Scholastica’s Birth (and name) Story!

A day old!
A day old!

Thursday I had a check up with the midwife. Being past due, I asked her to check me for dilation, as I had been at 2 cm two weeks before.  She did the check and I was at 4 cm. Some places call that active labor, but I wasn’t having contractions of any kind, so I figured I had some time.

During dinner I had a few contractions, but really was not emotionally ready to face labor, so I tried to lay down and tried to forget about them. This was actually pretty successful, then I went outside to walk in the yard a bit. I headed for bed, not expecting anything at all.

I had a bunch of strange dreams which all involved pain in my lower back somehow, then around 1140 a friend sent me a text message. This woke me up suddenly and I decided to go to the bathroom. As my mind cleared, I realized that my back pain was different, but I wasn’t willing to call it labor yet.

I got back into bed and Joshua noticed that I was breathing funny. He asked me what was wrong and I knew I had to tell him that I was having some contractions. I didn’t want to, because I didn’t want to get my hopes up that it was active labor. Shortly after, I had a contraction that induced me to get off the bed and onto my hands and knees (with a speed I’ve not managed in a few months!) The contractions were very strong and continued for about 45 minutes. After trying to get back  into bed several time and still not being able to get comfortable, we decided to move downstairs and prepare for what was going to be a long night.

While Joshua started filling the pool, I had some contractions that made me doubt my ability to handle a drawn-out labor. At this point I was full of self doubt of other varieties as well, how awful I’ve been as a mother these past few months and how I don’t deserve to have any more children. Joshua helped me through those, as well as numerous trips to the bathroom (with numerous stops along the way because I couldn’t take more than three steps without contracting).

I got in the pool around 2:30, and our midwife arrived around 3:00 and started setting her things up. I’ve been friends with her since shortly after Benedict’s birth (she attended his as well, as an apprentice!) and relaxed immediately when she walked in. It helped that she was wearing her Mr. Spock tee-shirt. (She had been promising a Star Trek birth.) I asked to be checked, partly to help myself mentally prepare – if I am at 7 cm , I can still go on, I thought; if I had been at 4, I would probably have cried.

To my bewilderment, I was at 9.5 cm! That self-doubt from earlier had just been normal transition emotions! Almost home free! Except no desire to push yet…

We were able to talk between contractions and I was feeling pretty relaxed, except during the contractions (obviously). Around 3:15, I said that the baby’s godmother had guessed this day and at some point in this hour for the birth, so I needed to  hurry up – but I was not expecting at all to have the baby within the next 20 minutes.

With each contraction, I focused my thoughts on Our Lady and asked for her help; I started with the Hail Mary, then I clung to the only psalm I could remember at the time “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want” and another prayer I used to pray in adoration “You are my rock, O, Lord.” (which interestingly, was part of the psalm from the day’s mass.)

We weren’t sure if my water had broken, and with the other babies, my water has broken and I’ve gone right to pushing, so my midwife suggested giving a few pushes to see if that would break my water. I’m not sure when it did though, because I never felt it.

(Gore ahead)

I moved to hands and knees and started pushing with earnest. I realized that she was there, crowning. With one contraction, I pushed with all my night, trying to get her to crown. That didn’t happen, but she moved down and my midwife said she saw the head, but the baby didn’t stay there, she moved back up a bit. At this point though, my midwife and Joshua switched places so he could catch the baby, and I pushed again with the next contraction. The baby’s head came out and I tried with all my might to get her out by pushing without a contraction, but I couldn’t do it. However, with the next contraction and push, she was out!

Sweet relief at 3:35 am. I was holding a wee one in my arms!

Fresh Baby!
Fresh Baby!

I had told them at some point that I didn’t want them to tell me the baby’s gender. I wanted to find out for myself, so they handed her to me with a towel over her and I just held her for a while. I think it was about 5 minutes later when I was politely asked to check.

A girl. Scholastica Veronica. Beautiful. Petite. Dainty. She looked very much like a girl.

Caecilia arrived downstairs shortly after and was able to meet her little sister and while we were waiting for the placenta to come out, she held the flashlight. (It turns out she was upstairs and heard me pushing and waited until Joshua went up to get her to come down.)

I moved from the pool to the couch and then latched Scholastica on to try nursing. she was awesome at it and did just what she needed to do!

Looking at the Mama.
Looking at the Mama.

The other kids trickled down, slowly, first Margaret, then Karol all except for Benedict who slept in until 8 am for us!  (When he arrived downstairs, he was cautious but very excited, having heard some rumors from the other kids!)

The newborn exam was done around 430 and she weighed in at 8 pounds 2 ounces and 20 inches long, the biggest girl so far.

After my midwife left, I sat up on the couch, holding her, smelling her, and trying to figure out who she looked like! (We still haven’t figured that out yet – she doesn’t look a lot like any of the other kids.)

St. Scholastica from the San Luca Altarpiece by Andrea Mantegna (1453)
St. Scholastica from the San Luca Altarpiece by Andrea Mantegna (1453)

We decided on her name a while ago. I had been concerned about the length of her name, and that there was no nickname that I liked. (Not that we use nicknames with our kids, but I thought Scholastica would need one.) However, we met two religious sisters while in Florida in January and both asked, separately, after learning that Benedict was named after St. Benedict of Norcia, whether we were going to have a Scholastica. That cemented my decision to use Scholastica.  You can learn more about St. Scholastica here. The meaning of Scholastica can be found here.

Veronica's veil, painting by Domenico Fetti (1620)
Veronica’s veil, painting by Domenico Fetti (1620)

Veronica comes from the Sixth Station of the Cross, The face of Jesus is Wiped by Veronica. Our little girl will always have her birthday during Lent, and I have always thought that Veronica was a beautiful name and it fits perfectly into the Lenten Season, so that is how we decided on her middle name.

The other children love baby Scholastica, especially Benedict who keeps write letters to her that say “I love you”.


Filed under: General Stuff


  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story! Go YOU!

  2. The best part of this story:
    Brian had a negative score. 🙂

  3. Congratulations from the Martineks! What a blessing to your beautiful family!

  4. That was so precious!! I am teary eyed and so happy for you. When I was reading this, I thought that is exactly how it is supposed to be. The name is awesome and she is adorable.

  5. What a beautiful birth story! She is absolutely gorgeous, and her name is just perfect. I am especially fond of Veronica–that is my confirmation name. 🙂

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