Island Life - Part One

I had a brain wave last night. I wasn't sure what I was going to post for Baby Talk this week, but then it hit me. It's a very different experience for us that live on Grand Manan to go through pregnancy and delivery. It's also kind of different raising a baby on this island as well. So, here are the differences I've noticed, for the part of being pregnant and delivering. I'll do a part 2 with differences in raising a baby here.

First of all, if you don't know where Grand Manan is, you're probably not alone. We are a tiny island in the middle of the Bay of Fundy, on the East Coast of Canada. We're actually closer to the state of Maine than we are to Canada, but we are still Canadian!

We boast a tiny population of only around 2500 people, give or take a few. We've got one school, hosting 200 kids from K-12. We've got one gas station, one hockey rink, one grocery store, one pharmacy, one dentist, one hospital, a ferry to the 'mainland', a post office, a few restaurants (most of them seasonal), and that's about it for amenities. We have some of the most beautiful views you'll ever see, and we are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. 

So when it comes to having babies, well, you do that in a hospital right? Well, not ours, hopefully! I actually work at our tiny hospital. It consists of 8 inpatient beds and a small Emergency Department. We have 3 (wonderful) doctors that share the responsibility of caring for the island. We have a fantastic group of nurses, probably some of the most resourceful ones you'll ever see. Anyway, we don't have anything like an OR or a Neonatal unit. 

So, overall, not the ideal place to deliver a baby. Remember I said we were resourceful? Well, we are. We CAN if we MUST but for the safety of everyone involved, it's best to get them to a facility that has emergency care on hand, just in case. 

I bet you can probably guess, I was terrified of delivering my child on the island, with my co-workers. 

To get off the island, it's a 1.5 hour ferry to the mainland, which leaves 4 times a day in the winter and 7 in the summer. This is all weather depending. Then it's a 45 min drive to the city. I don't remember the exact schedule of my prenatal visits, but after a while I had to go ever 2 weeks, then every week. That's a lot of travelling, especially in the winter.

Because I was so scared of getting stranded on the island for delivery, Casey and I actually watched the weather and made a mad dash for the city whenever it gave a storm. Once we ended up going to the city and staying in a hotel for 3 days during a huge snowstorm. The city was put on a boil order, so we couldn't use the water, and basically nothing was open because city transit was shut down for a while. We almost had to eat out of the vending machine, but we found out the hotel had a restaurant and they were actually open.

As we got to 28-29 weeks, my OB wanted me to be off the island, just in case. I was totally cool with that. Casey and I were both able to leave and go stay with a friend who lived in the city. It was so amazing of them to put us both up for that long. We were there for over a week. I tried to help out by cooking and whatnot, but still, that's a long time to stay at someone else's house. We were so thankful they let us stay.

Finally, after being in the city for so long, my OB agreed to induce me. She knew we were far from home, and how uncomfortable I was. Thank God she was sympathetic!

On Feb 28 we were induced, and we had Harper the same day. She wasn't breathing well on her own, because I had taken morphine for pain relief. She was sent to the NICU straight away. She had to be in the NICU for 4 days. They let us stay in a hostle for most of that time, since I got discharged. We were tired, smelly, STARVING, and homesick. Some of our family were able to get up and visit us, but it was hard because Harper couldn't be out of the NICU for long, so basically they had to sit with smelly old us, and tell us tales of the outside world.

So, what do you think?

Was my pregnancy a lot different from yours since I live on this island?

I've spoken with many people who say they couldn't handle all the traveling and stress of it all, but honestly, we just do what we have to do.

In retrospect, it was all worth it. Every ferry trip, every cervical check, every minute of it was worth it.

Southern Head Cliffs from the sky! 


  1. This is incredible! Now the REAL question is: Will you have another one? ;)

  2. Oh yes, I'm sure we will! We need to build our home first though!


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