Shaiyena Currie of Bella Coola spent two weeks living in a tent and then moved to a motel before giving birth at Cariboo Memorial Hospital on Sunday, Aug. 25. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Pregnant woman camps in tent ahead of out-of-town delivery in Williams Lake

Costs for maternity patients to travel and stay outside the valley are not covered

In this day and age it is difficult to imagine a woman staying in a tent waiting to deliver a baby at the hospital.

That was the case for a Bella Coola woman who delivered her baby Sunday in Williams Lake.

Shaiyena Currie, along with her toddler son Tristan and her sister Chelsea began staying at the Stampede Campground on Aug. 6.

Last weekend they scraped together enough money to move to the Stampeder Motel because it was so busy with a rodeo going on.

“I delivered three days early,” Currie said Monday as she held her newborn baby.

“Octavia was born on Sunday at 6 p.m. weighing five pounds and 15 ounces. My experience here at the hospital was positive.”

Currie, 24, said her doctor had expected her to go to Williams Lake a month in advance of her due date, but that was going to be difficult in her situation.

“That was not possible because I was laid off at five months pregnant with a back injury and I am a single mom. I saved up just enough money to stay here for the three weeks.”

Chelsea had to take time off work to come and support her and help look after Tristan when she went into labour.

“It was very stressful, running out of money and not having a place to stay,” Currie said.

Read more: Baby makes surprise arrival on Sheep Creek Hill

When asked if she needed anything, she shook her head “no,” and said a lot of people in Bella Coola gave her support.

Currie said her maternity care in Bella Coola was good, but she did have to travel to a bigger centre at five months pregnant for an ultrasound, and the costs of travel were not covered either.

Currie’s mom, Shannon Dickson, who drove up from Bella Coola Monday said women have travelled out of the Bella Coola Valley to deliver babies for about 12 years.

She delivered her two younger children in Williams Lake, and her oldest granddaughter and grandson, Tristan, were both born at Cariboo Memorial Hospital as well.

“We stayed a month in a 14-foot travel trailer with my daughter, myself, my husband and our children,” she said. “After that experience my daughter said she did not want to have more children and go through that again.”

If delivery services are not being provided in the Bella Coola Valley then maternity patients travelling to Williams Lake should be provided with some support, Dickson added.

“Moms that come out here are isolated from family and friends — something’s lost. My daughter was alone in the delivery room yesterday and had something gone wrong, there would have been no one here to advocate for her.”

Currie said she would be staying at the Stampeder Motel Monday and Tuesday night and planned to return home to Bella Coola on Wednesday.

In a previous article with Coast Mountain News about the fact maternity services are not available in the Bella Coola Valley, a spokesperson for Vancouver Coastal Health said there is a Travel Assistance Program — a corporate partnership between the Ministry of Health and private transportation carriers.

The program is limited, however, to carriers who have agreed to sign on. It does not cover meals, accommodation, mileage, fuel and local transportation expenses: these are the responsibility of the patient.

Read more: No delivery services hard on Bella Coola Valley families

After reading this story on the Tribune’s website, Rachael Metivier of Lashed by Rachael decided she wanted to help Currie.

“Her story really touched my heart,” she said Tuesday. “So far people have brought in diapers, baby outfits, home-made items, a baby bath, formula in case she needs some, and some gift cards for food.”

Metivier said she planned to bring dinner to the motel later Tuesday and said she told Currie there is a moms group in Williams Lake that are here to support other women like her.



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Octavia Lucinda Currie was born in Williams Lake on Sunday, Aug. 25. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Just Posted

Surf’s Up event in Tofino offers a wave of positivity for families living with autism

“There’s no other opportunity like this for kids like Rylan.”

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the Courtenay-Alberni riding

In an effort to inform the Courtenay-Alberni riding constituents, we have supplied… Continue reading

Crew keeps worried mother at bay while rescuing entangled baby humpback near Ucluelet

“These animals are massive, they’re powerful and it really is dangerous.”

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

Alberni School District considers three name changes

Neill Elementary, Ucluelet Secondary and school district identified for new names

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Two Nanaimo residents share $5-million Lotto 6/49 prize

Jesse Logan and Teresa Winters Day matched all six numbers in Aug. 21 Lotto 6/49 draw

Island campground on the chopping block as ALC deadline looms

Owners fighting to continue facility’s operation, with a huge outpouring of support

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

Most Read