Newfoundland and Nova Scotia – A Different Birth Experience in each Province.

by Chelsea Casson on October 15, 2013

Lisa Baker is a childbirth educator and mother of two in Calgary, Alberta. You can reach her by email at

March 2009 – St.John’s, Newfoundland

First baby is due, and she is over due by one week.  I start contractions around 10pm (water breaks) and head to the hospital.

By midnight I am 3 cms and throwing up due to pain.

The anaesthesiologist makes his way – 45 mins later I am given a epidural, however it took 10 times as the anaesthesiologist was having a hard time finding a space between my vibrates to do so.

Once received, the pain stopped and I went asleep.

7am the nurse woke me and said it was time to push as turns out I was given too much epidural and Emilie was crowning. I had no idea and no feeling. I pushed and the Dr. that came was ill and we had to get another doctor to delivery ASAP. Emilie was born — a little to doping now that I look back, but she was 7lbs 3ozs at 7:35am

After I was cleaned up and many stitches (never did ask how many) I was moved from recovery to my ward room. There I requested a private room.

Later that evening, I asked Mike to help me get a shower as no nurse had helped me or offered to help me. The other three ladies in the ward room were not following quiet hours. One lady had extended family with very loud kids running/jumping. One ladies mother-in-law was fighting with the son-in law about breast feeding and one lady was crying due to the fact that she was 25 weeks pregnant and her water broke and the nurses didn’t help her. I desperately wanted a private room at this point.

The first night, Emilie was taken to a nursery for me to sleep and when she was hungry they would bring her to me.

The second night she was kept along side of me.

The ward room ladies really did not go well with me so I requested a private room or I request I would like to go home.  They did their best, and on my last night at 10pm I was given a private room.  I was released from hospital the following day.

In all of that not once did a nurse check on me and my bleeding. The only person who saw me about me nursing my babe was the first day and that was it. I did however see the photo lady twice and a minister.

Being around babies, I thought Emilie looked like she was getting jaundice. The medical team told me nope, she doesn’t. However, after asking my friend, a public nurse to come to my house for advice in the days that followed, she confirmed her jaundice and she reviewed jaundice was with me. Despite the medical team took Emilies blood work.


April 2012 – Halifax, NS

Second baby is due. Already had two false alarms and babe is 4 days late.

Finally, 7am I go into hard labour, I walked around the neighbourhood and house. 11am we decide it is time to go. We get there and they check me, 6 cms.

As they are getting me ready for delivery, 45 mins later, they check again, 8 cms. I request epidural and this time, within seconds he is there and the first try with inserting the epidural needle and pain is decreased. My OB GYN  arrived and her student doctor was already there. My water was not broken, so they break it and there is meconium. NICU team is requested upon delivery of baby. One hour of pushing and guidance from the nurse/doctor, Grayson was born at 2pm at 9lbs. NICU cleared his lungs and he came back to me. I had two stitches. While Mike held Grayson, the nurse took me into the bathroom, bathed me and help me get cleaned up. After being transferred to my room, every nurse that came in reviewed  breastfeeding, checked on my bleeding and asked how I felt.

Grayson then decided with his big feet to give himself a belly button hernia. As well had jaundice . He went tanning and he tanned next to me. We had to stay an extra day due to his jaundice and the following day after we were released we had to return for follow up blood work.

A public nurse did not come into my home this time, however I did get 3 follow up phone calls.

As you can tell – two different stories. When I look back the information/professionalism/care/nursing for Newfoundland compared to Nova Scotia, it was so different. One thing that I forgot to mention, I took pre-natal classes in NS, before I gave birth in NL, and when I arrived in NL they were NOT accommodating to me as I requested to take  one class for preparation or even information what to do. I left three voice mails on a phone, three emails and nothing came about, even the OBGYN  in NL was unhelpful to me. She said call the number (which I left voicemail on).  For Halifax, it was the opposite, I called the IWK ,got my information and all was good.


{Editors Note: I asked Dana a question to clarify some things and you will see her response to this question below:

Lisa – What would have helped you have a better experience in Newfoundland? I ask as I would like to add this to your stories. I want parents to know what to ask for and look for when they are first-timers!

Dana – My advice from my first delivery is get a good support system via hospital or family/friends. Be prepared ie. birth plan, water birth, be educated in what care should happen, review what you want for your baby (breast feeding or bottle) and never feel because you are a first time mom you do know what your gut feeling is saying ( jaundice with Emilie or making as many phone call requests as needed). Despite that you have a new born take care of yourself, rest and ask for help/accept help.

The nurses and doctors are there for YOU and YOUR baby, ask for resources for when you leave the hospital mommy group, breast feeding clinics, ask for a follow up via public nurse or phone calls– it is always nice to hear someone besides spouse or family saying ” how are you doing”, take naps with baby and make sure that support system can help you with all the paper work to follow and ENJOY your bundle.}


Written by: Dana

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