Paramedics help three Cape Breton women deliver babies at home over four-day period

Sharon Montgomery-Dupe
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GLACE BAY — It’s not common to hear of babies born outside hospitals these days — except maybe for recent weeks.

Krystle Gracie, 22, of Glace Bay, relaxes with boyfriend Christian MacDonald and their newborn son Charles Dante Christian Gracie-MacDonald on the couch where she delivered her baby in their Glace Bay home, assisted by EHS paramedics.

The Cape Breton Post has learned three women in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality gave birth to their babies in their homes over a four-day period.

Krystle Gracie, 22, of Glace Bay, not only delivered her baby in her living room on May 16, but four days later, friend Bonnie Deruelle, 24, also of Glace Bay, delivered her baby in her kitchen.

“It was a bit scary at first but now that it’s done and over with, I actually preferred this labour than my first two,” Gracie said, while cradling her baby at home with boyfriend Christian MacDonald by her side.

“I had less contractions waiting for my water to break on it’s own and then my baby was right there.”

A Sydney woman also gave birth in her home last week, but could not be reached for comment.

"In our district it's not common to see babies born outside the hospital," said Lynn Gilbert, a spokeswoman for the Cape Breton District Health Authority.

"Babies operate on their own schedule — when they're ready to be born, they're ready. Even with the best-laid plans sometimes babies can arrive early and in unexpected places."

Gracie actually had a doctor's appointment the morning in question. The doctor sent her home but told her to come back if she got bad cramps.

She laid down for a nap around noon and at about 1:05 p.m. began getting hard contractions.

Gracie yelled to her partner to call an ambulance.

“He was pacing the house waiting for the ambulance. He was on the phone with dispatch, they kept getting him to check me, telling him if he sees anything to actually hold the baby in.”

Gracie has two other sons, Nikale Dean-Gracie, 5, and Zachary Gracie-MacDonald, 2. Nikale was assisting.

“He was bringing me cold water so I wouldn’t get dehydrated and kept rubbing my head with a damp cloth trying to keep me calm.

"When my boyfriend’s mother arrived at the house, he ran out to get her to come in and help me. He knew the baby was coming.”

She said paramedics were a welcome sight.

“As soon as they pulled in our driveway, I rolled over on my back to try and get up, and my water broke."  

She suddenly realized she was going to be giving birth to her baby at home.

"I couldn’t hold it anymore and felt the need to push, there was no way I could stop it," she said.

“The ambulance driver came in and I had to deliver my baby right on my couch.”

Gracie and her new son were transported to the hospital.

Deruelle delivered her daughter, Kaylee Ann MacDonald-Deruelle, at home on her kitchen floor May 20 at 10:10 a.m.

"All I had to do was give two big pushes and my baby was out," she said.

"It happened too fast. I didn't have time to get nervous."

For Deruelle, it all began at 6:30 a.m. She was two days passed her due date of May 18.

"I was sleeping at the time and my water broke, so that woke me up."

With her children Coady, 4, and Brandon, 3, at home, Deruelle texted her mother-in-law, who came over to look after them. However, Deruelle still wasn't experiencing any pain so continued getting ready for the hospital.

She sent her boyfriend, Alex MacDonald, to pick up a few things and in the meantime began getting pains.

"My pains were getting worse, so I was going to get him to call for a taxi but by that time I was having pressure pains — they came on really quick so he called for an ambulance," she said.

"While he was talking to them I could feel the baby coming."

She says her boyfriend was nervous but did a great job following instructions from the dispatcher, including getting her on a blanket and checking to see if he could see the baby's head.

"My boyfriend almost had to deliver the baby, it was close. By that time the paramedics arrived," she said.

"But he said he could have done it if he had to."

Deruelle said her children weren't in the room for the birth, but after Kaylee was born, they came out to see her.

She said son Coady, 4, thanked paramedics.

"He said, 'Thank you for getting the baby out.'"

Organizations: Cape Breton Post, Cape Breton District Health Authority

Geographic location: Glace Bay, Cape Breton, Sydney

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