The first baby of 2014 in Ponoka was born a healthy six pounds and 14 ounces Jan. 2 at the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre.
Harald and Nina Oppel welcomed their son Kevin John Oppel, their sixth child, at 3 p.m., 23 hours after Mrs. Oppel’s water broke. However, hard labour was only one hour and went relatively quickly, Mrs. Oppel said.
“It went really good. I never needed any medication or anything,” she went on.
“The kids were home from school so that helped a little,” added Mr. Oppel. “So there was no stress there.”
Kevin was actually born three weeks early and their family physician, Dr. Schalk Greyling, was away but the Oppels received assistance from Dr. Greg Chan, one medical student and an assortment of nurses.
“The nurses are really great,” stated Mrs. Oppel.
She has had positive experiences with five of her children being born at the Ponoka hospital and only one was born in Red Deer.
“It’s a great town to live in,” added Mr. Oppel.
The Oppels wanted to keep the gender of their new baby a surprise, not only for their five other children but also for themselves. However the oldest child, Denise was provided the gender so family in Austria would be able to know. Mrs. Oppel handed her daughter a piece of paper and waited for the big day.
Keeping the gender a secret was a challenge, said Denise. “Because everyone was asking me.”
They received help from Mr. Oppel’s parents who were able to watch the older children while the baby was born. The Oppels have lived in Ponoka since 1995 and Mrs. Oppel said she does not plan on having any more children.
Busy week at the hospital
The week leading up to New Year’s Eve, staff at the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre helped deliver 11 babies from Dec. 23rd to the 30th. Kevin was followed by two other babies; the second baby of 2014 was born just after midnight of Jan. 3 and the third baby was born three hours later on the same day.
There was an increase in babies born at the hospital as well: by the end of 2013, 108 babies had been delivered compared to 89 in 2012.