Jail birth mother thought baby was going to die
A woman who had jail guards ignore her calls for help during labour is calling the experience a "nightmare."
Cornwall's Julie Bilotta gave birth in a segregation call at the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre on Sept. 29, a month before her due date.
The 26-year-old said she had no attention from doctors, despite hours of pain and calling for help, until the baby had started to emerge in a breach birth.
"I thought my baby was going to die, because I knew he was coming out breach and that's not normal," she said in a phone interview from prison.
"I could feel the blood coming out of me, I knew he was half up me, so I was worried about him not being able to breathe."
"The nurse felt her stomach, took her vitals and gave her Tums . . . told her it was indigestion and took her back to her cell," said Bryonie Baxter, executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa which works with women in the justice system.
Bilotta, who is facing several drug and fraud charges, is in jail for breaking bail.
Ontario's Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur said she wants to see what went wrong in this situation.
"It's a not a proper place to deliver in a detention centre, when someone goes into labour they're supposed to be transported to the hospital," she said.
Meilleur said she will apologize if the investigation finds proper procedure wasn't followed.
Mother hasn't seen newborn for days
Bilotta's mother Kim Hurtubise said after the both, both her daughter and grandson Gianni Lee were taken to hospital where the baby was monitored for nine days.
Gianni Lee is now in Hurtubise’s care, as Bilotta has been taken back to prison where she can’t see her son.
"It's extremely hard, he's my first baby and he needs me as much as I need him," she said. "I can't do anything about it
Bilotta’s lawyer is trying to get the new mother released in the next two weeks, on the grounds that she is now in dramatically different circumstances than when she came in.
"I feel like I've had everything taken from me . . . it's like a nightmare," Bilotta said. "I don't even want to look at (the cell where it happened.)"
Hurtubise said she also wants answers for her family.
“This is Canada, this shouldn't be happening,” she said. “They've got to do their time like human beings, not like animals in a cage . . . it's not right.”