In the next few months the Lakes District News will be showcasing stories of women having babies, or who’ve had babies and what obstacles they’ve encountered.
This is part two of the series.
For women, being pregnant is stressful enough on its own, but add in things like travel, accommodations and uncertainty and the stress level is taken up another level.
Melissa Mills has experienced that added level of stress three times in her life.
Mills is a mother of three sons, Elijah who is five-years-old, Russell, who is three-years old and Simon, who will be turning one-year-old very shortly.
While each pregnancy and subsequent delivery had its own unique challenges and details, one constant remain throughout, added stress from having to travel out of town to deliver her three children.
At the time of her first pregnancy, a pregnant women was still able to naturally give birth at the hospital in Burns Lake.
Unfortunately, there were complications during labour so Mills required an emergency C-section.
In minus 40 degree weather, and in a raging blizzard, Mills was ambulanced to the hospital in Smithers to have the C-section and deliver her baby.
By the time she was pregnant with her second son, Russell, the hospital in Burns Lake was no longer accepting any more deliveries.
Mills’ second son was born in the hospital in Prince George.
Mills says the lack of familiarity and the constant changing of doctors really affected her stress levels
As well, the constant changing meant that there was little continuation of care.
“I found that there was no continuation of care,” Mills said, “It’s different doctors and they really didn’t know your history that well, you don’t know them at all and it’s a major thing that you go through to have a child.”
“You feel uncomfortable and there’s just no continuation. The doctors just don’t know your story so things can just get lost or missed.”
It was during her third pregnancy where all the factors of having a baby out of town came together.
Mills scheduled a C-section and tried to be organized.
She found a place to stay, at her husband’s aunt and uncle’s home in Prince George, and she planned the details of her trip.
Yet, things didn’t work out as planned.
The hospital in Prince George was unable to find her an obstetrician right away, and when her and her husband arrived at their relatives house in Prince George they found that the basement had flooded leaving them without accommodations and she ended up having to make an extra trip to Prince George after going into false labour.
All of it added stress to an already stressful situation.
“It was very stressful because I didn’t have a doctor right away so I didn’t actually know who the doctor was going to be and what doctor was going to deliver my child until the week before,” Mills said. “You’re not able to be comfortable at home and nest.”
“Plus the expense alone is huge. Just for the appointments, assuming you don’t have to go down there early and you don’t need the hotel you still have the expense of the gas and the day in Prince George every time you need to go there to meet a specialist or whatever for your appointments.”
Mills believes that having the maternity ward at the new hospital in Burns Lake will relieve a lot of stress from pregnant women.
Most women have natural births she says and to not have to panic about how early you have to get to Prince George or Smithers, or stressing about having to leave your family early would be huge.
“You’d have your support here,” Mills said, “I was lucky that my mom was able to come up and be there and my husband was there and my kids were there but I a lot of people would just be alone.”