Tara and Mitchell Luce have three children together — and after their experience with one-month-old Lincoln, they don’t expect to be adding to their family of five.
At the very least, the Stockholm, Sask. couple said they won’t be dealing with Yorkton Regional Hospital for any future births.
On the morning of Dec. 20, 2022 — a brisk day, with a wind chill of -40 C — Tara and Mitchell made the 45 minute drive to the Yorkton Hospital, as Tara’s contractions had become became irregular.
The couple said the hospital staff sent them to go shopping, or go for supper in the city.
“Then by six oclock, they said come back. So by then my contractions were getting closer, but still irregular … I was three centimeters (dilated). And I was in pain. My contractions are bringing me down to my knees, but they said since I was only at three (centimetres dilated), I should go home (or) get a hotel,” Tara told CTV News Thursday.
After that direction, the couple ended up at Tara’s mom’s new townhouse.
She went into the bathtub and had a warm bath, with her contractions getting stronger — but still six to eight minutes apart.
“By then, I was just relaxing on the floor. And all of a sudden, I was in so much pain that I told my brother and my husband to phone 911 because things were just progressing, so bad,” Tara recalled.
The 911 operator then became a coach for Mitchell, walking through the steps to deliver the baby, right on the townhouse floor, in a bedroom.
“From there, it happened quickly,” he said.
“The water broke,” added Tara.
“The 911 dispatcher was walking us through — it was kind of flying over my head. I could barely understand what she was saying,” Mitchell continued.
“My adrenaline rush was just pumping like no other. When that water broke, (I thought), ‘Oh boy,’ I was in shock.”
There, they delivered baby Lincoln, right into the arms of his father.
The couple thanked the Yorkton Fire Department for their help, and noted that EMS was tied up on another call. Tara said she believed EMS wouldn’t have made it in time, anyway.
The experience Tara had, with Mitchell delivering Lincoln, was unexpected.
“I was hoping to be at the hospital,” she said with a laugh.
“I’m glad it went how it did and there were no complications, because if there was, it wouldn’t have been good — obviously, and for him.”
The hospital said it couldn’t take Tara because of where she was at in her pregnancy, but the couple believes that if a woman is looking for help during delivery, the hospital needs to help.
“They just said go relax at home, or wherever until my contractions were at one to two minutes apart, but they never even got to one to two — he came so fast,” said Tara.
Luckily, the birth went smoothly — with the exception of location — and both baby Lincoln and Tara are happy and healthy.
The couple said the Ministry of Health apologized to them after their treatment at the hospital, and ended up waiving half of the $750 ambulance bill.
In a statement to CTV News Thursday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said it can’t comment on specific cases or individuals due to privacy legislation.
“Every patient is assessed independently with consultation and guidance from our OBGYNs. Determining the next steps in a plan of care is based on a physician’s recommendation and medical assessments,” a statement from SHA reads.
It added that concerns over care experience can be dealt with through its Quality of Care Coordinators.
Throughout the craziness, the couple had some advice for parents, or prospective parents, preparing to give birth.
“If you think theres something wrong, go with your gut and advocate for yourself. I dont wish this upon anyone, to have a home pregnancy, when youre not expecting to be at home — you want to be in the hospital,” said Tara.
Following their experience, the parents said baby Lincoln is likely their last in their growing family of five.
They said they wanted to thank the Ministry for being helpful, and understanding their concerns.