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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Just Posted

The bus is free to ride on Oct. 24 so voters can get to the polls to cast their ballots in the provincial election. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Free transit on Election Day in Cowichan

all day and on all regular routes

Painters Jim Tulip, Doug Mackenzie and Gary Henslowe were painting the exterior of the Duncan Butcher Shop and Apple Press printing shop, located between the Trans Canada Highway and Whistler Street, on Oct. 8 as part of neighbourhood painting project. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan’s Whistler Street sees a fresh lick of paint in opioid battle

Group wants to help clean up community, one street at a time

Dinner shows in the Playbill Dining Room are keeping the Chemainus Theatre going during the pandemic. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Dinner events satisfying for the Chemainus Theatre and patrons

Small groups enjoy entertainment and the food in the Playbill Dining Room

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, left, joined Rob Douglas, right, NDP candidate for the Cowichan Valley in the upcoming provincial election, on a tour to meet people in Lake Cowichan on Oct. 16 and discuss local issues. (Robert Barron/Citizen) Douglas’s campaign continued to pull out all the stops with a visit on Sunday from Premier John Horgan for some spearfishing in Duncan. (Submitted)
Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh visits Lake Cowichan

Rob Douglas, NDP’s candidate for Cowichan Valley, joins him

Duncan-based author Jennifer Manuel took home the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for her first novel, The Heaviness of Things that Float, at the 33rd Annual BC Book Prizes. She will be part of an online reading session on Oct. 22, 2020, featuring Cowichan Valley writers. (Submitted photo)
Cowichan Valley authors to be featured in online readings Oct. 22

The Cowichan Valley Writers Spotlight will feature readings by eight area writers

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Michael Leighton, who is wanted on 11 warrants on Vancouver Island and is a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft in Nanaimo. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking for break-and-enter suspect with 11 warrants on the Island

Nanaimo RCMP say Michael Leighton a suspect in theft of pistol and $40,000 worth of coins

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

Most Read