The Ahousaht First Nation’s newest member made an epic grand entrance last week.
Unwilling to wait another two months for his due date, Troy Johnson Atleo Jr. entered the world on an Ahousaht dock on Family Day, Feb. 18.
“The experience was scary. It all happened so quick. I was in shock with how he arrived,” mom Kazz Thomas-Atleo told the Black Press Media from Victoria, where Jr. is doing well at the Victoria General Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.
There is no hospital in the small island community, located a roughly 30-minute boat ride away from Tofino. Tofino General Hospital has not offered obstetrical services since 2008.
Kazz and her husband, Troy Thomas-Atleo, had planned to welcome their new baby at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, but weren’t expecting him to arrive nine weeks early.
“My plan was for, in four to five weeks, to move to Nanaimo to wait to have my son, but he obviously couldn’t wait…He was actually born on the back of his dad’s delivery work truck. I was on a stretcher.”
She said she began having contractions around 7 a.m. and initially believed she was just having routine pains, but the pain continued to become stronger and more frequent. She was about to begin preparing breakfast when she realized she was bleeding. First responders were immediately called and Kazz was told it was time to head out.
“I tried going downstairs to get ready and couldn’t. They got a stretcher and carried me out to the back of the truck and we drove down Mattie’s dock and was ready to get carried off. I yelled, ‘Baby’s coming out! He pretty much just came out in my PJs on the board in his sack.”
She said there were no tools around to cut the umbilical cord, so responders who had arrived used a shoelace to tie it off and the team rode the boat to Tofino.
“It was scary. I heard him cry and they passed him to me and they carried me to the boat. He was crying in my arms, moving around the whole way down to Tofino.”
They made it to Tofino General Hospital where she and her new son received care for several hours before being transported to Victoria.
She has since been discharged, but her son was still being treated there on Sunday night.
“My son is doing amazing,” beamed Kazz, adding she’s excited to bring him home to Ahousaht to meet his five older siblings. “Troy Jr. has a big family waiting at home to meet him.”