The Arrival

It was been 6 days since our sweet baby boy arrived on the scene. It seems like weeks ago though. I apologize for the delay in getting this out, but I have realized being a mother to a newborn means lower expectations of what can be accomplished in a day. At first, I was frustrated at myself for seemingly getting ‘nothing’ done, but now I am quite satisfied if I get one thing done a day. Yesterday – a shower, today – a walk. The days seem to fly by as we settle into our new life. 

For those who haven’t heard, Blake and I welcomed a new baby boy, Henry Jack Van Winckle to the world on Saturday, October 25th at 2:38am. At 6lbs 14oz, just like his parents, he came out very determinedly! 

At 39 weeks pregnant, I was dragging myself through my last week of work at as a family physician with the First Nations Health Authority in Sioux Lookout, ON. My regular work tasks were getting more and more awkward as my belly grew. Bumping into patients, sitting awkwardly for pap smears and being generally slow to move were a few of the challenges. I had hoped that by being on-call for obstetrical deliveries the week before, this little one would take a clue from the sounds entering my belly and would make an early exit. But alas, I worked through my last full week, with my due date (Oct 27th) being my official last day of work. I actually was scheduled for a 12 hour shift that was supposed to begin 6 hours after the delivery!

After turning off my pager at 5pm on Friday, Blake and I headed out to one of the local restaurants for dinner with friends. I had gone on a brisk walk with a friend right before and had a few ‘cramps’ but had thought nothing of it. After a great steak dinner, we moved the get together over to basically the only bar in Sioux Lookout, the Legion. 

For those who know Northern Ontario, the Legion in Sioux Lookout is exactly how you would picture it. Low ceilings, dim lights, cheap beer, shuffleboard and darts. Blake was into his fourth rum and coke (after a few pints at dinner) and I was throwing darts with friends when I realized that these ‘cramps’ were coming more are more frequently. They were still quite short though, and again, I thought nothing of it. 

At the Legion – Blake asking Megan “Is this labour?!?!”

I drove Blake home (he was too tipsy to take the wheel) just after 12:30am. Blake at this point, kept asking me if this was labour and I kept telling him not to worry about it and that likely things would settle down once I got into bed. This did NOT happen as I thought it would!

I got into bed, had one contraction and my water broke. It was 1:00am. Blake immediately went to the kitchen and ate a good meal (preparing for the long haul) and I got into the tub. As Blake couldn’t drive us anywhere, we called my girlfriend, Megan, a family doctor who also is a part of the maternity practice with me in Sioux Lookout. She came over and checked me. I was already 5cm! Blake was now in a bit of a panic, as this clearly was the real thing. I managed to get dressed and get into Meg’s car. 

On the way, Blake started making calls to my doctor, Lianne, another dear friend of mine and to our other good friends, Catherine & Caleb. Cat, also is a family physician who does obstetrics. The plan had been ahead of time that Megan and Cat would be MY doulas, while Caleb, Cat’s partner, would be Blake’s labour support. As Blake yelled, “CELIA IS HAVING THE BABY NOW!!” into his cell phone on the way to the hospital, Caleb had apparently sprung to action and packed his doula bag, which comprised of scotch, magazines, sliced fruit, sandwiches, cookies, a Bodum, toothbrush & toothpaste (in case Blake threw up!) among other things! 

Catherine & Caleb – the doula team!

Meanwhile, Meg, Blake and I made it safely to the hospital at about 1:50 am. I got into the shower for a brief period but things were rapidly intensifying. Megan checked me again just after 2:00am and I was 9 cm. Things were moving fast! The nurses managed to coax me out of the shower, onto the bed. This was all a blur to me. I really can’t remember much, but minutes later Megan was telling me to push and all I can recall was looking at her intensely and yelling, “MEGAN, HELP ME!!!”. Everything was moving so quickly and I was terrified to push. I now have such a different perspective on attending deliveries! 

Blake, meanwhile, was trying to stay upright in a chair beside me. Apparently, he was white as a ghost and was staring into space. It was all very chaotic and I hadn’t had a chance to even look at him since we had arrived at the hospital! No one really had been explaining what was happening to him and he was essentially boxed into the corner by my head with no escape route, poor guy! 

After 18 minutes of pushing, Megan delivered our little one as our doctor, Lianne, the doula team (Cat & Caleb) and another one of my colleagues, Dr. Dooley all arrived into the room. It was quite the crowd – 5 doctors (including me) and two nurses!

Minutes after his birth

We celebrated Henry Jack Van Winckle’s arrival with a toast of scotch and a feast of snacks. It was the most perfect birth – a quick and safe arrival surrounded by amazing, supportive friends. Start to finish, it was about an hour and a half! I could not have asked for anything more. 

Having a quiet celebratory moment with Lianne, Cat & Blake
Caleb chilling out after performing his doula duties!
The perfect size.
Feeling pretty good 
Henry’s first feed 
Blake holding Henry for the first time 

We checked out of the hospital around lunch that day and were home just over 12 hours after Henry’s birth and since have been settling into life at home. So far so good! 

Blake feeling Henry’s umbilical cord 🙂 hahah

Here are a few pictures from the past few days. 

Thanks already to everyone for all of the love and support!

Wearing the outfit that Blake wore home from the hospital when he was born!


Ready to go home

Ada checking things out. She kept going into the bedroom to see if he was doing ok 🙂

With Megan, our good friend who delivered him with our friend Lianne

With Catherine – looking like Yoda

After our first big walk together in the stroller

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