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Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Boy's birth spawns questions about health-care system

Although every child’s birth is a story, not every one is a front-page story.

However, a Melita boy will have a pretty unique keepsake from his entry into the world this past weekend, after his birth made the cover of the Brandon Sun.

Little Jaxyn popped out — into his mother’s pant leg and into the headlines — while in a pickup truck headed to Brandon hospital early Sunday morning.

But questions are raised in today’s paper why Jaxyn’s parents, Aimee Renard and her fiancé Jay Goleski, were sent to the Brandon Regional Health Centre at all, in spite of a provincial policy introduced recently after another highway-side birth.

Almost exactly a year ago, on Dec. 13, 2012, another Westman baby was born at the side of a highway.

Maisie Driedger was born 10 minutes outside of Yorkton, Sask., after a Russell doctor assessed her mother and told the parents they should head to the Saskatchewan hospital — the closest facility to Russell with obstetric services.

Maisie’s father, Eric, ended up in the role of doctor, tying off the umbilical cord with a boot lace.

At the time, Maisie’s mother, Rachel, said that while their experience turned out well, it was important to shine a light on some of the challenges that people face in rural Manitoba when it comes to the health-care system.

“We don’t want to see this happen to other people,” she said at the time. “I have easy babies and I’ve never had complications during birth and it wasn’t that bad for us, but other people might have complications and if you run into trouble who knows what would have happened.

“I don’t know what we would have done if there would have been problems.”

Thankfully, despite an umbilical cord scare, there were no serious complications with Jaxyn’s delivery either. Father Jay said that he credited his experience delivering calves with helping him keep a cool head during the birth.

But it’s not fair to ask expectant parents to rely on ranching experience or MacGyver bootlace tricks when they are delivering their own child.

It’s not fair that parents are sent on hours-long drives in the middle of the night, to endure bone-chilling temperatures and swirling snow while in the throes of labour (it was -20 C during Maisie’s birth, and -26 C during Jaxyn’s).

To be fair, the province and Prairie Mountain Health both recognize this.

A policy set in place after Maisie’s birth last year is supposed to ensure that moms who are admitted to hospital in labour be guaranteed ambulance transportation to the nearest obstetrics centre.

But for some reason, Aimee Renard was never admitted to the Hamiota District Health Centre. The Melita woman was visiting her father in Hamiota when her water broke.

Instead, she was told over the phone to get herself to Brandon.

Had she been told to come in for an assessment, the policy would have dictated that an ambulance be provided for her trip to Brandon.

Jaxyn may still have been born in transit, but he would have at least had the benefit of trained medical personnel in the ambulance, along with all of the equipment that they carry — tools and knowledge that could have come in handy when Jaxyn was born with the umbilical cord looped around his neck.

Thankfully, Jaxyn — and Maisie — were born healthy and safe.

Now, despite modern medical advances, it’s just not possible to perfectly predict the hour or even date of a child’s birth. When it’s time, it’s time.

But rural moms and dads deserve to know that they’re going get at least the standard of care that the policy promises, and not be waved off and told to head somewhere else.

Pregnant women being told there’s “no room at the inn” may be a Christmastime tradition with a distinguished pedigree. But surely we’ve managed to improve things in the past 2,000 years or so.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 17, 2013

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Although every child’s birth is a story, not every one is a front-page story.

However, a Melita boy will have a pretty unique keepsake from his entry into the world this past weekend, after his birth made the cover of the Brandon Sun.

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Although every child’s birth is a story, not every one is a front-page story.

However, a Melita boy will have a pretty unique keepsake from his entry into the world this past weekend, after his birth made the cover of the Brandon Sun.

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