A family affair going back generations
Colleen Kanaley Dow holds Remington Clark Dow with Kathy Kanaley.
The Kanaley family is very proud of the fact that four generations of their family have been born at Cape Cod Hospital.
On a recent morning at the home of the newest offspring, Remington Clark Dow, I was given a glimpse of a family that lovingly shared their history, traditions, genealogy and caring for one another, intertwined with a sense of humor.
Upon my arrival at the home of Colleen Kanaley Dow of Bournedale, mother of the newborn, I was also greeted by Colleen’s mother, Kathy Kanaley of Falmouth. A few minutes later, the front door opened and a great grand aunt, cousins, and sisters joined us to share their life experiences.
“[The conversation about generations born at Cape Cod Hospital] all started when Colleen was pregnant with that darling little brilliant Remington Clark Dow, who was born at Cape Cod Hospital on February, 24, 2017,” said Kathy. “I started to research a story that I heard that one of my mother’s cousins, Marie Kelleher, was the first baby born at Cape Cod Hospital on December 6, 1921. But the story is false or at least there is no definitive research that backs it up.”
While Kelleher may not have been the first baby born at the hospital, Remington is definitely the fourth generation born there.
“Remi is my first grandchild born at Cape Cod Hospital,” said Kathy. “My granddaughter, Chloe Ann Kanaley, was born at Falmouth Hospital on April 2, 2016. She is the daughter of my son Patrick and his wife, Rebecca.
Family tradition was not the first thing on Colleen’s mind when said she chose to deliver at Cape Cod Hospital for the tradition.
“I chose Cape Cod Hospital because honestly, I liked the view over the harbor and the OB/GYN group,” said Colleen. “Just being in the mid-Cape, there was something about it and I wanted him to be a Cape Codder.”
She did research on other hospitals and OB/GYN groups before making her decision and chose the Cape Cod Hospital OB/GYN group because they were in line with her birthing plan.
Intertwined in the conversations about lineage and the numbers of descendants born at the hospital on both sides of the family was the thread of history.
All of the members of the family tree were born at Cape Cod Hospital except Amy Childs Slavin, Richard Slavin, Eddie Dow and Rebecca Dutra Kanaley according to Kathy.
While the Kanaley’s family origin is Ireland, Kathy’s grandfather, Richard Slavin was born in Chatham and worked on the Hyannis Railroad. He and his wife, Amy raised their children in Hyannis and their son Daniel (Kathy’s father) bought the Sea Street Market in the 1950’s and owned it for 30 years.
Changes in Labor, Delivery and Recovery Over Four Generations
Anne (Slavin) Kelly, 84, Colleen’s grand-aunt (Remi’s great grand-aunt) is a registered nurse and worked in the maternity department at Cape Cod Hospital in 1957 on the 3-11 shift.
“The moms would go through labor in one room and then we would move them across the hall to the delivery room,” said Anne. “They would be given (sedatives) Demerol and Scopalamine and when they woke up they would comment that it wasn’t bad at all. Moms would feed their babies and then they would be returned to the nursery to sleep. And moms and babies would be in the hospital four to five days.”
Anne moved to Pennsylvania with her husband in the fall of 1957, while he attended Carnegie Mellon University. Her plan was for her second child to be born wherever her husband got a job after graduation. But, she flew home to the Cape for a visit about nine days before her due date and Brian was born at Cape Cod Hospital on June 25, 1960. He was, the only one of her five children born there.
Kathy had five children – three boys and two girls – and all were born at Cape Cod Hospital.
“I remember going to see my younger siblings when they were born,” said Colleen. “We had to visit as a family and we had to call ahead to the hospital; we couldn’t just show up. We tried to get there on time and that was always so stressful. One time we missed the time and we couldn’t go in to see mom.”
“No children were allowed to visit when we had babies,” said Anne. “It was usually the mother’s mother or mother-in-law who could visit.”
All the women commented on the positive changes they’ve seen in labor and delivery as well as post-partum care.
Colleen’s stay in the hospital was short compared to her mother and great-aunt.
“I was induced on Thursday, delivered on Friday and went home on Saturday,” said Colleen. “I could have stayed another day but I chose not to. The lactation consultants kept coming in to check on us and there was a lactating class I planned to attend on Monday, so I felt there was no reason to stay. If I didn’t have those resources, I probably would have stayed longer.”
While she was in labor, Remi’s position had to be changed before he could be delivered.
“The nurse literally walked into the room and told me the position I needed to go into to help him and after a few contractions, I felt him turn into the right direction,” said Colleen. “Just before delivery, Remi’s vital signs dropped with each contraction. Richard Heywood III, DO, an obstetrician at Cape Cod Hospital, knew what he needed to do and got Remi out safely.”
It was a scary time for Colleen’s husband, Eddie.
“I knew in the back of my mind the best people were watching out for me and I knew I had a job to do but it was out of Eddie’s hands and his control,” said Colleen. “The nurses were really good about making sure he was calm and he was ok. The experience was very father-friendly.”
Colleen noted that she labored, delivered, and recovered all in the same room, a big change from her mother’s and great-aunt’s experiences.
“I couldn’t get over how attentive the nurses were, and even though there were other women having babies that day, I felt like I was the only one,” said Colleen.
“She wasn’t alone, she was part of a team being coached,” said Aunt Anne.
“What a wonderful job, to experience those life-changing moments in a positive way,” said Kathy.
Slavin-Kanaley Family Tree
- Amy Childs Slavin and Richard Slavin
- Alice Slavin Krafft
- Daniel Slavin ***
- Claire Slavin Gagnon
- Richard Slavin
- Pauls Slavin
- Gerald Slavin
- Anne Slavin Kelly (Colleen’s Great Aunt)
- Edwina Montague Slavin and Daniel Slavin***
- MaryEllen Slavin
- Margaret Slaving Williams
- Michael Slavin
- Kathleen Slavin Kanaley ***
Kathleen Slavin Kanaley*** and Dan Kanaley
- Colleen Kanaley Dow ***
- Patrick Kanaley
- Jesse Kanaley
- Sabrina Kanaley
- Liam Kanaley
- Colleen Kanaley Dow*** and Eddie Dow
- Patrick Kanaley and Rebecca Dutra Kanaley
Featured Photo: From left to right; Terry Johnson (daughter of Anne Kelly), Anne Kelly, Colleen Kanaley Dow holding Remington Clark Dow, and Kathy Kanaley.