The Gazette is still waiting for confirmation that Linkon Stryker Evans is the North Island’s first baby of 2015.
But there’s no question he’s the earliest.
Linkon was born Jan. 6, more than 11 weeks in advance of his Mar. 20 due date after mother Laura Evans was hurriedly flown from Port Hardy to Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster early that morning.
The baby weighed in at just two pounds, eight ounces, and remains in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care ward. But other than his small stature, he appears to be fine physically.
“His lungs are doing well; he’s very strong,” said Laura, who spent one night in hospital and is now staying in a nearby hotel. “He just needs to grow.”
The saga began in the wee hours of the morning Jan. 6, when Laura awoke to an unexpected development.
“I went to bed Monday night (Jan. 5) completely fine,” said Laura. “Then I woke up at 2 a.m. and my water had broken. It was quite a surprise.”
Laura and her husband, Jason Evans, contacted the 24-hour Nurse hotline for advice. They were told to get to hospital immediately, and checked into Port McNeill hospital.
Staff there quickly contacted B.C. Children’s Hospital, which arranged a flight to Port Hardy airport.
With her contractions coming regularly and consistently a few minutes apart, Laura and Jason were whisked from Port McNeill by ambulance to meet the flight, and made it to hospital just in time to settle into a room attended by nurses.
Shortly after the doctor entered, Laura said, her contractions intensified.
“When the third contraction came, I ripped the (oxygen) mask off my face and said, ‘He’s coming.’ He basically just shot out of my. The nurse caught him; I don’t think anyone else was ready.”
The baby boy arrived so soon that the parents did not yet have a name for him. Linkon Stryker was bestowed two days later. He is Laura’s second child and joins big brother Skyler in the family unit.
The premature birth led to Laura’s friend, Hillary Sorin, forming an online fundraiser to offset the family’s travel and living expenses while Linkon spends an anticipated eight weeks in hospital.
The fundraiser drew more than $3,000 in the first 24 hours and by this Monday had reached $4,600.
“We were in shock,” Laura said. “Under the circumstances, I don’t think it could be going any better. He’s strong and healthy, and with all the help from the community there’s not a lot of stress.”