By Sue Tiffin
The newest resident of Haliburton has arrived – Claire Ashley Cox was born on Jan. 26, making her the first Haliburton resident to be born this year under the care of the Midwifery Services of Haliburton-Bancroft – but she was almost born on Jan. 30.
Claire’s parents, Krista and Kenny, arrived at the Peterborough hospital for Krista’s scheduled c-section on Jan. 26, and were greeted by a porter.
“She dropped us off on the wrong floor and left us, we were trying to find labour and delivery at 6:30 in the morning in Peterborough,” laughed Krista, as she shared Claire’s birth story with the Echo. The pair eventually found the nurse’s station.
“They were all excited, we were about 20 minutes late,” said Krista. Then, after both Krista and Kenny were gowned, and Krista’s IV had started, the doctor arrived and, apologizing, said her due date suggested the surgery should take place at the 39th week – which would be on Saturday. Krista and Kenny were able to consult with hospital staff and their midwives, but ultimately the decision of which day Claire would arrive came down to them.
“Do we wait four more days?,” asked Krista of the decision the couple had to make. “We’ve already got our son looked after, our dog looked after, our mindset – we’re having a baby, and I’m already hooked up on the IV.”
In the end, Kenny and Krista gave their consent for the surgery that day, and Claire arrived weighing seven pounds and 11 ounces at 8:49 a.m.
“Glad we did, because now she’s the first baby in Haliburton!” Krista laughed. “It was funny, the other night when we were up the first night she was fussy at home, I thought, ‘oh, if we had’ve waited until Saturday, I’d be sleeping right now.’”
Though later into the month than most New Year’s babies, Krista said the acknowledgement that Claire is the first baby of the year in Haliburton for the midwives was special.
“It’s exciting for us, it will be nice to put the clipping in her baby book,” she said.
As for Claire, she’s doing well, with chubby cheeks and a unique newborn look compared to her family members.
“She looks nothing like Kenny and I, compared to my son, but they change so fast,” said Krista. “She’s got dark hair, blue eyes. My son, he’s bleach blonde, I was bleach blonde as a baby, my husband had blonde hair as a baby, but my mom said when I was born I had dark, dark hair, and then I lost it all and the blonde came in, so that’s what we’re hoping for her.”
As for two-and-a-half year old Wesley, now a big brother, he’s also learning to celebrate his new baby sister.
“He tries to help,” said Krista. “He was afraid of her at the beginning but now he’s coming around. He cries when she cries. We’re hoping he’ll get over that soon. He covers his ears … but sometimes you catch him, he doesn’t have his ears covered.”
Krista, a personal support worker at Highland Wood long-term care home, and Kenny, a forest firefighter for Ministry of Natural Resources Forestry and volunteer firefighter for Algonquin Highlands, met after a rodeo and have been living here for about five years.
Krista, who has three older brothers and said her mom didn’t have another baby after she had a girl, suspected she might do the same now that she has Claire.
And why the name Claire?
“We just thought it was a pretty name,” said Krista, adding that Ashley, Claire’s middle name, is her maiden name. Wesley’s middle name is John, a name shared by both Krista and Kenny’s dads.
Baby Claire is being celebrated by grandparents Sue and John Ashley, who moved to Haliburton from Flamborough during Krista’s first pregnancy, Wendy and Mike Tanner from Cochrane and John and Kate Cox from Timmins.
The week following Claire’s birth has seen few visits, because of Ontario’s stay-at-home order currently in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but that has given the new family time to be together.
“It was kind of nice and quiet,” said Krista.
The first baby born in Haliburton County – Hunter Boesveld – was born in Minden on Jan. 8.
Stephanie Simon, registered midwife with the Midwifery Services of Haliburton-Bancroft, said that while January is a light month this year – possibly due to the beginning of the pandemic – the rest of 2021 will “definitely make up for it.” Babies expected to join the world in January are mostly from the Bancroft area, with many new additions from Minden. The first new resident in Highlands East is expected in late February.
Last year, the local midwives provided support to 98 clients and 99 babies – 53 from Haliburton County, with 26 being born at home, two in a hotel and 70 in hospital.
“Although 2021 is off to a slow start in terms of expected births, the majority of 2021 is above average for birth numbers,” said Simon. “For comparison, 99 babies in 2020, whereas 2021 January to August is already above 90. And that’s with January numbers being lower than expected.”
The Midwifery Services of Haliburton-Bancroft has been encouraging residents to call as early as possible in pregnancy to avoid being put on a waiting list.
“We continue to do our best to provide care to those who call as we are cognizant that maternity care options are limited within the county,” said Simon.
She said the past year was a busy one for the practice, with midwives joining and leaving the team, as well as the ever-changing days of pandemic.
“It’s hard to believe that many of the families who are having babies now will never have seen their midwives faces without masks,” said Simon. “And likewise, we haven’t seen the full faces of some clients until they’re in labour. We know that the changes haven’t been easy for our clients and our community but we do want to thank everyone for the support. Especially thank you to all of the families who had to adjust to changing guidelines for appointments, ultrasounds and birth – for waiting in your car instead of the waiting room, adapting to phone appointments, arranging childcare for your visits, having limited access for hospital visitors and for taking the lack of laughing gas for labour in stride – don’t worry, it’s back. And now, more than ever, thank you for staying home.”
For more information about the Midwifery Services of Haliburton-Bancroft, visit mshb.ca or call 705-457-9992.