The Piekema Family

Jobina and Roger may have crossed paths as teenagers, but it wasn’t until much later in life that they began their life together. In the early days of their relationship, Jobina and Roger decided not to have any children together. Roger was the proud dad of two amazing boys and Jobina was a very supportive stepmother to his children. The day that they found out they were expecting was a huge shock to both Roger and Jobina.

Jobina was at work and experiencing sneezing episodes. She researched her symptoms and found that they could indicate a pregnancy. Jobina called to get a doctor’s appointment, but due to the long wait, she decided that she would go to the walk-in clinic. Her blood work confirmed that she was pregnant. After an ultrasound, another shock came to Jobina and Roger: they were expecting twins.

Once the shock wore off, Jobina and Roger were ecstatic. In June 2012, Jobina started to experience high blood pressure and was sent to Edmonton’s Royal Alexandra Hospital for an ultrasound. It appeared that Baby A was approximately one pound larger than Baby B, leaving the doctors to believe that they were TTTS, which stands for twin-to-twin transfusion, where Baby A receives nutrients from Baby B.

At approximately 26 weeks gestation, Jobina arrived at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for another ultrasound. The family was just told that Jobina’s father Walter was was diagnosed with cancer and the reality of this diagnosis was a hard hit for the entire family.

During the ultrasound, doctors discovered heart tumors on the babies. Jobina couldn’t understand what was happening or why it was happening to her family. They met with specialists and the babies were diagnosed with suspected tubular sclerosis; however, the level of severity was not known. Two weeks later, a neurologist was called in and found a tumor on one of the baby’s brains.

Doctors decided that Jobina needed to be closely monitored and would require weekly ultrasounds. One week she would have an ultrasound in Grande Prairie and the next week she would travel the 480 kilometres to Edmonton. Roger worked away from home and Jobina travelled to these appointments on her own.

As a part of her prenatal care, Jobina stopped into the Grande Prairie hospital for her routine non-stress test. Her blood pressure was high and they could not decrease it with any amount of medical intervention. Doctors decided to transfer Jobina to Edmonton immediately.

Jobina lived in limbo, unsure of what would happen next.

Exactly one week after their arrival in Edmonton, Roger and Jobina had some friends stop by for a visit. Just as her friends left, Jobina had the sudden urge to vomit and called a nurse. Upon examination, they discovered that Jobina’s liver was failing. She was immediately prepped for an emergency C-section.

On September 23, 2012 at 10:57 pm, Layton Dale was born followed one minute later by Landon Walter. During the delivery, Layton became stuck and as a result had some major bruising. Both boys were shown to Jobina and Roger before quickly being whisked away. Again, Jobina’s blood pressure continued to escalate and she was unable to see her babies again until two days later. The couple anxiously awaited the moment when the babies were where they belonged, in Jobina’s arms.

The boys were doing great and on September 27, after spending 11 nights sleeping in a bedside chair, Roger spent his first night at RMHNA. Their clothing became limited and Roger would often have to go and pick up new clothes just to stay clean. At the House, he was finally able to do laundry. Jobina was discharged from the hospital on September 28 and called RMHNA home for six weeks.

Jobina spent long days bedside caring for her two precious babies. She would leave RMHNA by 6 a.m. to be at the boy’s side for rounds at 7 a.m. Her evenings were spent mainly in the quiet of her private room at the House where she would make all her phone calls to update family and friends on the journey. Jobina would often check to see what the Home for Dinner meal was if she hadn’t stopped somewhere on the way back to pick up dinner.

Layton was discharged from the hospital on October 26 and Jobina got to bring her baby home to RMHNA for the first time. One week later, she walked out the hospital doors carrying Landon and bringing him home to RMHNA.

Jobina recalls her stay at RMHNA as an overly emotional journey. Everyone was so kind and she found it difficult to understand and accept that there would be so many people in one location whose sole purpose was to ensure that families felt better. Whether it was other families or the staff within the House, everyone got it and this was so reassuring for Jobina. This experience has changed her life. If it wasn’t for RMHNA, Layton and Landon would not have had their mommy with them to help them heal and become strong enough to make it home.

Jobina and Roger said ‘I Do’ on February 22, 2014, in Jobina’s parent’s home in Lethbridge. Jobina’s father was unable to walk her down the aisle due to his failing health; however, he watched in awe as her brother gave her away to Roger. Walter Antochow passed away on March 6, 2014, and Jobina believes deep in her heart that Layton and Landon are gifts from her father.

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