Tea for Two - The Antepartum Recreational Program at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women

Karyn VanderVlugt a caring mother and wife from Lacombe County who finds joy in spending quality time with my family and traveling the world!

As a mom of one she was overjoyed to learn she was expecting baby number two! She was eagerly anticipating watching her new baby grow and making their family complete. Everything was going smoothly for the first four months until an ultrasound revealed her cervix was shortening.

A follow-up appointment showed her condition was worsening and with that her worry increased focused on what it would mean or look like to have our baby born so early. She did not know too much about the risks of “preterm births” but, like many other expectant mothers, some scary thoughts began to enter her mind.

It was then Karyn was referred to the care teams at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, where they specialize in high-risk pregnancies. Due to the distance between her home and the hospital she was told to find a place she could stay that wasn’t so far away until she reached the 32-week point of her pregnancy. She arranged to stay with her sister in Edmonton, but after one week, another checkup confirmed her condition was more serious than first thought.

It was news no one ever expects to hear.  

Karyn needed to be admitted to the Hospital. An already lonely reality was intensified as the timing was over the Christmas season. Holiday memories dashed, she would need to be in a bed far away from her toddler son and loving husband; her world darkened. It was then that she found a bright light in the Antepartum Tea for Two program at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women.  

Learn more about the program in the video below.

There were many women, facing time away from their families at the Hospital–some from very remote communities–all anticipating the healthy arrival of their babies. The program brings patients like Karyn together for games and crafts and most importantly the companionship each are all so desperately missing. The program provides a connection to the other expectant mothers they would likely not develop without it. A spark of joy that grows into a community of support, nurtured by supportive and caring staff and physicians of the hospital.  
It is therapeutic. The connections are real and meaningful. The program offers normality back into a situation that feels so unpredictable.  Patients build bonds and feel for each other, taking comfort in knowing they are not on this journey alone.  

Stronger together, the Antepartum Tea for Two program builds a bridge no patient is initially aware they need. Patients leave the unit incredibly grateful for the outstanding care they receive, and even more grateful for the caring approach of this critically important program.  

Alberta has one of the highest rates of preterm birth in the country and that the effects of premature birth on the child can last a lifetime. Preterm birth also takes a tremendous toll on mothers impacting their physical and emotional health. From an elevated risk of developing premature cardiovascular disease to postpartum mental health and traumatic stress disorders, premature births have serious health consequences for moms and their babies.  
The nurses handle things with extra care, the psychologists regularly check in on each patient, the doctors provided incredible and attentive care, and the Tea for Two Antepartum Recreation Program makes the hospital a home.

Joining the Lois Hole Hospital Women's Society as a monthly supporter or making your one-time gift to the Society ensures this program can continue!


Karyn's story has a happy ending. Their family welcomed a full-term, healthy baby girl named Ellyse into the world this past February and they have the care teams at the hospital to thank for this.

Please share your support today and know your dollars are making a difference for the families, just like Karyn's, who rely on the high-risk birth centre for our province at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women.