Edmonton

Baby boom: 9 nurses in same unit pregnant at Grande Prairie hospital

Legend has it that if you drink from the water cooler at Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Grande Prairie, you'll get pregnant. That's the joke among the hospital's nine pregnant nurses, anyway.

Two babies have been born since December, with the rest due by August

All nine nurses, from left: Jessica Leduc (with baby Sofia), Megan Green (with baby Claire,) Meredith Brown, Jacqueline Jardine, Monika Ruether, Desiree Siemens, Kiersten McFadyen, Jody Summers, Katie Komisar. (Supplied/Monika Ruether)

Legend has it that if you drink from the water cooler at Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Grande Prairie, you'll get pregnant.

That's the joke among the hospital's nine pregnant nurses, anyway. The women — who work in 3 North, the stroke and cardiac unit — all became pregnant within months of each other.

The first two babies were born this winter, and the last is due in August. 

What are the odds that nine women who work together would all get pregnant within the same nine-month span? Pretty low, said nurse Desiree Siemens, whose second child is due next month. 

"We keep joking that it's the water cooler, which has since been broken and replaced, so somebody wanted to end the cycle, apparently," she said.

"But we really have no explanation."

We keep joking that it's the water cooler, which has since been broken and replaced, so somebody wanted to end the cycle, apparently.- Desiree Siemens

The baby boom was not planned, said Monika Ruether, who is expecting her baby in a couple of months. At one point it seemed like someone was announcing a pregnancy every couple of weeks, she said. 

Kiersten McFadyen, who is 28 weeks pregnant, says she has loved working with women who know exactly what she's going through. Sharing tips with other moms and moms-to-be can help make the 12-hour shifts easier, she said.

The women expect to continue working until closer to their due dates but Siemens said they expect a bit of a "hiring spree" while they're on maternity leave.

Alberta Health Services said it will be business as usual after the women are on leave, with "little to no impact" on patient care. 

"We would like to congratulate these nurses and we wish them well," spokesperson Logan Chow said in an email.

Working with women who are at the same stage of life has been rewarding to everyone, Siemens said.

The patients joke about it too, she added — they've never seen so many pregnant ladies together before. 

"It's just been a really crazy experience but it's been so nice having like such an awesome group of women that are going through the exact same thing," Siemens said. "And we're all kind of helping each other out.

"All of the staff has been so supportive."