Mother Cassandra Laforest-Roy, and father Nick Piquette with baby Roman Laforest, Carol Couchie and Rachel Dennis.
Photo courtesy of: Allison Roberts, Darkwoods Photography.

By Kelly Anne Smith

NIPISSING FIRST NATION—The miracle of life has taken place on Nipissing First Nation territory with the birth of Roman. The arrival of Roman Laforest marks the first birth on Nipissing First Nation at a midwifery clinic with culturally appropriate child and maternity care.

Father Nick Piquette was by Roman’s mother’s side, Cassandra Laforest-Roy.

A mother and daughter midwife team of Carol Couchie and Rachel Dennis helped ensure a safe arrival. Rachel announced Roman was born at 3:54 P.M. with a good birth without complication.

“He was her first baby and she a young mom of 20,” shared Dennis.

Cassandra and Nick arrived at the clinic at 10:30 A.M. with Carol Couchie with Rachel attending shortly after. Second Attendant Jane Collins assisted.

The K’Tigaaning Midwifery Clinic is on Couchie Industrial Road, right beside Necessities, on Nipissing First Nation (NFN). Their doors have been open since November 2016.

Rachel and Carol are NFN community members and very proud to be supporting the growth of Nipissing First Nation.

“It’s been over a year long process in making the birthing clinic,” stated Couchie. “Our plan has always been to have the practice on reserve.”

Carol has assisted a home birth on Nipissing First Nation as well.

There will be follow-up visits for the mother to receive medical advice on mothering and breastfeeding.

Rachel Dennis gives praise to Nadine Payette, Natalie Payette-Chevrier, and Doug Chevrier for making the birthing centre a reality on NFN.

“We were given Natalie Payette-Chevrier and Doug Chevrier’s number saying that professional office space was available,” shared Dennis. “The location is very close to the hospital. They were really great with us.”

The midwives are excited about being one of six clinics chosen to receive funding through Ontario’s new Aboriginal Midwifery Program to preserve communities.

The K’Tigaaning Midwifery Clinic is considered a priority designation for midwifery students coming from universities such as Ryerson, Laurentian, and McMaster for opportunities with prioritizing Indigenous students.