Couples have definitely been spending a lot of time at home during the pandemic, and Chilliwack General Hospital (CGH) has the numbers to prove it.
During the month of May, there was an all-time record number of babies born in the maternity unit at CGH – exactly 100 babies.
Never before has the hospital seen that number of babies born in one month ever. It’s up from the average of 62 babies per month, and it’s a 61 per cent increase over the average monthly numbers.
“It’s a big jump. I think COVID babies are coming out,” said first-time parent Andrew Duncan.
His wife Alysha Williams agrees.
“Too much time at home,” she laughed.
Williams and Duncan are the proud parents of the 100th May baby. Their daughter Raeya Evie Duncan was delivered by midwife Daina Meakes at 4:02 p.m. on May 31.
It took two hours of pushing before seven-and-a-half-pound Raeya made her big entry into the world, and it’s thanks to her refusing to come out right away that she became the 100th baby born at CGH that month. Had it been a quick labour, Raeya may have been baby number 99.
“I was glad I pushed for so long because there was someone giving birth next to us,” Williams recalled.
It was about five or 10 minutes after she was born – while Williams was having skin-to-skin contact with Raeya – that they found out she was the 100th baby born.
“It was a big surprise,” she said.
They were given a bag full of gifts including sleepers, onesies, diapers, wipes, receiving blankets and more – plus some balloons.
“It was a nice little package,” Williams said.
When they left the maternity department and walked through the hospital corridors carrying baby Raeya with a “100” balloon bobbing above them, people could be heard saying “Is that the 100th baby?”
Williams said she felt like a “celebrity.”
The nurses were “pretty fired up” to have delivered 100 babies that month, Duncan added.
They are just some of the staff who work on the growing maternity unit, Fraser Health noted. CGH has four paediatricians with two new ones joining the team, four obstetrician/gynecologists, eight family physicians and seven midwives.
In 2020, 805 babies were born at CGH; on average 795 babies are born at the hospital every year. If May’s numbers are any indication of how the rest of 2021 will pan out, perhaps the COVID baby boom will continue and this year will top 1,000 babies at CGH.