When it was time for Katy Chatel to give birth to her son, she decided to make it a party.
The single mother, who had opted for a home birth at her Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment instead of a hospital stay, invited close friends and family to not only watch her son's debut into the world but also help out a little.
"Being a single mom, I felt it was especially important for my son, Jessey, to enter the world surrounded by friends and family," Chatel writes in The Washington Post. "I didn't want to be alone in my pain, but more importantly, I wanted others to share the experience of his birth. I wanted a village around him. I wanted it to be a party."
And it was — with a little midwifery going on around the guests.
Chatel had invited a dozen people to the birthing event, and she writes that most of them had come, including her two younger sisters and her best guy friend from high school. A couple of friends even flew out from California and Las Vegas.
They did everything from bring takeout food to fill and empty her birthing tub. One made a cod liver and juice concoction to help bring on contractions. Another swayed school-dance style with Chatel in between contractions.
The single mom by choice writes that she had tried to conceive through various methods for more than a decade. She had been wishing for her own baby since childhood, and an intrauterine insemination with donor sperm had finally worked.
Finally, the moment came, and suddenly Chatel's midwife asked her to reach down and "catch" her baby.
"Bracing myself with one shaky arm, I reached down and felt the warm mat of his hair coated in amniotic sac," Chatel writes. "Then his body slipped onto the mattress beneath me."
Once Jessey took his first breath, friends and family closed in around mom and baby.
"He became part of the community. He joined the party."