The average baby weighs seven-and-a-half-pounds at birth. But when it came to having her third child on January 8, Natalie Bancroft of Spokane, Washington delivered an 11 pound, 2 ounce baby boy named Simon. And she did it at home. Without an epidural.
“The pain was all encompassing,” Bancroft, a doula and birth photographer, tells TODAY. “But I gave in to the surges and worked with my body. Breathing properly and relaxing every muscle is key.”
Taking the time to move and breathe properly throughout the labor was essential for Bancroft. In a candlelit room filled with soft music (think Sia and Radiohead), Bancroft alternated between a birth ball and a birth pool. “Movement helped a lot,” she says. And so did her support team, which included husband Casey, their kids Balen, 5, and Joss, 2, and two licensed midwives.
“I would squat down and rock back and forth through each surge while Casey would squeeze my hips together. That was my only relief,” says Bancroft. “It was definitely my most intense labor.” (Her other children weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces, and 8 pounds 5 ounces respectively.) But luckily it was fast and furious: four hours total. And local photographer Laura Fifield was on hand to capture Bancroft’s priceless reaction when her not-so-little bundle of joy made his debut.
“I honestly didn’t think of what a big baby he was at first,” Bancroft tells TODAY. She thought her only surprise would be the sex, which she decided to not find out beforehand. “I was shocked because I thought we were having another girl,” she adds. “(This) pregnancy mirrored that of my daughter’s. My kids had been calling my belly Stella for months!”
It wasn’t until after Simon’s first nursing session that Bancroft learned how much her son weighed. “We thought he would be roughly nine pounds,” Bancroft explains, adding that she tested negative for gestational diabetes, a condition that, when left untreated, can cause a newborn to grow very big in utero.
Now three months old, the healthy infant is already sleeping through the night. “Simon only gets upset when he is demanding milk,” Bancroft tells TODAY. “We couldn’t ask for an easier baby.”
Meanwhile, Bancroft isn’t the only one making headlines for her sizable infant. Back in January, Australia-based mom Natasha Corrigan delivered a nearly 14-pound baby without an epidural. “It was a bit hard to get him out,” Corrigan told Herald Sun. “They had to get a few extra staff members to come in and help.”