It was a running joke in the final days of 2018 between Alicia MacIsaac and Jeremy Thompson of Whycocomagh, “Maybe we should go for having a New Year’s baby.”
Although their daughter Jasmine wasn’t born on New Year’s Day, their joke eventually became, in part, a reality for MacIsaac and Thompson.
Their daughter was the first baby born at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, Jan 2 at 12:51 a.m.
“She came a bit early, and was wanting to make an appearance early in the new year, I guess,” MacIsaac said. “We were totally joking when we said that, but it ended up being that way; so that’s pretty special.”
Jasmine wasn’t expected until the 15th, but MacIsaac said she had her doubts her daughter was going to wait until that point. She felt the big day would happen sooner than doctors expected – and she was right.
“I felt like it wasn’t going to be a very long time,” MacIsaac said. “We were kind of ready to go.”
It was not much of a surprise at 10:30 p.m., Jan 1, when MacIsaac and Thompson packed up the car to make the trip from their home in Whycocomagh, Cape Breton to Antigonish.
“We came very close to not making it in time, actually. My water broke at 10:30 p.m. and we had a long way to drive,” MacIsaac said.
Under normal conditions, that would have been a straightforward hour-long drive, but Mother Nature decided to intervene and make things interesting along the way.
“We had to drive in a storm that night. It was a bit scary, and I’m glad my partner was driving; I was in good hands,” MacIsaac recalled. “I let him worry about getting me there, and I concentrated on what was going on.”
The snow and wind turned the trip to Antigonish into a two-hour trek.
And just when the weather and the urgency of the situation weren’t making things tense enough, MacIsaac and Thompson saw one of the most frightening things they could conceive of seeing, late at night, on the way to the St. Martha’s: the orange glow of a sign at the roundabout near the causeway that said, “Causeway closed.”
“My heart near-stopped when we saw that,” MacIsaac said, noting that their fear turned to immediate relief, when they read the second part of the message on the sign that said: “…to high-sided vehicles.”
“That was a relief, but we had a moment where we looked at each other and thought, ‘uh oh,’” MacIsaac said.
Once they crossed the causeway, things went much smoother, with the weather calming down as they approached Antigonish.
“After that, it was pretty straightforward, and we never stopped,” MacIsaac said.
The rest was history, MacIsaac noted, adding she gave birth to a healthy girl of six pounds and four ounces.
Looking back on the situation from her Whycocomagh home, MacIsaac said, “it feels pretty great,” to be the mother of the first baby born at St. Martha’s in 2019.
“It also feels pretty great to be able to be a mother in general, at any time of the year,” she added.