Months after it opened, the first babies born in Haida Gwaii’s newest hospital appeared to the world just a day apart.
Maria and Aaron Hendsbee welcomed their son Levi Aaron shortly after 3 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12.
It was just after 2 a.m. the next day that parents Joby Wilson and Jonah Collinson met their baby boy, Jonah Michael Wylie Collinson.
The new Haida Gwaii Hospital-Ngaaysdll Naay in Queen Charlotte is quickly developing a reputation for big babies — Levi weighed in at 9 lbs, 15 oz, and Jonah at 8 lbs, 11 oz.
Midwife Celina Larsen assisted with both, and said the hospital’s new birthing room was excellent.
“I love the new space,” said Larsen.
“It’s got so much more room, and the tub is wonderful.”
While the room in the old Queen Charlotte hospital was fairly small, with few options for mothers to change position during a long labour, Larsen said the new room has plenty of space and moms can use supportive sheets hung from the ceiling as well as the bed or the birthing tub.
Easing labour pains and helping moms relax, Larsen said the tub is her favourite feature — she and site manager Kerry Laidlaw got a say in the birthing room layout before the new hospital was built.
A midwife on Haida Gwaii since 2009, Larsen said the islands typically have about 45 to 50 pregnancies a year, with just over 20 births on island.
“That’s pretty good for a place that is rural and remote, with no C-section availability,” she said, noting that in most other remote communities, only a third of women choose to stay.
Not long before the new hospital opened in November, Kyra Bennett-Richardson and Richard McLeod’s son Grayson was last born in the old one on Oct. 17.
Larsen said it was a memorable birth for a second reason — like the first birth she helped with at the hospital in 2009, the baby was born in the waters.
“It’s quite rare,” she said. “In a lot of cultures and traditions it’s considered really lucky.”
Larsen said she feels very glad to be working in the new hospital, and not only because of the building.
“It’s a really great hospital, and a great team,” she said.
“I’m honoured to be part of that group — honestly, there’s a really dedicated group of people.”