Neil Bason and PJ Fairbairn always planned on a home birth. But after being evacuated from their Mount Veeder home during the Napa fires, they got the next best thing – a hotel home birth.
The Napa couple were expecting their first baby together when they arrived at the Westin Verasa hotel on Oct. 11.
Six days later, on Oct. 17, they became the proud parents of Elisabeth Bason.
The baby girl was born in Room 1057 on Tuesday. She arrived at 7:11 a.m. and weighed 7 lbs. and 4 ounces and was 19 inches long. Coincidentally, her due date was also Oct. 17.
Fairbairn, 39, said she had already planned for home birth and was prepared to implement that plan, even in a hotel room and during the wildfires.
“We ran it over with our midwives,” said Fairbairn. “They didn’t see any reason why this wouldn’t work.” Their room at the Westin has a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. “It’s a perfect alternative,” she said.
Plus, “Should something go awry, we’re even closer to the hospital than up on the mountain,” she reasoned.
By Monday, Fairbairn, who also has a 6-year-old daughter, could tell labor had begun.
Hanging the “do not disturb” sign on the hotel door, Fairbairn continued her labor, accompanied by Bason and midwives Bee Lauher and Heather Hilton of Napa Valley Midwife.
No one at the hotel knew she was having a baby that day, said Fairbairn. Their room was next to a stairwell and they don’t think the room above them was occupied.
“Everything went great,” said Fairbairn. “I thought for sure someone was going to call or knock on the door” and ask “What’s going in here?” But there was no interruption, she said.
A little more than four hours after starting active labor, Elisabeth was born in the bathroom of their room, as planned.
Bason, 55, who is already a father to an adult son, said the whole experience was amazing.
“Being present and being able to catch and deliver Elisabeth into the world was one of the most incredible experiences,” he said.
Once word got out about the birth, the Westin staff offered their congratulations, said Bason.
This morning the new parents found a basket of baby toys, books and other supplies outside their hotel room door.
“It’s humbling,” Bason said of the welcome from the hotel.
Elisabeth’s middle name has yet to be decided, said Bason.
“We are mulling a long list of middle names that will help tie her to the event and the hotel. She will forever be a part” of this experience. “We’ve got to tie that in somehow.”
The couple has everything they need in their room at the Westin, said Bason. They will likely end up staying at the hotel for about three weeks.
“That’s about perfect because it gives PJ and Elisabeth a nice long time to bond and get into a routine,” said Bason.
However, it’s not all good news, just yet. The couple still doesn’t know if their rental home survived the fire. They heard their landlord’s home, located near theirs, was destroyed.
“It doesn’t bode well,” said Fairbairn.
“It’s just stuff,” said Bason. “It can all get replaced.”
The couple, who both work at Goosecross Cellars in Yountville, will be at the Westin for about nine more days. They hope to find out the fate of their Mount Veeder home as soon as Monday.
General Manager Don Shindle said Elisabeth is the first baby to be born at the Westin Verasa.
“We were all thrilled, and are very happy for both Neil and PJ who are friends and colleagues of many of our team members and their own families,” said Shindle.
“We are delighted that during such a difficult and stressful time something so fantastic has taken place,” he said.
The family “will always be a part of our Westin family and, in particular, Elisabeth will have a very special place in all of our hearts.”