Yellowknife mother describes ‘traumatic experience’ of having to travel to Alberta to give birth | CBC News


Shene Catholique-Valpy was almost seven months pregnant when she realized she wasn’t going to have the ability to ship her fourth child at Yellowknife’s Stanton Territorial Hospital. 

In November, the Northwest Territories Well being and Social Companies Authority announced it would temporarily suspend most services at its obstetrics unit from Dec. 10 to Feb. 21 attributable to a scarcity of employees, and that nearly everybody could be transferred to Edmonton to offer beginning. 

The choice was shocking and disappointing for Catholique-Valpy, who lives in Yellowknife. Although pregnant individuals in smaller N.W.T. communities typically journey to offer beginning, these in Yellowknife historically haven’t needed to go away town to ship their infants. 

“This can be a main hospital the place individuals come right here to offer beginning,” she mentioned. “You by no means suppose that residing right here, we’d be compelled to be displaced down in Alberta or wherever else to offer beginning as a result of we did not have sufficient assets right here at our personal hospital.” 

Birthing companies have now resumed at Stanton for all N.W.T. residents, the well being authority mentioned Tuesday. Nunavut residents who would usually journey to Yellowknife to ship infants will proceed to must journey to Alberta for now, although companies will resume for this group “as quickly as attainable.”

After listening to that announcement, Catholique-Valpy mentioned it is unhappy Nunavut residents will nonetheless have to go elsewhere to offer beginning. She was one in all dozens of people that had their birthing plans upended by the closure.

Catholique-Valpy’s three older youngsters missed 4 weeks of faculty to journey for the beginning of their brother. Náʔël, 5, Kairo, 9, Kenzo, 3 weeks, and Sahᾴí̜ʔᾳ, 8, are pictured right here within the Edmonton airport able to return residence to Yellowknife on Feb. 7. (Submitted by Shene Catholique-Valpy)

David Maguire, the well being authority’s supervisor of communications, advised CBC a complete of 75 N.W.T. residents had travelled to Alberta to ship in the course of the suspension.

Catholique-Valpy mentioned she is now not contemplating having extra youngsters.

“This will likely be our final child. It was a traumatic expertise, and I can not think about having to do it once more.” 

Getting there introduced its personal challenges

Catholique-Valpy mentioned flights to Edmonton for herself and her companion had been coated. As compensation for the displacement, she mentioned she and her husband every obtained $50 towards lodging, in addition to an $18 per diem for meals. They had been nonetheless left to pay for aircraft tickets for his or her three younger youngsters. 

“The amount of cash that they provide you for lodging, for per diems, and to eat is just not even near residing a correct life while you’re attempting to herald one other life,” Catholique-Valpy mentioned. 

Compared, government workers have 100 per cent of their accommodation costs covered (once they keep in resorts) and get slightly below $140 per day for meals and incidental prices. 

Catholique-Valpy’s youngsters Kairo, 9, Sahᾴí̜ʔᾳ, 8, and Náʔël, 5, maintain their new child brother Kenzo. (Submitted by Shene Catholique-Valpy)

Catholique-Valpy was grateful to obtain an unspecified quantity of extra monetary help from the Northern Birthwork Collective, which made funding available for families being sent to Alberta to offer beginning.

“I could not have imagined it if we did not have that help,” she mentioned.

For the reason that well being authority permitted individuals to decide on a beginning website exterior the organized Edmonton companies, Catholique-Valpy finally determined to have her youngster in Pink Deer, Alta., so she might stay along with her finest pal and her household in Blackfalds, about quarter-hour away from the hospital. That additionally meant she needed to discover a healthcare supplier on her personal.

She and her household flew from Yellowknife to Edmonton on Jan. 10. The stress of travelling in the course of the ultimate weeks of being pregnant with three younger youngsters throughout a pandemic was compounded by the uncertainties surrounding the displacement. 

“As a result of we did not know the way lengthy we had been going for, that was onerous to wrap [our] head round,” she mentioned. “Figuring out that we would come again with yet one more youngster is simply sort of disturbing to consider the way it was going to be, travelling again residence with a new child.”

Problems throughout and after beginning 

Regardless of having delivered three infants naturally and with out issues, Catholique-Valpy went into pre-term labour one week after arriving in Alberta. Her child was breech, which means it hadn’t turned to a head-first place, so she had an emergency C-section on Jan. 18 to ship her fourth youngster. 

“I absolutely imagine that if I used to be at residence and I wasn’t stressed and I did not must journey, I would not have gone by pre-term labour and I would not have had the emergency C-section,” she mentioned. 

Catholique-Valpy holds her new child son, Kenzo. (Submitted by Shene Catholique-Valpy)

Three days after returning from the hospital, her finest pal’s daughter contracted COVID-19 and it rapidly unfold by the family. Catholique-Valpy needed to isolate along with her new child for 3 weeks, away from her companion and different three youngsters.

She and her household had been lastly in a position to return to Yellowknife on Feb. 7. 

Regardless that her new child child is now completely satisfied and wholesome, she mentioned she is dissatisfied he now carries an Alberta beginning certificates. 

“For me, it is a sense of identification,” mentioned Catholique-Valpy.

“It exhibits the place you are from and the place you are born and raised. And Alberta is just not our residence, so it was at all times actually necessary for us to have N.W.T. beginning certificates.” 

Catholique-Valpy says her expertise was pointless and will have been prevented — she thinks there must be a larger emphasis on hiring extra nurses at Stanton.

“It is simply unlucky that they needed to ship moms away, particularly throughout a pandemic. I do not suppose that was the neatest factor to do, and the only option,” she mentioned. 

“There are lots of scared mothers on the market and lots of mothers travelling, not simply from Yellowknife, however from northern communities who’ve to depart their households, and so they’re already having to journey so removed from their group, and their residence, and their children. And I hope that the coverage modifications for medical journey as a result of the medical journey coverage is a joke.”


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