Mercena West Schulenburg

Mercena Day OneAt 5:49am on August 15th at our Forest Hills home, a beautiful 8 pound 7 ounce miracle named Mercena West Schulenburg was born. Both she and her amazing mother are doing quite well after a natural home birth that lasted 24 hours from the first “ooh, this is different” contraction to her great push into the world.

A friend just called Heather a “warrior queen” for giving birth without medication at home, and that’s an apt description. I’m in awe of the courage and determination she showed to bring our daughter into the world. We had great help: our midwife  Shar La Porte, who calmly handled some of the challenges we faced; our doula, Dia Shepardson, who is a wonderful birth and lactation coach; and Hope Garland, who taught our Bradley Method birthing class. We’d happily recommend them all, and I’m ready to talk your ear off about the beauty of home birth, so just ask me.

Mercena is named after her great-great-great-great grandmother Mercena Leonard Newton on the Schulenburg side. According to her entry in my family’s genealogy, she was known for her “courage, constancy and devotion…a woman full of sympathy for all in affliction.”

How do you pronounce that beautiful first name?

Mer: this is the tricky part–we say it somewhere between the “uh” sound of “Big Sur” and the “air” sound of “mare.”
Ce: This sounds like “say.”
Na: This sounds like “nuh.”West comes from her great-great grandfather William West and his five daughters, the “West women” whose pictures adorn the beloved Nantucket house that has been in Heather’s family for generations. West women were famed to be smart and strong-willed, and from all early indicators, I believe Mercena West will carry on that legacy.

So far, she’s a very peaceful snuggler, and has only really cried once, in the moment of her birth. When not sleeping (and there’s a lot of sleeping), she’s learning to latch for breast-feeding (and doing quite well with it), cooing and making adorably strange baby sounds, opening her birth-puffy eyes and pooping in all sorts of interesting ways.

This will all change: Everything we’ve heard from our friends who have recently had babies is how quickly they change from these precious newborn days through each of the stages of babyhood (and then toddlerhood and all the hoods to come).

But for right now, we are happy and peaceful and very, very much in love.

Categories: Uncategorized

6 Comments »

  1. I find myself getting a bit misty eyed as I read your lovely words. I love the history of her name – and the name itself. And, I know that without a doubt this is going to be a cherished, amusingly quirky and wildly intelligent addition to not only your world, but to the world at large. All the best to you, your beautiful wife, and most precious little girl!

  2. Welcome to the exciting wide, wide world, Mercena. You have also entered the world of the WWWW: Wild, Wonderful, West Women! And I’m sure you’ll also be changing the world for the better as your parents (and Flux) are already doing.

  3. Congratulations! My daughter, Grace Rosemary, was also born at home and turned one on August 15th. It’s an auspicious day. Much heart and strength to you as you embark on this journey. It’s beautiful, and made more so by hard work.

  4. Thank you, Kyra!
    Sandra, I can’t wait for you to meet her today.
    Brady, that’s so cool that Grace and Mercena share a birthday:).

  5. “Warrior” is a good word for this. A great description of a life changing, and life welcoming, event. A name is more than a collection of letters, particularly here. It is a mantle of history, and this tiny soul will add her story to it, minute, by minute, day by day, year by year. Raising a child is a walk into mystery. Sometimes the days are forever, but the years pass at a sprint. How did she get so old? Where did it go? Remember when….? It is so much. Congratulations.

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