It gives Kristina and I great pleasure to officially introduce our baby daughter Eloise.

Eloise was born at 2:13 am, Friday May 24th, the morning of her official due date. An alert and healthy full term baby Eloise weighed 5lbs and 14 oz at birth and measured 19 inches. She had a full head of black hair, and fuller still, an appreciation for the dramatic performance arts. She was born –  not in the hospital where we had planned it – but in our bedroom and on our bed where we had not.

The story unfolded as follows:

Kristina attended her weekly scheduled appointment with our midwives on the 23rd, Thursday morning. There she learned that she was 3 cm dilated – not particularly big news as many women stay dilated for more than a week – especially with first pregnancies. She went on with her work day as planned.

When I got home from work at 6pm to make dinner, Kristina was already having contractions. Now – we had learned in our birthing course two important things: 1. Early labour can go on for up to 20 hours, and 2. You don’t need to pay attention to it until it demands your attention. Hearing this in our course made me sit up and take special notice, as my wife has a much greater tolerance for pain than the average bear. I made a (prophetic) joke that “by the time labour demands your attention, your daughter will be sitting right in front of you”.

Around 9pm Kristina asked me to open my stopwatch app and come with her. She was having contractions, she explained, and she would like me to time them. They averaged at 4 mins apart and were increasing in intensity. At about 10:30 I called our midwives.

Nicole arrived about 15 minutes later and examined the situation. To paraphrase she said: “You will have this baby in the early morning. You are not far enough along in labour to go the hospital yet. We must wait for the frequency to increase to 3 minutes. That will take some time. Try to get comfortable now by getting in the bath and call me when things intensify”. This was the expected response and so we set about to make Kristina as comfortable as possible while waiting for the intensity to rise.

The bathtub worked, for a little while. About 1/2 hour after Nicole left things really started to pick up. I timed contractions for 20 minutes and they were 3 mins apart. I called the midwives and got Nicole’s colleague Marian. Marian was happy to talk to us. Kristina by this point was not happy.

“Marian – I need to go to the hospital now. I can’t do this. I need the epidural and you just need to respect that”.

I guess Marian could hear the labour in Kristina’s voice, guaged the situation for what it was at that moment and dispatched Nicole to return to our house post haste and escort us to the hospital. Kristina meanwhile was advocating for us to get in the car and meet her there. Marian told us that Nicole would be 15 minutes and we would travel together to the hospital as this would allow us to bypass all the front end triage and get into a delivery room. Kristina did not like this but agreed to get out of the tub, put on clothes and get ready to go. When she stood up things took yet another turn. Labour intensified again. Marian – still on speaker phone said “Kristina, you sound like you want to push. Do you want to push?”
“OK” Marian replied calmly. “Chris I want you to guide Kristina to the bed and use your cell phone to call 9-1-1.
What? Needless to say, that’s exactly what I did.
“Ok Chris good. Now, check to see if her waters have broken.” As if on cue, the floodgates opened. “Um yep, they uh, they just broke now”.

3 minutes later, an EMS ambulance and 2 city of Calgary firetrucks came screaming up our street, lights flashing and in full regalia. It was now 1:30am. Two female EMS ladies entered the house first and came right into the bedroom where we were. Marian was still on speaker phone. At this point, so was Nicole who was now moments away from arriving herself. About 10 firemen were packed into my front hall trying to guage the level of emergency. I kept having to shoo them away. Meanwhile the EMS team was trying to get Kristina onto a gurney and in the ambulance while both Nicole and Marian were urging us to just wait a few more minutes for Nicole to arrive “unless you want to give birth in the ambulance”. Kristina meanwhile had grown despondent. She was in terrible pain and it was magnified ten-fold when the EMS ladies told her “it’s too late for that” when she asked that they “get me the epidural”. Still they got her up on her feet to move into the hall to get on the gurney. I insisted that they wait for Nicole. They did not like that one bit and tried to get the transport happening.  And then, like a calming breeze, Nicole appeared in the doorway. She appraised the situation and started giving everyone jobs to do. The firemen went to unload her gear. My job was to heat up towels in the dryer.

The EMS ladies seconded Nicole while she got Kristina into birthing position. Nicole began coaching her to push. Kristina focused on Nicole intently, and in between stating rather forcefully that she absolutely could not do this, executed on each piece of coaching that Nicole offered. Right around the second push or about 15 minutes in, our other mid wife Aisia arrived. Now a dynamic duo, our midwives coached and encouraged and assured Kristina right to the finish line. 3 pushes later, Eloise was born.

Now, I’ve seen Kristina operate in all manner of situations and she has given me many reasons to be proud of her, but watching her deliver our first born child in our bedroom with half of the city of Calgary firemen 10 feet away really takes the cake.

The hours following the birth are still a bit of a blur. Our midwives stayed with us until the house was back together and both Eloise and Kristina had been fed and cared for. As both of them were in good condition following birth we were able to bypass the hospital all together and try get some sleep. And so the story ends with baby Eloise asleep on my chest, Kristina at my side, and me ready for the next chapter. Incidentally the next chapter is changing diapers.

In health,


Welcome Eloise – Surprise Home Birth with Midwives & EMS
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