By on October 24, 2016

Freightliner Crew Cab Ambulance Nova Scotia EHS“I Drove My Newborn Son Home From The Hospital In A Minivan Like A Real Father Ought To,” the headline was supposed to read. But deliveries, whether of the UPS or child variety, do not always go as expected. As a result, the all-important first drive does not always occur as planned, either.

Nine days ago, with Mrs. Cain one week past due to deliver a new baby boy, she asked her mother about driving over from Prince Edward Island to our Nova Scotia home before, rather than after, the baby was to be born. With Grammie quickly installed in the spare room, Mrs. Cain texted me from elsewhere in GCBC Towers at 2:15 p.m. the next day to say we had to leave for the hospital in her mom’s Hyundai Elantra, leaving our Odyssey with the house’s remaining occupants for child seat and canine purposes.

But that Elantra journey to the local hospital had nothing to do with the vehicle in which the new baby boy would experience his first vehicular experience. We didn’t make it to the local children’s and maternity hospital. But at 3:20, we had a new baby boy whose first drive took place in a Freightliner. No word of a lie.

I remember coming home from school a couple of decades ago and jumping down the stairs to the basement to find my mother watching TLC’s A Baby Story.

It was horrifying.

This baby story is free from gory details.

My wife’s previous delivery occurred quickly; dangerously so for the baby, who was mostly lifeless for nearly half an hour. But I had greater cause for concern this time.

There are two bridges that cross Halifax Harbour from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, to Halifax, where the IWK Health Centre is renowned for delivering and caring for children. Major reconstruction on one of those bridges, the Angus L. Macdonald, takes place at night and on weekends.

Last Saturday, the Angus L. Macdonald, the closest span to both our home and the IWK Health Centre, was closed.

Twitter told me that construction — maybe an accident? maybe construction? who on Twitter knows anything? — was creating major backups on the other bridge, the A. Murray MacKay. The only other route, a near hour-long trip from our Eastern Passage home, through Dartmouth, around Bedford, back to Halifax, was never in the running, particularly given the likelihood that we may still run into the MacKay bridge’s traffic.

I approached the logjam with all due haste.

Knowing others who’ve enjoyed police escorts to the IWK, I called 911 not long after leaving our house, explained the likelihood of a rapid arrival, and was fortunately taken seriously.

“Tell me where you are and pull over,” the dispatcher said. “Wait for an ambulance.”

I’m sorry, did you say wait?

Wait?

We talkin’ ’bout waiting?

I drove faster.

After explaining to the dispatcher that I was proceeding toward the MacKay Bridge, that I either wanted a police car to clear the way or an ambulance to meet me closer to the bridge, I was transferred to an ambulance-specific dispatcher. This second dispatcher told me emergency services were struggling to get across the MacKay; that if this baby is coming quickly — and based on the look on my wife’s face and the panic in my own voice, he was — we needed to make our way to a different hospital.

The Dartmouth General Hospital, where I’ve had casts wrapped around broken bones and once seen a nutritionist in a basement office, “delivers babies all the time,” I was told. Get to the Dartmouth General, the dispatcher said, and the LifeFlight helicopter’s accompanying ambulance would be called. A paramedic would arrive with a doctor and nurses from the IWK’s maternity ward who would likely get back to the IWK in time to deliver the little one. Worst case, those same individuals would deliver the baby at the Dartmouth General.

I drove faster.

From the memorable text at 2:15 p.m. to the arrival of little Mr. Cain at 3:20 p.m., the Dartmouth General ER staff proved eminently capable of delivering a baby boy. Do they do it all the time? No, perhaps one or two a year, we were told. Did the LifeFlight/IWK team arrive in time? Not even close. For one thing, they had to clear the way across the same bridge we were told not to cross. Also: this baby was in a hurry to meet the world.

Sure, the delivery was a little more chaotic than it would have been at the IWK. We were in a trauma room. There were six registered nurses, two ER doctors, two medical students, a nurses aid, and a handful of others coming in and out. Some equipment was not readily available. (And why would it be? The IWK, only two miles away from the Dartmouth General as the crow flies, is responsible for delivering babies in this region.)

But the level of calm in the professionals’ voices, the degree of excitement they exhibited after delivering a baby weighing in at 10 pounds and 13 ounces, the round of applause I received (as if I had anything to do with this) when I walked through the ER waiting room less than two hours after initially walking in and announcing to the triage desk that, “This woman is about to have a baby“, the fact that our baby boy brought joy to a typically joyless place — all of that made our highly abnormal birth story a positive experience.GCBC baby boyThere’s no shortage of it’s-a-small-world appendages to this story of the arrival of another future GoodCarBadCar.net data entry specialist. Some 15 years ago, for example, my wife’s sister was a vital cog in the Dartmouth General’s fundraising efforts that ended in the culmination of a new, larger, better-equipped ER, including the gigantic trauma room that would house all the nurses and doctors “required” for the delivery of our baby boy.

A decade later, my wife was the Emergency Management Office liaison from her two provincial government departments when planning was underway to account for unexpected circumstances associated with the closure of the Macdonald Bridge’s Big Lift project. They dealt with all sorts of catastrophic possibilities, but apparently not the prospect of a mother — one of the mothers in the room at the time — one day being unable to get across the Halifax Harbour when in labor.

The Dartmouth General delivered our newborn baby, but they never asked to keep and monitor him. The LifeFlight team arrived and informed us that mother and baby were traveling in different ambulances to the IWK Health Centre. Uncomfortable though I was at this prospect, they showed me the ambulance: a crew cab Freightliner with three nurses and a paramedic. I felt better.2015 Honda Odyssey EXJonas would be driven home in the Honda Odyssey a day later. But not before he made his big brother jealous with a 15-minute lights-and-sirens cross-town ride in an ambulance, and no mere ambulance at that.

Not surprisingly, given the Macdonald Bridge’s ever-changing schedule, the paramedic headed straight toward a closed bridge.

By the time the ambulance approached the open MacKay Bridge with lights blazing and sirens blaring, traffic had cleared. Of course.

And in Grammie’s Elantra, I was once again driving faster, chasing our already-delivered little boy to the delivery ward of the IWK Health Centre.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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57 Comments on “Strangely, Our Newborn Son’s First Drive Was Not In Our Long-Term 2015 Honda Odyssey...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Congratulations and best of health to the littlest Cain and the rest of the family.

    And for our American friends, are you willing to inform them of what the cost was for these medical services?

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Well, we did upgrade to a private room…

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      As a point of reference (for any curious Canadians): As Americans, our first child cost us about $6,000.00 out of our own pockets. This was what our (Blue Cross Blue Shield) medical insurance did not cover. Our second cost us about $3,000.00. This is what our (Aetna) medical insurance did not cover. In addition, as Americans, we were afforded maternity leave (at our own expense since we did not receive compensation during the maternity leave). And, once returning to work, as I a recall, both of us were “looked down upon” because we were no longer able to work as much after hours due to caring for our family. On a more positive note, it was worth it. But it would have been nice if we didn’t feel like we were being punished (by the “system”) just for having a family.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        This is why I love my HMO, as bureaucratic as it can be. Our first child’s birth cost me about $250 out of pocket, mostly for prescription medication to deal with some complications. I expect the same or better for our upcoming second child’s birth. Yes, it’s a narrow network, but it insulates us almost completely from financial shock.

        • 0 avatar

          First kid 2006 $1,000, out of pocket, $500 we reimbursed as part of a fringe benefit of the company(separate from the insurance)

          Second kid 2011 $2,800 out of pocket (now working for a fortune 100 company with good benefits but average deductibles shooting up) Nothing covered by company

          Third kid 2014 $6,200 out of pocket. Company paid $800 (small family company)

          All of these times I had mid tier company provided insurance, in order to keep the premiums from going crazy most of the policies here in CT have raised the deductible and coinsurance as much as possible. Note these are POS plans not high deductible plans, but really not much difference anymore.

          The last kid I was surprised when I got bills from the Hospital, OBGYN, Hospital Pedetrcian, and more. Real fun trying to track all that down. The health care industry in the US needs to burn a fiery death.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        As a member of a voluntarily childless couple and also a part of the “system” I’ll make you a deal.

        -Folks with kids can have paid maternity leave if I can also get an extra month off with pay every few years to pursue *my* time consuming hobbies. For example, I just got a new motorcycle and would really like a few weeks off work to “bond” with it.

        Also, I won’t look down on you at work as long as you don’t expect everybody else to work more to make up for your new schedule. Why do you expect that childless colleagues should pitch in and do more work for free to support workers who chose to have kids?

        It would be nice if we didn’t feel like we were being punished (by the “system) just for not having a family.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Now do one about all the time people spend at work on smoke breaks!

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            I’ll be happy to, just as soon as people start agitating for laws that require employers to provide paid smoke breaks for smokers only.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            They’re already on the clock, they take the brakes of their own accord “because they smoke.”

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            Please direct me to the law that requires employers to provide these paid smoke breaks.

            People can work out whatever time-off benefits their employer will agree too, including paid maternity leave.

            But I’ll only support writing it into law if people without kids get a similar perk.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “Folks with kids can have paid maternity leave if I can also get an extra month off with pay every few years to pursue *my* time consuming hobbies.”

          Do your time-consuming hobbies preserve society and the economy over the long term? If so, then maybe that’s a good deal.

          We absolutely have an interest in providing special assistance for people who are parenting. Parenting is hard, extremely expensive, and essential.

          “Why do you expect that childless colleagues should pitch in and do more work for free to support workers who chose to have kids?”

          But this I agree with. If childless people are putting in more work in the office (which is likely; parenting is a huge time sink) then, assuming the work is of equal quality, they should be rewarded for it with raises and promotions. But by the same token, people (parrents or not) shouldn’t be assumed to be useless or lazy because their ambition is not to spend 80 hours every week at work or become CEO.

          The worst thing about my profession is that you are assumed to be a slacker if you don’t want to spend 16 hours a day at work. I’d love to have the option of spending fewer hours for proportionally less pay — and I’d work harder, with more commitment, during those hours. But if you ask for such an arrangement you lose a lot of respect.

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            “Do your time-consuming hobbies preserve society and the economy over the long term? If so, then maybe that’s a good deal.

            We absolutely have an interest in providing special assistance for people who are parenting. Parenting is hard, extremely expensive, and essential.”

            The US birth rate is higher than other nations that provide more generous parental leave policies by law, so even with the system as it currently exists there does not appear to be any shortage of people having children.

            If the US population ever starts to fall enough to cause a problem then we can look at providing further bribes to motivate people to have kids. Until then, I don’t see a compelling reason to sweeten the pot.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Bike, I’m proudly childfree as well but it’s dumb and mean to rail against pro-parent policies when the people you’re addressing are clearly the best of the bunch.

            Save your ire for deadbeat dads and government incentivization of ever more welfare generations. The tax burden and civic hazarding from those are our greatest existential threats not involving izlam or asteroids.

          • 0 avatar
            onyxtape

            People are going to have kids if they want to and are comfortable in their own personal situations. Governmental subsidies have not been shown in other countries to move the needle in any significant way in terms of increasing birth rate (citing the previous statistics about US having greater birth rates than the rest of the industrialized world despite having almost no “birth perks” that others have)

            What matters with these perks is for raising the child. A parent staying with a child for at least 6 or 9 months at home significantly improves the child’s overall upbringing and well-being versus going back to work in 6 weeks. To put it bluntly, childless people benefit directly because the workforce in the future will be smarter and fewer prisons will probably need to be built.

        • 0 avatar
          onyxtape

          “Also, I won’t look down on you at work as long as you don’t expect everybody else to work more to make up for your new schedule. Why do you expect that childless colleagues should pitch in and do more work for free to support workers who chose to have kids?”

          That mom you look down on probably gets more stuff done than you.

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/10/30/study-women-with-more-children-are-more-productive-at-work/

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            Given that by your own link childless men (that’s me!) are more productive than “moms” that is unlikely.

            Also, it’s pretty clear that over the timescale I care about as a colleague (months and years, not decades) and the time closest to maternity benefits kids do negatively impact work output:

            “Young children do take a toll on work. The paper found that there is a 15 to 17 percent drop in productivity among women with little kids. For those with multiple children, the first child results in a 9.5 percent drop in performance, the second child cuts out another 12.5 percent and the third child caps it off with an 11 percent decrease in productivity.

            In other words, three preteens will result in a 33 percent loss in productivity on average, the equivalent of four years of research.”

            Who is supposed to make up that 10-33% of work?

            If you really want to analyze this it also seems fair to evaluate the career job performance of parents who leave the workforce shortly after having kids and don’t come back for years, if ever.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “Who is supposed to make up that 10-33% of work?”

            Maybe slightly less productivity per person (which doesn’t really matter much except in a full employment environment) is the price we all pay to continue the species.

            There is an assumption lurking behind your post, which to every parent will be highlighted and blinking, that people in the office are worthless unless they are able to give 100% at all times.

            Pay and promote according to performance and amount of work? Sure. Assume that because someone works fewer hours than you that there is something to be “made up?” Dumb.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I find some older people (usually those over 50) have the mindset of “be at the office more” equals better employee. My boss has it – even though I get more done than the people here more hours, I’m encouraged to spend more time at work.

            “What for?” I asked.

            There wasn’t an answer, except “People see you at your desk more.”

            I had to control my facial expression.

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            “There is an assumption lurking behind your post, which to every parent will be highlighted and blinking, that people in the office are worthless unless they are able to give 100% at all times.”

            That’s certainly not my approach or mindset, I only very rarely go beyond the usual 40 hours expected of a salaried employee.

            Perhaps we just have different work environments?

            Here the total number of employees is set by corporate honchos, is very difficult to change, and can be treated as fixed.

            The expected total work output for the department is also fixed, as those same honchos set the project scope and timelines.

            If somebody’s work output falls 10-30% and stays there for years, the other people in the department have to do that work or we won’t meet those expectations for scope and timelines.

            I don’t care at all how much time somebody is physically present in the lab or office, but I do care that everybody get their stuff done. I will look down on any colleague who significantly reduces their contributions while still expecting full pay and benefits.

        • 0 avatar
          Detroit-Iron

          Eat a bag of dicks, douchbag. Who is going to take care of your childless ass in your dotery?

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            Given that nursing homes are full of people who rarely or never see their kids I’m not sure how that’s relevant.

            Regardless, in all likelihood the answer is “somebody I am paying with the money I saved by not having children”.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Hey! I’m a douchebag too! Why wasn’t that plural?

            But I’d really prefer a bag of sliders.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Mmm, White Castle! Tastes good goin down, regret is for later!

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “regret is for later!”

            Fortunately I’m shortsighted.

            I just take off my glasses and mow down.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            Uhh, who do you expect to work in those retirement homes if not someone younger than you which sort of requires people to keep making babies.

            On the other hand, you could always just send yourself out on an ice floe once you hit retirement age.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “you could always just send yourself out on an ice floe once you hit retirement age.”

            Ice floe? Act now while supplies last!

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        First of all, congratulations to the proud parents.

        My son was born in Winter Park hospital near Orlando Florida. Wonderful experience, luxury hotel like atmosphere for all involved. Neonatal care, nurses coming to check on both patients every 30 min. C-section, induced labor.
        Total cost out of pocket $ 150 with Blue Cross.
        My daughter was born at the IWK in Halifax. Also C section, not impressed at all with the facility. Daughter needed incubator because of a bad case of jaundice. Nurses said that the hospital has a total of 8 and they are all either being used or broken so…we will be on a waiting list. We never got one. Nurses checked on the wife twice in 8 hours and they seemed very bored and bothered. First night, no private rooms were available. She had to share with 3 other women. Second and third we paid for private room. I think it was about 289 Cad.
        We told all our Canadian friends the contrasting experiences and they mostly got mad with us or didn’t believe us. Some aquaintances truly believe that the reason we came to Halifax with my job is to give birth for “free”. Paying 15% sales tax for the “free” health care doesn’t register with them.
        They were told by the government and still believe that IWK is one of the best children’s hospitals in the world.

        • 0 avatar

          The hospital we used here in CT was great (smaller city not a big hospital) Great care private room that were large and furnished with couch and chair for visitors. also had a shared kitchen for snacks (stocked by the hospital) But the current costs are outrageous. In 2002 I think my bill would have been under 200 bucks not any more. My numbers are above and the first two were with Anthem blue cross.
          I currently pay almost $400 a month for insurance (after my employer pays the first %80) and this gets me $3000 per person deductible and 20% coinsurance. With Canadian taxes I would save at least 20% over what I pay now before I get sick, I’d be willing to make that trade.

    • 0 avatar
      ScarecrowRepair

      Did you mean COST or PRICE?

      Failure to distinguish these two is widespread among those who want others to pay the COST so their own PRICE is lower.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @bikegoesbaa, go watch “Inferno” (I’ve read the book). You’ll think it’s the feel good movie of the year.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @bikegoesbaa; Your perceived difference in productivity is more than made up by the wage differential between women and men. And as we know, women get stuck with most of the child raising duties.

          As for having kids, without a growing population our economies would probably regress and we would be paying higher taxes in our dotage. Having children is a sacrifice made to help society.

          Presentism in the workplace is a major problem. Better to have more engaged workers, working from remote locations and/or home.

          As for time off, in Ontario the birth mother gets 17 weeks. After that there is parental leave of up to 37 weeks. Job protected and eligible for EI (employment insurance).

          And the Cain family due to our ‘socialized’ universal healthcare would have paid nothing out of pocket for their adventure.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Congrats! That’s a huge baby.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Congrats to Mother and child and you of course, make sure the ER gets a Holiday card each year as the baby grows.

  • avatar

    Congratulations, My wife had a close call with our last baby (third one). She was at a Dr’s appointment when she started to go into labor, at one point they were afraid she was going to give birth in the office. I drove across town to pick her up and drive her to the hospital back near our house on the other side of town. Luckily it’s only a 10-15 minute ride and I was late to work that morning. By the time we arrived she was very far along and the nurse at the door sent down a team of Dr’s and nurses down from the 3rd floor birthing center as they wasn’t sure she would make it up. Luckily they did make it up to the room and the baby was born less then 15 minutes later.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Congratulations!

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    I’m glad your wife is OK and that nothing went wrong which would distract you from maintaining your marvelous website.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Congratulations Tim. We had some anxious moments with our first daughter, with her lying on the cord, and her heart rate dropping dangerously low during each push. We came pretty close to an emergency C-section, but fortunately, things worked out. She’s 16 now, and a junior in high school. Also, on the way to the hospital, we were behind three crotch rockets that were pulling wheelies on the Interstate at 80 mph. I was just praying one of them wouldn’t lose it, and get run over.

    Watching episodes of “A Baby Story” was part of our late stage preparations with our first two girls (or “nest building”, as my wife calls it). Lol.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    Congrats! I was a 9+ lb baby so I’m sure my mom can commiserate with your wife about birthing a bowling ball.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Congrats ! .

    I vividly remember my Son’s birth 37 years ago .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    dal20402

    10 lb 13 oz! Holy cow. Congratulations to your wife. (And the rest of your family.) Our first was 9 lb 9 oz, and that was big enough to cause my 5’3″ 110# wife real trouble.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I think the content formula at TTAC needs some tweaking. I went to the Paris Auto Show and I do believe TTAC should of sent someone. Tesla will have its hands full.

    What about the two segments that represent well over half of cars sold? CUV/SUV and pickups?

  • avatar
    mikey

    Congrads …..Tim ,to you ,and your growing family. Canadian population grows by one ; ). Our first born , took. her first ride in a Helicopter Oshawa General to Sick Kids in downtown Toronto. She was 3.18 lbs. Today she is a 43 year old mother of two.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Congrats! And we are glad everyone is safe.

    Knowing Honda V6 transmissions you might have not made it to the hospital. :)

  • avatar
    CuoreSprtv

    My daughter’s first ride was on a helicopter from a local NICU in Erie to Pittsburgh Children’s hospital. 3 months later, and over 1 million (yep 1mil!) dollars bill later, we all drove back home in my brand new GTI. Luckily we had a decent insurance that covered most of it.

    She’s a healthy 11 months old now, who loves to go on a fast rides listening to Charles Bradley.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    The only car-related thing I can attach to my own birth story is my father tailgating the ambulance at 15 MPH in our ’87 Grand Voyager because a blizzard had dropped visibility to about 50 feet.

  • avatar
    paxman356

    In 2009, my first child, a son, was born. He came a month early and weighed in at 5 lbs, 11 oz. We took him home normally not long after. About a week after taking him home, his bilirubin wound up being high, so we had to take him back to the hospital to be under the blue lights overnight. After that, he was normal, and at 7 he’s happy and healthy.

    The car? 1997 Saturn SL1 5 speed.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    Our son came in a child car seat strapped into…….

    a ’63 Rampside.

    And we all lived to tell about it.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The kid’s OK and in the end, that’s all that counts!

    Cigar for Tim!

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    I guess what I am more amazed by in this story is that here in America, most hospitals are equipped with delivering children. Most hospitals here have maternity wards. Outside of premature babies or babies born with issues, there aren’t specialized hospitals, unless I’m living in a vacuum, just for delivering babies. Some are better than others at it, and some have better facilities or nicer rooms than others, but thats about it. Congrats on the baby boy!

  • avatar
    -Nate

    White Castle is no regrets, not ever =8-) .

    -Nate


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