Woodstock — With staff shortages at two New Brunswick hospitals forcing temporary closures of their labour and obstetrics units, officials and politicians are asking pregnant women to simply “hold it in a little longer.”
The Upper River Valley Hospital near Woodstock closed its labour and birth unit for the weekend, and the Campbellton Regional Hospital shut its obstetrics and gynecology department for six to eight weeks.
“Giving birth, like so many other things in rural New Brunswickers’ lives, will have to be done in Fredericton,” said an unnamed official with the Vitalité Health Network. “You already go there for back-to-school shopping, to hit up festivals and events, go to restaurants, shop at the good Costco — why not add delivering your baby and get it all knocked off the to-do list at once? If you can’t make it to Fredericton, just try to hold it in a bit longer until we can accommodate your health needs in your hometown.”
Shannon Wright, a nurse who usually works in one of the temporarily closed units, said she and her colleagues have been forced to work excessive overtime hours due to the pandemic.
“And there are tons of vacancies, but no nurses want to come to New Brunswick. Why would they? The government is offering them no real incentive to move to the have-not province when they can just live and work in Ontario or wherever and get paid a lot more. All I can say is, thank god I’m not knocked up!”
Expectant mother Jamie Evans of Woodstock said her due date was Saturday, but the news that her local labour unit was shut down inspired her to try the “holding it in” method.
“It’s not something you read in any of the pregnancy blogs or baby books,” she said, “but what else am I supposed to do? I don’t want my baby born to be born in Fredericton, of all places. She’d turn out a pretentious snob like the rest of ’em!”
Premier Blaine Higgs weighed in, even though we did not ask him for comment.
“Now, being a man I can’t say with certainty what it’s like, but I imagine it’s a bit like holding in a fart or a sneeze, or a large dump,” said Higgs. “We simply don’t have the staff to deal with deliveries at the moment, so we ask that, as much as possible, women about to give birth just, you know, hold it in long enough for us to bring some nurses in from somewhere else.
“Why would you want to give birth on the weekend, or in the summer, for that matter, anyway?” he added, cracking open a White Claw. “The baby’s crowning? That sounds like Monday’s problem to me!”