“It was literally 41 years ago to this month,” Anna says. “I started working at the old Grace Hospital and I’d just had my first child. Now, here I am all these years later and that baby just had his first baby here at BC Women's.”
1981 was the year NASA launched the very first space shuttle mission, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” debuted in movie theatres, and Lady Diana married Prince Charles.
Over the years, Anna worked in various administrative roles from health-records technician to clinical informatics specialist. After her first son was born, she also had her three other children at the hospital. Those children then had all seven of Anna’s grandchildren here.
“Even my ex-husband and former father-in-law were born here. But not me. I’ve only worked here my whole life,” she laughs.
Anna’s latest grandchild was born in September and the whole family was relieved to have the highly-skilled BC Women's staff and health-care providers around them.
“It was a really challenging, difficult pregnancy,” she says. “I was thrilled, knowing my kids were getting care here at BC Women's with all of these amazing people I know and trust.”
Health-care providers had been watching the pregnancy closely. There were issues around the placenta and the baby’s growth.
“At one point, they said the baby was better off out than in,” Anna says. “Mom had to be induced at about 37 weeks.”
The baby girl was born Sept. 20 and she was very tiny so she had to be transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). She spent a week there and has since been allowed to go home because she is feeding well and gaining weight.
“She is so cute and so tiny, and everybody’s fine,” says Anna. “Both of the parents are so grateful for their care.”
Anna’s son and proud new father, Derrick Bloomfield, is thankful for his family’s experience at BC Women's.
“My wife had a bit of a tumultuous time, but we were happy to be in an area where all the experts and resources were available in one spot,” he says.
“They were also knowledgeable and caring when delivering the information. It made a process that was so challenging much easier for all of us as we navigated through it. I have nothing but wonderful words for the team. They were so patient and understanding with our numerous questions.”
Anna says all of her children have wanted to have their kids to be born at BC Women’s. She has been at the hospital for every birth.
“This is where mom works and this is one of the best hospitals in the world to have a child,” she says.
Anna is also the official DJ of BC Women’s and BC Children’s Hospital events, like the recent staff barbecue.
“DJing was our family business,” she says. “It started when my son was a karaoke host at our neighbourhood pub and it grew from there. We ended up expanding to weddings, holiday parties, birthday parties and high school dances. My kids grew out of it as they started having their own families so we don’t do it anymore. We still have the equipment so I accidentally fell into doing it here. We’re kind of a crazy, weird family.”
Looking back at her years at BC Women’s, Anna has a mix of happy and sad memories.
“The Long Service Awards have been legendary. For all the wonderful things we are, we’ve also suffered some great losses. There was the medical plane crash in 1995 in Masset, B.C. when we lost an entire team on their way to transport a woman with pregnancy complications and we’ve lost colleagues along the way who will never be forgotten."
Anna says she’s watched residents become specialists and obstetricians at the hospitals and has even watched a few retire ahead of her. Her coworkers created an “Ask Anna” sign for her as a 60th birthday gift because if there’s a questions about BC Women's, Anna’s the go-to for them.
“It’s a bit of a thing,” she laughs. “I’ve been around so long, I just know stuff – history, locations, people or whatever. If I don’t know, then I know who does!”
Through it all, she’s always been extremely proud of her workplace.
“We are an amazing facility that provides the best maternity care in the country, as far as I’m concerned,” she says. “I’m fiercely protective because there are people who don’t know everything we do. They’ll say the NICU is in BC Children’s Hospital. I’m always working to educate people that it’s part of BC Women’s and I want people to know how amazing the people are who work in our NICU, labour and delivery, maternity care, and nursery beds.”
For BCW's maternity information, please see the Planning to Give Birth at BC Women's and NICU websites.
If you or someone you know might be interested in joining the BC Women's team, check out our website.