Visually stunning fireworks were bursting in the sky on Canada's 150th birthday, but the hearts of my family members were exploding with a range of emotions from our very own celebration.
My alarm was set for 8 AM for Canada Day prep. Get the camera ready, prepare my notes and get the kids into go mode for the day. Instead, a musical tune interrupted my sound sleep, I answered to a calm but trembling voice “it's go time, Hanna's coming”. I instantly forgot what my plans were for the day and bolted to their house to spend the day with the excited, soon-to-be, Big Sister Addison.
Blaine Thom was fidgety and ready to jump out of his skin with excitement, his fiance Becka Mahar was calm and collective while gathering her last minute necessities for the hospital, their third baby Hanna was prepping for her big entrance. With 8 minutes between contractions, there should have been plenty of time to get to the Regina General Hospital, but Hanna had other plans.
Carole Debreceni, Nana to Hanna, called 911 just minutes after leaving Kipling, the labour situation became an emergency in a matter of minutes. “I looked at Becka and the look on her face was 'this is serious now', I knew we needed an ambulance,” Carole explained. “I called them at 7:03 and stayed on the phone with them for 31 minutes until we met with the ambulance on the road.” The ambulance attendants Rob Buchanan and Michaela Giroux took over the emergency labour at the intersection of 47 and 48 near Louis Dreyfus.
In sight, being in the back of the ambulance should have given the parents a sigh of relief, but that wasn't allowed until Hanna took her first breath. Hanna would be the third baby for Blaine and Becka. Parker, their first born and only son, was stillborn in February of 2013 in the back of an ambulance en route to Wolseley Hospital. A known fear from their dispiriting loss was present.
This was an emotional ride for the excited parents and their responders were quick to pick up on it. “He (Rob) was careful with how he drove and ran the sirens through the traffic, he was making sure it was safe everywhere but still getting us through. He was really on his game.” Blaine remembered of his front seat experience in the ambulance. “He was awesome. He kept me calm while he was driving because I was losing it. I couldn't have had a better person to sit with.”
“I knew things were happening fast, I knew this baby was coming in this ambulance.” Becka states with certainty. “At one point I felt like I had to push and knew it wouldn't be long.” As the ambulance turned off of Victoria Avenue toward the Regina General Hospital, baby Hanna decided to make her grand entrance as a Canada Day Baby just moments away from the hospital bay. “I felt so comfortable with Michaela, she knew what she was doing. They did their job very well!”
“We have a baby!” Michaela shouted. Mixed emotions were shared as they pulled into the ambulance bay, happy tears for the new little baby bundle, relief of a safe delivery and the memories of the traumatic birth of their son overtook the little family. Medical staff from the Labour and Delivery were hands on to greet Blaine and Becka to comfort them through this emotional birth, through their tears of relief and big smiles as baby Hanna became a star!
As many pregnancies go, Becka and Blaine were given a few due dates including Saturday, July 1st. This seemed the best day to have a birthday for a little Canadian girl and Hanna seemed to know this best! At 8:42 AM, weighing in at 7 lbs 11oz, Hanna Shae Leighton Thom instantly pulled at our heartstrings. She is a unique gift to our community on such a memorable and celebrated day, helping my family to celebrate 150 years of an amazing country and awesome miracles. Our family won't be celebrating just Canada Day anymore, instead we honour this day as 'HannaDa' Day, a little name my children made, with help from their Dad, to celebrate their new cousin.
“I was referred to as the Dad of the famous baby,” Blaine laughed. “I may have to make her a sign for the town!” Kipling is on the map for many notable people, Hanna just might be the next one!