Gabriel with lamb from Ireland

My post last week was supposed to just be a teaser, immediately followed by a post containing more details about Gabriel’s birth. Then things got busy and now a week has slipped by. So, even thought it’s a little later than I intended, here’s an update.

I guess the first thing is to formally announce that Elisabeth and I now have a son, Gabriel James Norris. Many people didn’t know we were pregnant, as we only shared that with family and a handful of close friends at the time. But here he is, as healthy and sweet as can be.

He was born last week on February 3rd (exactly one week before his expected due date) at a planned home birth. The birth itself went very smoothly; Elisabeth woke up around 7am with early labor pains. Our midwife came over in the afternoon for a normal follow-up appointment, and determined that Elisabeth was definitely in the beginning stages of labor. Active labor lasted for about 8 hours, and he was out at 9:15pm after just a few pushes, right into my hands. Let me tell you, catching your own child as he is born is a pretty amazing experience!

Now, a week and half into things, we’re all doing really well. Elisabeth has been on bed rest while she was recovering, but is now able to be up and about a lot more. Gabe has been having a little trouble latching on while nursing, partially due to a lip and tongue tie. We took him to the dentist this past week to have a frenectomy done, where they used a laser to release both ties. He’s still having a bit of trouble latching, but it’s been a marked improvement. In the meantime, we’ve been hand feeding him breast milk with a syringe and small tube. We’re doing that instead of a bottle for now in the hopes that it will make transitioning back to the breast a little easier. He’s still not gaining as much weight as we would like to see, but we’re confident we’ll get there. But hand feeding also means that we can share the job of feeding, which has been a nice break for Elisabeth, and has given me more bonding time with Gabe, which is great.

Finally, we also did two newborn photo shoots this week, trying to capture this brief moment in his life while we can. The video below and photos throughout this post are from the first shoot we did on Monday with Monica Michelle, who we absolutely love and have been working with all throughout and even before the pregnancy.

(A small note to family: please don’t print these photos… they’re relatively low resolution versions that we uploaded just for web viewing. We have much higher resolution copies that are more suitable for printing, and promise that we will get those to you.)

And finally, a huge thank you to our birth team: our midwife Sharon Economides, our secondary midwife Heather Briggs, our doula Natalie Anderson, and our birth photographer Stephanie Morgan. Thanks to Lori Ismail at Blossom Birth who, in combination with all of the preparation we received from Sharon, really helped educate us to make well-informed decisions regarding every aspect of this birth. And also to Daniella Dayoub who has spent the last year and half getting Elisabeth (and me) on track physically and nutritionally. We have no doubt that the pregnancy and birth went as smoothly as it did thanks to all of the preparation that was done beforehand. I specifically mention each one of these people because they are all amazing at their jobs, and I would heartily recommend them for anyone that requires any of their services.

While I don’t have any direct experience with hospital births to compare this to, I couldn’t imagine a more peaceful and natural birth than we had with this team. From our previous research, and now our own firsthand experience, Elisabeth and I are both big believers in home birth for those families for whom it is an option. I suspect that either or both of us will likely talk more about that in future posts.