Welcome to the world Nala Galt

Weighing eight pounds and four ounces, Nala Mae Galt was born on Jan. 2 at 10:15 a.m.

Nala means “first drink in the desert,” and she is also the first baby born in San Juan County in 2023.

“The biggest struggles are, by far, the emotional ones, and the instant change to momma and papa bear,” mother Celia Roth said. “Feeling so protective of our little cub, trying not to miss a beat and just loving so hard that it hurts.”

Roth and her partner Austin Galt have known each other most, if not all, of their lives. Their parents, long-time islanders Donny and Sarah Galt and Mary Uri and Kevin Roth were friends long before their kids were born let alone became a couple.

Although Roth and Galt attended Friday Harbor High School together, it wasn’t until about three years ago they began seeing each other in a different light.

The couple opted to have a home birth with midwife Blythe Parker in order to remain in a comforting familiar environment. Home birth also meant they did not have to deal with ferries, hotels or hospital overnights, especially around the holiday season.

Roth began having contractions on New Year’s Day, however, they subsided, only to return early in the morning on Jan 2. The labor itself lasted approximately five hours, but Parker and her assistant Heather Belt stayed with the family for 12 hours.

“Home birth was amazing, it was an amazing experience,” Roth said.

Many parents with low-risk pregnancies contemplate home birth because they want to avoid the high-tech atmosphere and medical interventions of a hospital.

Others prefer the lower cost, freedom and ability to spend the labor with loved ones, more control over birth decisions, more privacy and increased bonding with the baby.

Seeing the trio together, it is clear that in a matter of days, they have not only bonded, but the family is also already forming a routine together.

Part of that routine has meant losing the ability to run out the door when it’s time to leave, and instead taking a moment to ensure their sweet cub has everything she needs beforehand, including feeding and diaper changes.

When asked if they have been surprised by anything regarding parenting so far, Galt mentioned expecting his daughter to have more difficulty sleeping. Nala has been a good sleeper right from the start, waking up around twice a night on average.

“I thought that sleeping would be an issue, but no, it’s been very manageable,” said Galt.

For Roth, it has been a very different experience than what others had told her. No one can be prepared for parenthood until they are a parent, after all.

Being the first baby born in 2023, Nala is also the winner of the Journal’s Annual Baby Derby. San Juan businesses have stepped in to welcome her, and congratulate parents Roth and Galt,with an array of prizes, including gift certificates from Kings, Friday Harbor Drug, Ace Hardware, Be Chic, and tickets to the San Juan Community Theatre.

Welcome to the world little Nala!