Ice Ice Baby
updated 10/22/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 10/22/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Sept. 30, 2007
7 lbs. 0 oz.
A week before giving birth on Sept. 30, Canadian Olympic skating champ Jaime Salé was still on the ice, gliding around even though "I could barely get my feet into my skates," she says. But performing with her husband and pairs partner, David Pelletier, came to a stop back in April. "He got really anxious after my ultrasound at 12 weeks, when we could see the baby's heartbeat," says Salé, 30. Though they got their doctor's okay to finish out the last few weeks of the Stars on Ice tour, "David was thinking every time he lifted me, 'That's my child inside of there.'" Adds Pelletier, 32: "I'm her protector; I can't throw her in the air when she's 3 1/2 months pregnant! I was on an antacid diet!"
Luckily, the rest of the pregnancy passed at a lower level of difficulty for the couple, who finished second in 2002 but were awarded a gold medal due to an Olympic vote-rigging scandal. Their son Jesse Joe (Jesse because it's easy to pronounce in French and English, and Joe after David's late grandfather) arrived after 7 1/2 hours of labor, which were spent at the hospital "watching sports on TV," says Salé. "David kept asking, 'Is there anything I can do?' He felt so helpless, but he was there for me, squeezing my hand the whole time." Says her husband of two years and skating partner since 1998: "I knew Jaime was a little piece of iron, but she blew me away [during the delivery]. If I had to give her a technical mark, it would be perfect."
Four days later, while Mom went to dinner with friends, Jesse and his dad shared their first essential father-son bonding ritual—in Canada anyway—by watching a hockey game on TV together. "David's already told the Edmonton Oilers that Jesse's draft year is 2024 or 2025," says Salé with a laugh. But Mom might have other ideas. "Jesse sleeps with his arms over his head, just like David," she says. "He's getting ready to lift someone, just like his father."