I gave birth to four babies in St. Michael’s and although it was not easy to have forceps and a C-section delivery, I was treated like a queen by the nurses. [As a nurse myself who] specialized in midwifery and pediatrics, I always learned from Sister Marie how to care better for baby. After all, it is also different when you are a mom!
-Adriana M. Vanden Doel, Lethbridge Herald, Dec. 28, 1999
Since the earliest days of the Van Haarlem Hospital, there was always an emphasis on maternity. In the beginning, Marie Van Haarlem and her staff primarily cared for expecting mothers and by the time of her retirement, half of the beds were reserved for deliveries. This trend carried through the hospital’s transition to the Sisters of St. Martha. By the early 1980s, 50 of the 100 doctors on staff at St. Michael’s were involved in obstetrics in some way.
The Obstetrical Department at St. Michael’s was completely renovated in the 1980s, reflecting the hospital’s shift toward family-centered care. This involved the creation of two birthing rooms with delivery beds to encourage a more natural experience in a home-like setting and the inclusion of fathers in the delivery room.
The significance of obstetrics remained crucial throughout St. Michael’s operation, and many families have fond memories of their experiences.
The temporary exhibit St. Michael’s: 90 Years of Compassionate Care is on display at the Galt Museum & Archives until September 29. The exhibit includes a display of maternity and obstetrics equipment and materials.