LAC LA BICHE - Seventeen-month old Aliera has a new baby brother, and the Lac La Biche region has a New Year Baby.
Creesun McDonald was born just after 11 a.m. on Jan. 2 at Lac La Biche's W. J. Cadzow Hospital to proud parents Kelsi McDonald and Jason Bellam. The Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement family have been enjoying the new year with their new arrival, says Kelsi.
Creesun ("We haven't picked a middle name as of yet," said mom with a laugh) entered the world weighing 9 lbs. 9 oz.
The name, linked to the family's Indigenous heritage, was a suggestion from her sister-in-law, said Kelsi.
Health and happiness
Despite recent challenges and changes at area hospitals, including reduced hours and services, the 22-year-old mom said the delivery went as smoothly as it could.
"The staff were great. I have a happy, healthy boy, and I am grateful," she said, adding that she really wasn't expecting to be a New Year Mom. "We thought I'd be having the baby sooner, and then New Year hit, then a day later, and all of a sudden... here he is."
His timing was perfect.
Creesun was born on the first day since last May that Obstetrics services — on an intermittent basis for now — returned to Lac La Biche's hospital.
Cadzow OB opens partially
It was eight months ago that Alberta Health Services (AHS) announced a "pause" in services at Cadzow's Obstetrics and Surgical departments due to a lack of an anesthesiologist. According to the AHS website, that pause is still in effect — but AHS officials tell the POST newsroom that the department opened — on an intermittent basis — on Jan. 2, thanks to some recently-located, temporary locum coverage.
AHS North Zone spokesperson Diana Rinne says the intermittent service schedule means all expectant mothers in the areas will still need to be prepared for service changes.
"All pregnant patients will continue be contacted through their family physician or midwife to ensure they have the support they need, including a plan for where they will safely deliver their babies should obstetrics services be paused in Lac La Biche," she said, explaining that pre and post-natal services will continue to be offered by health care providers in Lac La Biche.
She added that "imminent unexpected deliveries" will continue to be managed through the hospital's emergency department, and may result in emergency transfers if necessary.
The priority, Rinne said, as with all AHS matters, is patient care.