Yellowknife evacuees' newborn arrives in Red Deer after a wild 24 hours

They were among pregnant couples in the city contacted by the territory's health authority in a scramble to get people to safety in the south, where the services they needed could be maintained.

The two made it out just in time to deliver their firstborn, Henry MacIntosh, at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre in Alberta on August 18.

“We were kind-of in shock a little bit," said Blake of the initial call.

"That was on my due date, so I was 40 weeks pregnant."

Alberta Health Services told Cabin Radio it is supporting "30 childbirth-related patients" from the territory in Red Deer, Calgary and Edmonton – Blake, MacIntosh and MacIntosh the younger among them.

The voyage to Red Deer was long and arduous. Having received a call in the dead of night telling them to get to Yellowknife's hospital for 9am on Thursday, the flight carrying Blake and MacIntosh south ultimately did not depart until late that afternoon, the pair said. Each was allowed only one carry-on bag.

They reached Red Deer and the safety of a hotel room at 10:30 p.m. Hours later, Blake was in labour.

“He waited just long enough for us to get here," she said of Henry.

"We actually had a Yellowknifer for a doctor, which was a really nice surprise. When my mum came to the hospital, she was like, 'Oh, that's my friend.' So it just felt very Yellowknife-y, for being in Alberta."

Henry was 11 days old at the time of the call with Cabin Radio. Dad Brenden, standing a few feet from the phone while changing the baby, said the evacuation meant he had additional "father time" with Henry, a silver lining compared to having to return to work had the birth happened in Yellowknife.

"We're doing really well, I think, for everything that happened," said Blake.

Henry isn't the only evacuee baby. Cabin Radio is aware of at least four to date, and likely others have not yet been reported.

Tyler Abela and Mimmi Thompson gave birth to their newborn, Finn, shortly after arriving in Calgary from Yellowknife. They notified Cabin Radio of the birth by email.

"Mimmi was 38.5 weeks pregnant, which added an extra level of anxiety to our evacuation," Abela wrote.

"I'm happy to report our little evacu-baby, Finn, was born in a Calgary hospital on August 23, delivered by his midwife Grandma (also an evacuee)."

"While his birth certificate says Alberta," Abela concluded, "we know he'll be a northerner at heart."

Aastha Sethi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio