June 28, 2008


on the occasion of one week of Mr. Sacha James Chase's time on earth, and due to very popular demand, here is an abbreviated account of why our wee one was born on the bathroom floor last Sunday night...

First of all, if you ever thought that short labour equalled easy, you are half way right... but while we appreciate that there are those of you out here that have had 30 hour labours, two-day labours, 4-day long labours, labours as long as your full gestational period of nine months, etc., please be advised: we find it hard to believe that, since everything came on so quickly, and there was the real possible need to call 911, that Kate had a "walk in the park" birth process. we prefer the term "fast and intense", thank you :)

That being out of the way, on with the show!

Sunday, 8 PM:
Kate and I were sitting on our couch enjoying a nice summer's eve and a bowl of ice cream, noting that since the baby's due date was now three weeks away, we better be a little more on the ball about getting some prep work done. Naturally, Kate's water broke right about then.

Exciting, adrenalizing, yes. panicky? a bit. But, we have heard time and time again from our mid-wifery group and our doula, Jacquie Munro that when the water breaks, it really may not mean much. In fact, it could be days before one goes into labour. It's a common belief that when the water breaks, it's go time, but it's not always the case. You may rush to the hospital, just to have to wait around for three days before you actually give birth. Both doula and midwife have, a different points during Kate's pregnancy, made the point that part of their goals as caregivers is to minimize the amount of time the expectant parents have to spend in the hospital when it comes time for labouring.And so, we called our doula and our midwife to give them the heads up, and we tried calling our parents to keep them in the round. My mum is the only one available at the time, and she's very excited.

Sunday, 9 pm:
Kate is feeling a tiny bit "crampy"

Sunday, 10:15 PM:
Kate is feeling some pain, and wonders if she's just being a weenie. As hindsight will tell us, it was obviously quite the opposite. It's not everyone that passes contraction pain off as cramps. My wife has super-human pain tolerance!!

Sunday, 10:30'ish:
Kate has had a shower, and is now experiencing some intense labour. The doula and the midwife are made aware that things appear to be moving along.

Sunday, 10:56:
Kate is in PAIN! At this point, our Doula and our midwife are taken aback at the rapid progression (as per my phone conversations with the both of them, they can hear Kate howling in the background. "She sounds like THAT? I'm already getting dressed as we speak, and coming right over. DON'T LET HER PUSH!". We know baby is on its way, and Kate is working VERY hard not to push. Still not convinced within herself that she could already be in the second stage of labour and birth, Kate is going mental over the thought that this pain could last for hours on end before finally hitting the birthing stage. Once again, she's thinking she's a weenie.

At this point, Kate is on all floors on the bathroom floor, with next to no time between contractions, and certainly no opportunity to move elsewhere. Nellie the dog, in the meantime, sits on her mat outside the bathroom door, seemingly unfazed by this entire circus. Little does Nellie know, I'm under instructions to call 911 if Kate simply cannot hold of pushing any longer.

Sunday, 11:15 PM:

Both Jacquie, our doula, and Allison, our midwife, arrive at the house at the same time. Jacqie goes straight to Kate's head to help support her and keep her breathing. Allison, after a very quick physical check, announces that this baby will be born right here at home. Moments later, another midwife, Kat, arrives to give backup to Allison.
"Would you like to give birth in the bathroom, or some other room?" she asks Kate calmly.
"Here's fine!", responds Kate through gasps and gritted teeth. Allison still needs about ten minutes to get her gear set up, and Kate is still not allowed to push.

Sunday, 11:21 PM:
the phone rings. Unbelievably, I answer it, thinking it might be Kate's mum.
It is not.
It is my sister, who lives in England and she's heard from my mum that Kate's water has broken (clearly by now, that ship has long since sailed).
"Hello?!" I say, perhaps not in my calmest voice at this point.
"Oh F*@K!"
She says, "I didn't think you'd be here! I thought you'd be on your way to the hospital!"
"NO! We're Here! in the bathroom!"
"What?! F**K! S**T!"
"She's having the baby here! we couldn't get out!"
Kate interjects from the floor..."HANG UP THE PHONE!!!!"
"Gotta go, love you, bye!"
"F**K! Okay! Bye!"

Sunday, 11:25 PM:
Kate is allowed to push on her next contraction, and pretty much right away, the baby's head appears.
Sunday, 11:29 PM
One last push needed. Nellie runs downstairs, grabs a toy full of dog food, and comes back to the bathroom door to drop it. At that same moment, Sacha James Chase is brought into the world, fills his lungs with air, and lets out his first screams. Needless to say, we can't quite believe what's just happened. Neither can the bath mat underneath Kate, I'm sure of it. Within a minute, I've been set up to lean against the bathtub, a pillow in front of me, and Kate is leaned back into my arms, little Sacha is put on her chest to be skin on skin with his new mum for the first time, and we begin calling family to tell them the good news.

Fast forwarding a bit, Kate required a few stitches, thanks to Sacha's torpedo entrance into the world, and the job is done on our bed, to which we have now been moved.

Within an hour and a bit of the baby being born, we are both in our own bed, being served tea, toast and fruit slices by Jacquie. Within two hours, we are left alone to settle in with our newborn son. Within four hours, tired and still amazed, we are watching the sun rise on a world that God has changed for us completely and wonderfully.
Now THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how you have a baby!!! obviously this is the short, PG version of events, and I will simply sum up the birth story by saying it was the most crazy amazing thing I've ever been a part of. I just pray it never happens quite like that again!!! The speed we can go for. The uncertainty we can do without.
So here we are a week later. We admit to being complete home birth converts, and unless our next child (a few years down the road at least, God willing) has complications, we will absolutely plan to have the baby here. We thought the exceptional care being given to us by our midwives and our doula leading up to this point was fantastic enough. The fact that we realized a drug-free, comfortable birth, in our home, even when there was a high level of uncertainty initially involved...well, it has put us right over the top. Why bother with a hospital, in unfamiliar surroundings with unfamiliar nurses and other staff, where the chance of getting unnecessary medical intervention is just that much higher, when we can have it all happen safely in our own home, and be in our own bed an hour after the birth with a warm cup of tea and some sliced fruit and cheese. And hey, in this green era, think of how carbon neutral this birth was! we didn't burn fuel driving to the hospital, nor back of course. We didn't expend thousands of dollars of tax payer money by taking up a hospital bed space, and, since this baby came so early that we didn't even have time to by a few rounds of disposable diapers to supplement the cloth diapers we're using, we've had to start using the cloth right away! No garbage here! Uhhh... I digress...and okay, if a home birth ain't for you, at least get a midwife! They have four full years of training in obstetrics. rest assured, as qualified as your GP may be, he doesn't have nearly that much time dealing with birth! Birth is all a midwife knows and does. You can't go wrong! did I mentioned it's covered under the provincial medical services plan? Did I mention the first week after the birth they come to the house for near-daily follow up visits? And as for a doula...well... invaluable support, thank you so much Jacquie! you can easily put your trust in a woman who's not just witnessed, but who has been a part of, well over 700 births! there's more knowledge there than Carter has liver pills, to borrow an expression of my mothers...
Well, that's enough of our preachings. Oh, did I mention midwives, doulas, and home births good? great? got it? okay then, I'll shut up. Thanks to everyone for the flood of calls, emails, and well-wishes during this past amazing, hectic, tiring, fantastic week. We feel every one of the blessings you've sent on, and we are so grateful for them. As I think I've said a few times this week, it may take a village to raise a child, but knowing that the village truly cares is an amazing feeling.

Sacha is doing very well, eating like mad, sleeping like a rock, and generally being
a complete joy.

June 23, 2008

Dear Sacha James Chase,

First of all, welcome to all 6 lbs, 12 oz. of you. Your arrival is something we have been looking forward to for more than nine months. What’s more, you are finally the reality of something we dreamed about years ago. You arrived kicking and screaming on June 22nd, 2008 at 11:29 in the PM (delivered to us on our own bathroom floor, much to our great surprise,but that's another story) and while we won’t care much to put up with that kind of noise when you’re a bit older, rest assured the first time we heard it, it was the most incredible sound in all the world.

And what a world it is. Your mom and dad enjoy being here, but make no mistake; it’s no perfect place to be. People do pretty nasty things to one another sometimes. There’s guns and bombs that get used on our planet, and they hurt. People use words against each other, too, and those can hurt just the same as weapons. At times, you might think they hurt even worse.

There’s political strife all over the place. Starvation and poverty in parts of the world you’ve never heard of and may never go to. There’s poverty at home, too. We have disparity between rich and poor, obvious to the extreme just blocks away from where you were born. Our environment is increasingly at risk. We are all too reliant on machines that fill the air with fumes, too reliant on conveniences that fill our dumps with garbage that will outlast you a thousand, thousand times over. Old, white men control way too much of the world’s wealth and power. Men in general hold more wealth and power still.

There are all kinds of religions out there: one God, many Gods, no Gods… people have all sorts of opinions and beliefs, and sometimes they fight over them. Believe in one if you want, or not. Be sure to believe in yourself though, that’s important. As for what your parents believe? You’re a miracle, and miracles don’t come from nowhere.

Let’s talk sports for a second. There are all sorts of games to be played. We don’t need you to be a champion at any of them, but you have to have fun, and you have to play your whole life through. We’re pretty sure you need to at least try kayaking—it’s kind of in the family. Afterthought: if you want to be a champion at something, make sure it pays well, so that you can fund our retirement for us.

Your names: What’s in a name, Shakespeare mused (you’ll learn about that guy sometime down the road) Well, in your case, your first name we just liked the sound of. the second name, James, is pretty common on your dad's side of the family, but mostly, it is a tribute to the grandfather that you will only be able to know through spirit and story, but know him you will. We hope you possess many of his better qualities.

I don’t want to ramble on too long with this, so let me throw a whole bunch of things at you at once:

People will come and go from your life. Some will be your best friends, some will be friends that seem to come and go, some people won’t like you at all and you won’t like other people. The latter of these people will eventually go away, though, so don’t sweat it too much. Some people you will want to have with you, always, but they will go none the less. They might die, or they might move, and it hurts, but that’s just how it is. Some people will not leave physically, but they will leave emotionally. They might stop loving you, or you might stop loving them. And you know what? It’s all okay. Love is never a mistake, and whether you’re diving into it or falling out of it, it’s getting you to where you need to end up.

Oh, there are these other people. People we call ‘family’. Some are immediate, like us as your parents, others are extended. They are the best people and worst people all rolled into one. And unlike other people, they do not go away. We will leave it at that, and let you experience it for yourself (not to worry, kiddo, it’s pretty much all good!).

Random thoughts: Eat your vegetables, they're good for you. Buy Local if you can. Don't be afraid of dogs; they'll just smell your fear and bark at you. scraped knees hurt, but they heal, so feel free to get a little reckless now and again (not too much though!). Your mother brought you into this world drug-free. Return the favour by staying that way, or we'll ground you for life. Ask your mom for math and science homework help, ask your dad for finger painting and creative writing help.

alright, I'm rambling back on track.

The natural world around you is an incomprehensible wonder. No matter how emotionally wrecked you may be at some point, no matter how frustrated you may be with the way the world is being run, no matter how hopeless existence may seem at times, the right sunrise, sunset, or long gaze up at the stars on a clear night, can stop you in your tracks, and make you forget everything you ever hated about life.

You will pass through moments that are surreal, wonderful moments. It may be a mental stimulus that puts you there, or physical, or spiritual. It may be all those things at once. You may share it with other people around you, or you may have that moment all to yourself, and you will feel blessed to have it just for you. And yet, you wish you could share that moment with the entire world.

Seeing the arrival of your child into the world is perhaps one of those moments.

But now we’re getting ahead of ourselves, aren’t we? We have a bit of time to get to know each other before that’s something that you’ll experience. For now, that surreal, wonderful moment belongs to us.

Love always,
Your new parents