnant and are the only other alpacas that came to check out the new addition.

Sue and Baby Cathy hanging out in the coolness of the barn.

When I begin teaching a new series of childbirth education classes, I always tell my students about Dr. Bradley's time on his farm growing up and how that shaped his understanding of normal birth. Until my aunt began her alpaca farm, I could never visualize exactly what he was talking about. But I have always of the persuasion that if animals (alpacas or otherwise) can give birth naturally, so can I! I believe that our bodies were created to give birth by a masterful and artistic God... seems like all too often we forget how marvelously we were made, sell ourselves short, and never realize what we are capable of.


  1. This post cracked me up! This spring, I went with my husband (uh, actually it was just across the street) to help one of the cows that was having trouble with a breech calf. I couldn't keep my mouth shut. "She needs food! She's probably exhausted!" "Try a different position!" "Can you get her to lay down?" hehe

  2. That's so you, Mary. Cool pictures...I'm glad we don't give birth head and arms first too!

  3. I got a kick out of this post! Gifting animals with milk...LOL! I've watched many horses and a few dogs give birth. It's something quite special to watch. How they just instinctively know what to do is beautiful, nursing included. Thanks for sharing!