Alaina Maaki Kakkik, the newest little citizen of Pangnirtung, has the honour this year of being declared Baby New Year.
Mom Eva Kakkik said the birth, which took place at Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit, was easy for her.
“All pregnancies and labours are not the same … This one was very, surprisingly, easy,” said Kakkik, who had previously birthed five children, two of whom are adopted to family members.
Kakkik said she started feeling contractions in the early morning. But when she went to the hospital around 10 a.m., she was sent home. She’d come just a bit too early.
“I was told my labour had just started,” she said.
Kakkik returned to the hospital around 4:30 p.m. and gave birth to Alaina at 7:26 p.m., who weighed in at 8 lb. 7 oz.
Mothers travelling to give birth are now allowed to have an escort, but Kakkik opted out.
“Usually we are sent a month before our due date. I spent at least a month in Iqaluit waiting for the arrival of our baby,” said Kakkik.
“I chose not to have an escort as I didn’t want to leave my kids alone at home. My common-law stayed home with the kids. I was worried they would spend Christmas and New Year’s without both parents. I couldn’t let that happen.”
Thankfully, Kakkik’s mother lives in Iqaluit, so she wasn’t entirely alone.
Alaina is named after her grandmother Maaki.
“I surprised my mother by giving Alaina a middle name, as my mother’s,” Kakkik said.
She says her three children, waiting patiently at home, “were very happy and excited.”
“They couldn’t wait to meet her. As soon as we came home … everyone adores her. All they want to do is give her hugs and kisses,” she said.
Alaina is not much of a crier, said her mom, but when she does cry, she cries hard.
“She is sleeping most of the time and when she’s awake she’s not constantly crying, which is very surprising. She’s just alert and awake, looking at her surroundings,” said Kakkik.
The Department of Health was not aware of any other babies born earlier than Alaina, though it is possible that a child from Nunavut was born earlier in Ottawa, Yellowknife, Winnipeg, or Edmonton.