Dani Kelly, RHN

"The evidence for nutritional therapy is becoming so strong that if the doctors of today don’t become nutritionists, the nutritionists will become the doctors of tomorrow." – Anonymous Irish Doctor

Emeric’s Birth Story

On February 26th, I woke up in Queenstown to another grey and white late-winter morning.  Snow started falling softly, and then more fiercely, and another foot rapidly accumulated on the already-six-foot banks out of which we New Brunswickers had tentatively carved paths and roads and lives during the previous several months.  A winter wonderland.

When my husband and kids woke up, I told them how much I hoped not to receive the call from Dani on this day of the last (surely the last?) major snow-storm of the year.  Seconds later, my phone chirped with the text message from Dani.  She was in the birth process—entering the veil—and I had to leave. 

I packed my birth kit, dug my car out of the driveway, and by early afternoon, I had set off.  We live in a little rural hamlet, and to reach the highway that would take me to Woodstock, I have to pass over pitted roads, through field and forest.  At the crest of a steep hill, before the village of Gagetown, the snow paused, and the clouds parted, and through a break in the trees, a column of sun streamed across the road, illuminating the horizon, the river in the distance, the leafless branches, in one slow motion moment of glory.  It was beautiful, and I couldn’t help the wave of gratitude and joy that flooded over me: it felt like a visitation, and a sign, that the birth of this baby was being blessed.   

Dani is one of those great beauties, who nonetheless carries herself in a way that makes it seem as though she might not know how just how stunning she is.  She has an attitude and a countenance that strikes one, on first meeting, as airy and fun—which she is!—but when one gets to know her, it becomes clear just how thoughtful, substantive, brave and curious she is.  Dani’s first two daughters had been born in the hospital, both arriving a few days before the date they were expected.  But every pregnancy, and every birth is different, and this new baby was taking their time to come to earth.  During each meeting we had had prenatally, the closer time moved to the birth-day of this new baby, the more I expected that Dani would unload what must be her intense frustration at being almost 42 weeks pregnant—like most of us do!  Never.  She remained serene and gracious throughout the entirety of her very long pregnancy.  

When I arrived, Dani was sitting on her sofa like a goddess with a Mona Lisa smile, while her sweet and spirited daughters jumped around.  Colin, her caring husband was there, and their stunning high-ceilinged, open-plan home was tidy and warm.  Dani’s sensations were still quite mild, but I could see that she was entering that floating primal world of birth.  Rylan, Dani’s oldest daughter, was wired and excited, and I sensed that Dani would appreciate some time alone with Colin, and their younger daughter Norah.  By this time, my husband Lee and our kids had followed me to Carleton County and were staying in Florenceville, just a short drive from Dani and Colin’s, so I suggested to take Rylan back to Florenceville with me to watch a movie with my crew.  

Rylan and I had a great time chatting in the car on the way to Florenceville, and my kids were thrilled to see her.  I ended up falling asleep while they watched their movie, and when Lee woke me up close to midnight, the kids were all sleeping on the sofa.  Dani had texted me to let me know that the birth was picking up, so I woke Rylan, and she was immediately bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, eager to get back to see her mum, and to witness the birth of her new sibling. 

Dani and Colin’s house, set back from the road, looked magical as we approached from the dark road—fairy lights in the window and everything aglow.  It felt even more magical as we entered, leaving the frigid end-of-winter behind, and I really got the sense that the whole place was encircled in a warm halo of trust, and love.  Upstairs, Dani was sitting on the sofa again, and although her sensations were quiet, I could see that she was hazy; enveloped in the mist of the birth-dance. 

Gail, Dani’s mother was there.  I had only met Gail briefly before, but it was clear that her presence was entirely positive: gentle, trusting of the process, helpful and practical.  When Dani experienced another, stronger sensation, Gail gathered Norah and Rylan, and took them to bed.  I too decided to get some sleep before the baby’s arrival, and as I tiptoed upstairs, I peeked around the corner to see Gail, Norah and Rylan lying like sardines in Rylan’s single bed, giggling and whispering, the three of them, like it was Christmas eve—awaiting their new little love.

I fell asleep immediately and deeply, but woke at 4:15 am to the sounds of birth—deep primal sounds.  Not the sound of fear, or anxiety, but of strength and power; guttural sounds.  The sound of a baby coming down.  I rolled out of bed to the see Dani coming out of the shower, being helped by Colin, heading towards the birth pool.  Gail had woken up as well, and she floated over, ready with towels.  Dani stepped into the water, and I turned to the table to arrange some of my kit.  “I think I need to push”, said Dani, and I turned around, to see Dani slightly raised up in the pool, and another sensation, but quieter this time, as a beautiful little golden baby swam out, and up into his mother’s arms, at 4:24 am, the 27th of February. Colin was there, holding the space with perfect, gentle support, and I think he was teary when his so-very-wanted, adored, loved son emerged.  “It’s a boy!  He’s a boy!  Colin, he’s a little boy!”  exclaimed Dani, elated; euphoric. “I did it!  I did it.  All my dreams have come true.”  And that made me cry.

Colin and Gail helped Dani out of the pool and into the cozy bed.  Rylan and Norah woke up, and immediately gathered to adore and cuddle their tiny little brother, snuggling close to him and their mum, with dad and their grandmother too.  Everyone just stayed there, in that sacred place of witnessing: encountering their boy for the first time: son, brother, grandson.  The little baby nursed almost right away, and after the placenta was birthed easily, and the bedsheets were changed, we quickly weighed the tiny bundle, and he was almost seven pounds.  A beautiful, strong, perfect little angel.

I think it took Dani a few years to become comfortable with the idea of home birth, but when it came down to it, I don’t think I have seen a mother more centred, determined, or, at the moment of birth, more in tune with her body, or trusting of the experience.  

Love to you Dani, Colin, Rylan, Norah & Emeric

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