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Family Matters

And some more Fire Baby Stories!

July 13th, 2016

Click here to see the pictures to go with these stories and the full list of birth announcements! 

Dylan Charles  

Hi! My baby was born May 17th at the Grey Nuns hospital in Edmonton. The day before we were evacuated I found out that my blood pressure was very high and I was supposed to follow up at the hospital on May 3rd, which never happened due to the evacuation. My pregnancy was also high risk because I went into preterm labour with my previous pregnancy and I was only 36 weeks pregnant when we were evacuated so I was very stressed that I would go into early labour. We were evacuated to a camp up north and were flown out the following night. The day we spent in camp was tough since they didn't have enough food to feed everyone and I was very worried about going into preterm labour. However, I was luckily able to see a doctor in Sherwood Park a few days later and although my blood pressure was still very high, the baby was still doing ok. Because of my blood pressure remaining elevated I was induced on May 17 at 38 weeks pregnant. Within 3 hours of being induced I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. He's now 2 weeks old and is still doing great!

Amber Raine 

At the time of the evacuation I was 37 1/2 weeks pregnant and at work on modified duties for Regional Emergency Services at the Fort McMurray Fire Department. Many of my coworkers had come in to the fire hall in anticipation that they would be called in and they wanted to be ready to go. After sending several photos of what I could see in the sky to my husband Byron (D/C of Emergency Preparedness) at Syncrude, he directed me to go home and have bags packed for myself, my daughter, the baby to be and my nanny, in the event that we might have to leave. 15 min later he was calling back telling me I had to go. From what I could see I did not want to go South so he told me to come North to Syncrude. Arriving at Syncrude we were given a safe place to stay, beds and updates. At approx 10pm we were told that the highway was safe to travel so I packed up everything again and headed South to St. Paul. I knew I wouldn't have enough fuel so my brother and his friend met us near Conklin with extra fuel. After driving all night we finally arrived safely at 6:30am on my moms doorstep, in my hometown of St. Paul where the rest of my family still resides. After settling in with family in St. Paul I followed up with the hospital there as I had missed an ultrasound appointment that had been scheduled for May 4th. I was referred to an OB GYN and all seemed to be falling into place. I went into labour early May 27th and once at the hospital I was told that my Dr. was out of town for the weekend and because of my previous C section I needed a Dr that could do a surgical intervention and she was the only one. None of the neighbouring towns had beds available so I was transferred by ambulance to The Sturgeon community hospital in St. Albert. There, after I had laboured for 20hrs in total it was decided that a c section was needed as the baby's heart rate was becoming a concern. After surgical intervention was performed I was told that the cord was around the baby's neck and that it was good that the section was done. Amber is a very healthy girl and a very very content and pleasant baby.

Juniper Zakora

I heard you were wanting to hear stories of babies born during the evacuation. My name is Kelly Ralph and I had a beautiful baby girl May 23rd in St. Albert. Juniper Zakora was born at 11:13am weight 7 pounds 13 ounces. When my family and I evacuated, we made our way to a family members house in Lac Sante. Being 36 weeks pregnant I quickly made a Dr's appointment to see an obgyn. It was at my first appointment she booked me in for a c-section to have our baby in the Sturgeon Hospital in St. Albert. On May 23rd we got to meet our beautiful daughter.

Emma Grace

I was 40wks 1 day having my nst on Tuesday at NLHR! Not long and the nurse came in said you need to leave go home pack a bag and get to Edmonton!! So left hospital got outside and headed to prairie creek!! Fire was already over beacon hill, traffic was backed up for miles!! Then the panic set it... I hesitated running as I feared for my life but Also was worried about this baby we tried to make for 4 years!! We made it home gave lots love to my husband and son and we headed to Athabasca where our fifth wheel is!! Went to the Athabasca hospital but they don't deliver so next day I went to sturgeon hospital where I met an amazing OB!!! She said all was good and she would help:) so 41 weeks and 6 days later Emma Grace was born via c-section and we came back to our fifth wheel:)

Waylon Richard and Garrett Bernard 

My babies were not born technically during the evacuation but I think they were the last ones born in the hospital prior to the hospital being evacuated. My twin boys were delivered by planned c section at 11:47 and 11:48 AM on the morning of May 3rd. They were both 7lb 15oz and healthy. My surgery was smooth and I was out of recovery and up in the maternity ward to meet my babies around 1:00. Shortly after that I was asked to get out of bed so they could ensure I was mobile in case we had to evacuate. I thought it was just a precaution and never thought it would actually happen. However later that evening, my mom, my husband, my 5 hour old twins (Waylon and Garrett), and I were boarding a city bus. We finally arrived at Firebag camp at 1:30 AM where we were assessed and put on a plane to Edmonton, then assessed again before finally winding up in the Grey Nuns hospital in Edmonton. I was so happy to be in a bed where I would eventually be allowed to sleep again. After a couple days of recovery we were discharged and headed to my parents home in Rocky Mountain House along with my 2 year old daughter, Savannah. This community has been extremely generous with people bringing us clothes, diapers, blankets, lending car seats and baby items, and even a brand new tricycle for Savannah. The boys are thriving and both over 10lbs and we are looking forward to returning to the city towards the end of June. One other item we gifted with was a connection with a local photographer. I had arranged a newborn session with Natasha Nicholson of Precious Expressions - after the evacuation, Natasha offered to connect me with a local photographer and through her network I became connected with Suzie Taylor of Suzanne Taylor Photography who generously donated a newborn session. I would highly recommend her if you are looking for a photographer in central Alberta.

Sophia Kassidy

Here is our story on the birth of our baby girl Sophia Kassidy, born May 2, 7:57pm at the Northern Lights Regional Hospital. I have a precious healthy baby girl, and I had her the only day I could have had her in a hospital. Thank god she decided to come 3 days early. May 1: The fire started the night before I went into labour. The planes were flying over our house in Parsons North all night trying to put out the fires. Traffic was being re-directed by my street on because the highway closed. I said that night I hope I didn't go into labour since the street was bumper to bumper traffic and I would need an ambulance to come and get me to take me to the hospital The traffic didn't start moving until about 10 pm that night . May 2: I went into labour at 6am the next morning (I'm so lucky it was 8 hours later) During the drive to the hospital there was so much smoke outside and the air was really hazy, but no fires were in sight. I had Sophia that night at 7:57 pm, all was perfect in my world and we had no idea what was to come. May 3: We had our friends and family come visit us to meet our new baby. All seemed normal. Everything seemed to change within an hour, and from there everything happened so quickly. We started to get calls from our friends and family in town that the fires were getting bad. Our nurse came in and let us know about the fires and said we should soon leave to get any personal belongings just as a precaution. The PA system at the hospital was asking all visitors to leave. When I looked outside my room window, the sky was yellow and filled with smoke. Hospital street was bumper to bumper and all the streets as far was we could see were grid locked. They quickly discharged us and wished us well, we said good luck to everyone and left. Within a hour of us getting discharged, the hospital was evacuated. When we left the hospital there were ashes all over our car, you could see the fires burning all around the woods while we were driving. The radio kept saying to head north, we were in a convoy with tens of thousands of people driving about 5 km a hour, we were stopping in each camp along the way to get a room. The camps were filling up fast since there were so many people ahead of us. The baby needed to be fed, and with this being my first born I have a lot to learn about breastfeeding. I had to nurse Sophia in the backseat of my car parked in a camp parking lot. It was so hard, but we did it. Finally we got a camp room about 6 hours after leaving the hospital. We were so grateful to have a room to lay down in and some food to eat. A big thanks to the lady at the front desk who put us at the head of the wait list for a room when she found out we had a baby that wasn't even 24 hours old. May 4: We spent two days in the camp, people were so kind and helpful to us. The room and food was free and we had a shower to use..... It was all we could ask for. It's funny how you spend so much time preparing for a baby and getting everything ready, but at the end of the day, all we needed was a safe place to sleep (we used a dresser drawer as a bassinet) we had food to eat, we had each-other and were safe. We needed to get to Edmonton where we had doctors and medical care for us if we needed it and keep our baby away from any smoke. The highway was closed so there was no way to drive out. We heard the sites were offering their flights to evacuees. My husband called his employers travel coordinator and she lined us up with a standby flight at CNRL.... This meant more to us then I can express. When we got there we seen bus loads of people waiting for flights along with a airport filled with people. A flight was boarding and two guys asked us if we needed help with the baby or our bags, we told them we didn't have a seat yet and were on standby. They immediately both handed us their tickets....whoever you are, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. They helped us with our bags get to on the plane, another stranger offered My husband his seat so we could sit together. May 5: When we arrived in Edmonton at 1 am we were greeted by about 6 people volunteering from victim services. They had all kinds of things that were donated: a bassinet, stroller, diapers, blankets, water, pizza, the list goes on and on. One of the ladies offered us a room in her house and give us her phone number for if we needed anything. They arranged a taxi for us and the driver didn't charge us for the ride to our hotel room that my husbands work provided. We were also provided a vehicle to use free of charge. The hotel give us a meal for free and all the toiletries when we arrived. We had offers for places to stay, donations of baby clothes, discounts at clothing stores and restaurants. The hotel lobby has a stack of diapers, chips, cookies, toys, water, etc. stocked up for all evacuees to take as needed. They have been catering free dinners each night and everyone has been getting together. Even the doctor we seen in Sherwood Park with the baby called us after our appointment and her and her husband offered us a room in their house. Our family and friends have given us so many outfits and other things we needed for the baby, along with luggage for us to use. May 9: We arrived at my in laws in BC where we were greeted with even more donations from strangers who heard about us. We were also set up with a newborn photographer who would offer us discounted pictures since we were going to be able to get them done in Fort McMurray ...this meant so much that I could still get this images, especially on such short notice. I have never cried so much in my life, not because I am sad, but because of how much love and kindness we have been given and all the nice things we witnessed. We have seen first hand kindness and generosity like no other. I have been talking to so many other people who are evacuated and are being treated the same. I am proud of everyone in Alberta and the rest of Canada for sticking together and helping so many people in need. I am so proud to witness such love and selflessness and thank you from the bottom of my heart. So many people were volunteering to help everyone in need, whether it's bringing water or gas to people stranded on the highway, bringing coffee to first responders, rescuing pets trapped in people's houses. Police Officers and Firefighters being first in line helping all families and trying to save our beautiful city from this fire. It is beyond commendable to see people leaving their own families to help others in need. We cannot say thank you enough.

Joshua Shawn

My name is Amanda and my son Joshua was born on May 5. Here is his birth story: My due date was May 9, but due to a previous C-Section and labour complications I had been scheduled for another to have our baby (gender then unknown) on May 4 at the FM hospital by Dr. Okorafor. Upon driving around on May 3 to both let our toddler sleep and look for doorknobs for our home we had just spent 3 years renovating we learned that parts of Fort McMurray were once again beginning to be evacuated due to the fire. Since there was already an evacuation done on Sunday in these same areas, at the time we didn't think anything of it. We live in Thickwood and figured that we were still in an unaffected area. Before we knew it we were hearing things on the radio like (The Fort McMurray Golf Course has been evacuated... Mandatory evacuation for Beacon Hill, Abasand... Etc, etc). Still not really clueing in we decided to head home... We live on Hillcrest Drive, so when they announced a voluntary evacuation for 'Real Martin Drive down to Thicket' we quickly realized we were included in this. Once again we still hadn't fully understood the severity of the situation... We figured we would just go stay with a family member downtown and then make it to the hospital in the morning for my C-Section - after all the hospital did contact me at 3 PM to say that my surgery was still on for the following morning. Getting home we pack anything that we know can't be replaced as well as what we had throw together to go to the hospital and the bag I had packed for our daughter to spend the week with her Auntie. We then head to my parents house down the street and help them hook onto their fifth wheel and get in the vehicle to head downtown. This was at the same time that all access going south had been blocked off and all people north of the bridge were being forced to head north. Still not clueing in we get to a police officer and ask if we can just head to the hospital and wait it out there and the response was 'we are about to evacuate the hospital'... Not a wonderful thing to hear at 39.5 weeks pregnant knowing I could go into labour at anytime and it's possible I may not even be able to have a successful vaginal birth. So I panicked... And we headed north... We drove, and drove and finally made it to the Noralta Grey Wolf camp where there was no real medical staff or anything as far as I knew. People kept asking me 'when are you due?' And I would respond 'I am actually supposed to be having a C-Section in the morning' then they would go 'well you're awfully calm!' And I'd say 'I'm trying not to go into labour!'. At this time I was hearing reports that the road south was opened and my husband and I contemplated it but were worried we would get stuck and I'd go into labour on 63. Luckily my sister had made it to Albian Sands and was waiting there for a room when she'd heard that they were flying people to Edmonton if that's where they wanted or needed to go. She'd asked if they could get her sister who was 39 weeks pregnant on a plane and had at first been told that I was too pregnant to fly... Well, that send me over the edge once again... How was I going to have this baby North of Fort McMurray with no access to a hospital or a doctor even?! After they'd told her this she happened to be talking to a friend she ran into at the Albian Camp and another individual had overheard her... She was then approached by a few folks from the management team at Albian and was told they would get me on the flight if I was cleared by one of their medics. They then had a few individuals who had worked for Albian get in a truck and come pick myself, my husband and my daughter up at Grey Wolf. Upon arrival at Albian I was quickly brought into an ambulance for a quick examination then I was put back in the truck, brought straight to the airport and was on a plane within the hour with my family. I am forever grateful to The folks that made this happen... Without them I'm not sure what my birth story would be or how everything would have worked out. Once I got to Edmonton we headed to a hotel to sleep for the night before figuring out what our next step would be for my surgery. I am very fortunate to have a sister that actually works as a Labour and Delivery nurse who works with quite a few Obstetricians on a regular basis. She was able to get into contact with Dr. McCubbins who saw me that morning (May 4) and had me booked in to have my baby the next morning at the Grey Nuns hospital in Edmonton. Joshua Shawn Harvey Myers was born at 10:34 am on May 5, 2016. He was 8 lbs 5 oz and 20.5 inches long. We are so overjoyed to have him as a part of our family - and totally surprised when he came out a boy!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story. We feel so fortunate to have had everything and everyone come together they way it did and am so grateful to every person who had an impact on getting our son here safely.

Bo Lexie 

I have a little evacuation baby girl to add to the list! Bo was born may 24th, 3 weeks before her due date. We spent 2 weeks bouncing around in hotels across Edmonton and St. Albert. We decided to move our family of 3 (soon to be 4) to fox creek with extended family. After 2 days in fox creek and finding our third doctor since the evacuation the Dr decided that given my history, our recent misadventure of an evacuation, it was time to send us back to Edmonton in case of an emergency and to meet our 4th Dr. A woman reached out to is in Edmonton to give us an apartment to stay in until it was safe for our return. After one visit to our new obgyn he decided it was time for us to go have this baby. A few short hours of observation we had an emergency c section and our little girl was here safe and sound! 

Liam Luc Wade was expected on May 21st but on May 3rd like so many other Fort McMurray residents he had to evacuate his home. His adventure began towards the North so he could spend the night at the BlackSands Camp. Dad and mom's belly were pretty snugged in the little cozy bed, but with the delicious food available at the cafeteria and with the care of Peter (manager of that camp) our short stay was quite enjoyable. The next morning, we hit the road early since we heard gas was now available in Grassland and Wandering River. We would go South to seek refuge and provide this little man with the care and services he needed before being welcomed into the world. We had two vehicles and debated leaving one at the Blacksands camp since it was almost on empty, but we decided to take both vehicles and hit the road. Dad drove the truck until it was 70 km over the empty mark. Just as we pulled off to leave the truck on the side of the road, a man pulled up with his tow truck and offered us enough gas to take us to Wandering River. We still had both vehicles. In Wandering River, we were pleased to have a bite to eat, which was prepared by the local fire department. We continued our journey towards Fort Saskatchewan where we would reside with friends until the birth of Baby Smith. His name still a mystery to family and friends who were eagerly calling and texting to ensure we were safe. Once arrived in the Edmonton area, we needed a few baby products and stopped at a baby store where we found a cute firefighter outfit. We decided to buy it as a reminder that our son would be born during the ymm fires. We had also nicknamed him the "man of steel" since he wasn't too agitated during the events. This outfit was perfect. It not only represented the courage and bravery of the emergency services with 'the beast' but our own strength and resiliency throughout this adventure. We patiently waited for his due date, getting lined up with an OB, visiting the St. Albert hospital and doing a lot of yoga to keep baby and mom happy and moving. Our Doula, Amanda Gergely, was present during the delivery. We felt relieved and blessed. This little man was 13 days overdue. He arrived at a healthy 9.2 pounds and everyone is doing well! We joked that hopefully our next child will not bring on another natural disaster.


Tags: Babies, event

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