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Ahousaht parents welcome new baby boy at Tofino General Hospital

Eric Vincent Ernest Russell was born on Aug. 29, 2018 at a precious five pounds, four ounces.
Shay’lene David cradles her new born son Eric, born at the Tofino General Hospital on Aug. 29, 2018. (Marcie Callewaert Photo)

Marcie Callewaert

Special to the Westerly

It’s a rare occurrence now to hear of a birth at the Tofino General Hospital.

On Aug. 29 at 5:47 p.m., parents Shay’lene David and Anthony Peter Williams Jr. welcomed Eric Vincent Ernest Russell to the world at a precious five pounds, four ounces.

David herself was born at Tofino General too.

The family is from Ahousaht and as per typical medical protocol for the coast, they had settled in Port Alberni well before David’s due date.

David had only returned to Ahousaht for what was to be less than 24 hours to take care of an important appointment for one of her sons with the doctor in Ahousaht.

She told the Westerly News with laughter how she had been eating chilli and hot wings with friends Tuesday night and late the next morning, on Aug. 29, she started feeling cramps.

It was only when they were waiting at the doctor’s office that she realized they might actually be contractions.

The doctor in Ahousaht, who was to be seeing her son, did an exam and cleared her for travel to Tofino, but rather than wait for the next scheduled boat, a boat was chartered for her to get her to Tofino sooner.

Her Uncle George was the skipper.

Himself a father, he helped coach David’s breathing, but she said she ended up laughing a lot too.

David’s two older sons, David - three years, and Tony - one year, are very excited for their younger brother and facetimed with their mom and newest sibling from Ahousaht just a few hours after his birth.

David recalled, laughing again, how young David had asked her, “If it was time for [her] baby to fall out yet?” while she packed a few things before heading to the dock to catch her boat to Tofino.

Most of her clothing and baby supplies were still in their unit in Port Alberni where the birth was expected to take place.

Tofino General Hospital hasn’t done planned deliveries since 2008, but the hospital’s atmosphere certainly was joyous with the new unexpected arrival.

Caesarean Section and epidurals are not available to birthing mothers in Tofino, amplifying some of the risk factors to giving birth on the coast.

READ: Baby born in Tofino (Westerly News, July 4, 2017)