This post was written by Richard Valenti, one of our editors at Salt +Light. He has been with S+L since the beginning. He and his wife, former S+L producer Mary Rose Bacani, welcomed their second child over the holidays.
It was a dark and stormy night. The night of Toronto's worst ice storm. Inside the house, I was madly preparing for something far scarier for me than the ice storm. My wife was about to give birth at home to our second child! How does one really prepare for a home birth, which we've never done before? At 12:30 in the morning of Sunday, December 22nd, my wife told me it was time and that the midwives were coming. I hurriedly moved the desk, linens and other materials for the birth to our bedroom. At 1:30 am, it was all about waiting for the midwives to arrive.
At 2 am, they arrived. They apologized that the drive to our place took twice as long because of it. Power was going on and off throughout the city. Do I have flashlights, they asked while assembling their equipment. Yes, I nervously said, hoping that we wouldn't be giving birth in darkness. Then our primary midwife examined my wife and said, "In less than an hour, your child will be born."
My wife was amazing; she was calm throughout the whole labour, although I knew it was so painful for her. In fact, there was such a peacefulness inside our home despite the raging storm outside. At 2:55 am, our baby girl Gianna was born, and my wife's first words right after were, "Go get Chiara." Our first child Chiara was sleeping in her room, and we knew she would want to see her baby sister right away.
So there we were, in the safety of our home, together as a family, and in our pajamas! There was a serenity and warmth about everything. We didn't have to stay overnight in a hospital while Chiara was somewhere else, and then have to travel back home on icy roads. Chiara was also able to kiss her newly-arrived baby sister and enjoy time with her. Soon after the midwives left, we all huddled together around the baby and fell asleep.
I was thinking of how two days later, we would be celebrating the birth of Jesus. I felt I could relate a little bit to Joseph. He must have been nervous about the birth, too! But I felt that I experienced some of the atmosphere at Jesus' birth -- the naturalness, privacy and peace about it all. We were blessed to have been able to enjoy the birth experience. It was a great Christmas moment, a wonderful Christmas gift.
(Photo: Richard Valenti)