MEDICINE HAT, Alta. – Lightning shouldn’t strike in the same place twice, the same person shouldn’t win two lotteries and people really shouldn’t have back-to-back New Year’s babies.
But even the longest odds can be defied and on Sunday at 12:46 a.m., Grace Olivia Ketcheson was the first baby for 2012 at Medicine Hat Regional Hospital, arriving 365 days and four minutes after her older brother, Jack, was the first baby in Regina in 2011.
Grace is Bobbi Jo and Kurtis Ketchesons’ fourth child, all of whom are younger than four.
“My dad was with me (Saturday),” Bobbi Jo Ketcheson said. “I had just changed the laundry over and hadn’t even been sitting on the couch for five minutes. I gagged once, ran to the kitchen sink and threw up and looked at my dad, ‘Oh no, call 9-1-1, I have to push.”‘
Bobbi Jo suffers from hyperemesis gravidarum, which causes extreme, persistent vomiting during pregnancy.
“I don’t really have labour,” she explained. “I vomit, then I get this terrible headache, which lasts about a minute. Then once I can talk again, I have to push.”
Ketcheson’s abnormally short labours leave her with just minutes to get to a hospital. The couple had a bed set up in their heated garage this time around in case she couldn’t make it to the hospital in time.
They even went as far as to make dry runs to the hospital to determine the fastest route.
Both Grace and Jack were premature babies and weren’t due until February.
On New Year’s Eve, Kurtis Ketcheson was returning to Medicine Hat after being away for work when he got a phone call that his wife was about to give birth.
“Her dad called me to tell me the ambulance had just left the house,” Ketcheson said, noting he was just at the edge of the city.
“I was heading down the highway (toward the hospital) and I could see the lights coming behind me. I knew it was them.”
He made it to the hospital in time for the birth, which took longer than usual due to the baby’s chin getting stuck on her mother’s pubic bone.
Bobbi Jo Ketcheson said she was asked to sign a consent form for an emergency C-section, but the baby ended up being born naturally.
“I just said screw it, I don’t have time for a C-section,” Ketcheson said. “Somebody lift up the blanket and catch. She was born right there on the operating table.”
Ketcheson said all four of her pregnancies came in spite of some form of birth control, and noted she was only hours away from signing a consent form to have her tubes tied when she found out she was pregnant with Grace.
“We’re like the two most fertile people in Canada,” she laughed.
The couple says this is definitely going to be their last baby.