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‘Wolf moon baby’ born New Year’s Day in Wendell

  • Lindsay Swan and Augustin Ganley with Saoirse Swan, born Janurary 1st at 9:27 PM, at home in Wendell on Tuesday. January 2, 2018. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • The first supermoon of 2018 rises just after sunset east of Marion, Ind., Monday. A supermoon — also known as a wolf moon — occurs when the moon becomes full on the same day it reaches the point in its elliptical orbit when it is closest to Earth. “We had a wolf moon baby,” Augustin Ganley said. Saoirse Swan was born in Wendell at 9:27 p.m. on Jan. 1. THE CHRONICLE-TRIBUNE VIA AP, FILE PHOTO



Recorder Staff
Tuesday, January 02, 2018

WENDELL — Saoirse Swan was born two days after her due date, but her father is convinced she was right on schedule.

The first day of the year was accompanied by a supermoon — also known as a wolf moon — and Augustin Ganley said friends who work in health care say there is a phenomenon of babies being born as soon as the moon reaches the top of the sky. So Augustin “Gus” Ganley wasn’t surprised when his daughter came at 9:27 p.m.

“We had a wolf moon baby,” he said. “She came … right on time.”

According to CNN.com, a wolf moon “occurs when the moon becomes full on the same day it reaches its perigee, the point in the moon’s elliptical orbit when it is closest to Earth.” There is another expected on Jan. 31.

Lindsay Swan delivered Saoirse via a home birth on West Street in Wendell, surrounded by nine friends and family members. Saoirse has not yet left the house and her weight and length are unknown — Mom and Dad don’t own a scale. Saoirse (pronounced “Sersha”) is the Gaelic word for “freedom.” Gus said he and Lindsay might pay tribute to Saoirse’s wolf moon birthday by giving her the middle name Seff, which means wolf in Hebrew.

Gus said he and Lindsay “decided to buck the trend” and give their baby Lindsay’s surname.

Lindsay, 28, was in active labor for three hours, though the process started nine hours before that. Gus said much of the labor took place in a room of their home designated as the “birthing center” through a process he described as “a lot of singing and a lot of prayer” in front of a wood stove fire. A makeshift altar of spiritual gifts given to them by friends was positioned on the other side of the room.

“It was gorgeous. The full moon was coming right through this window here,” Gus said, adding that the birth took place in the bathroom. It was a freebirth, with no midwife present. “And Lindsay caught the baby all by herself. It was a very gentle and beautiful birth and they took a bath afterward.”

Gus, 30, explained he is a practicing Catholic, and Lindsay is “almost of a witch persuasion.” He said both are “very, very spiritually inclined.” They are filmmakers working on a documentary about the Great Lakes. Gus grew up in Minneapolis, while Lindsay hails from Brooklyn. They are bound as partners, but not legally married.

Holding her new little bundle of joy, Lindsay said the birth went seamlessly.

“I feel good, calm,” she said in bed, over Saoirse’s gentle snore. (I’m) not as tired as I expected.”

The support network at the birth included Lindsay’s mother, Mary-Louise Hansen, who flew in from Berkeley, Calif., and younger sister, Adrienne Swan. They became a grandmother and aunt for the first time. Mary-Louise said this process was new to her, as she had had Caesarean sections for all three of her children.

Gus explained a close friend performed a traditional Irish Celtic blessing, dripping drops of melted snow onto newborn Saoirse. He said instead of the umbilical cord being cut, it was burned off with two candles a couple of hours after the birth in a process that took about 10 minutes.

“The baby didn’t even flinch,” Gus said.

He also said they have saved the placenta. He said one third of it will be buried in the spring, and Lindsay will cook and eat another third. A sampling of the final third, which will be preserved in special salts, will be fed to Saoirse for its healing properties, her father said.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 258