First on-island birth of the year happens at home in Masset

Her name is upbeat, and so are parents of the first baby born on Haida Gwaii this year.

Allegra

Allegra

Her name is upbeat, and so are parents of the first baby born on Haida Gwaii this year.

Born at home in Masset on Jan. 9, Allegra Jasmine Hooton received her first name from her mother Daniela Menendez, and her second name from her father, Gavin Hooton.

Allegra comes from a Latin word that means lively and cheerful, while Gavin chose Jasmine for the abundant, climbing jasmine they’ve seen while visiting Daniela’s family in Chile.

“Gavin was really excited about having the New Year’s baby,” said Daniela, laughing.

Both were also very excited that Daniela was able to deliver at home, thanks to local midwife Shannon Greenwood.

“It was really what I was imagining,” said Daniela, who gave birth by a cozy woodstove and later rested with Allegra in her own bed.

Daniela believes her newborn daughter may be stronger, with more bacterial immunity, after being born at home, and she was glad to have a midwife who let her follow her instincts and keep the birth as simple as she could.

“She’s great,” said Daniela of Shannon Greenwood.

“In my mind, I knew that she was there to support any decision or tell me if anything was wrong, and I would trust her.”

This January, Greenwood was named BC Midwife of the Month by the Midwives Association of B.C.

In an interview with the association, Greenwood spoke about the longstanding effort to have more babies born on island again.

Working from the Old Massett and Skidegate health centres, Greenwood and fellow registered midwife Celina Laursen offer care to all women with low-risk pregnancies on Haida Gwaii, including prenatal, labour, delivery, and early post-partum services.

“It’s especially heartwarming when we have a birth in Masset even though it is so rare,” she said.

“Birth gives such a boost to the community.”

Gavin and Daniela also gave their best wishes to Ainsley Brown and Barrett Johnson of Tow Hill, whose newborn son was also another New Year’s first for Haida Gwaii, born early New Year’s Day in Victoria.