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B.C. paramedics think fast to deliver surprise baby on Pender Island

Little baby Leo had a ‘picture perfect’ and unique birth on Jan. 22, 2022
Parents Danielle Yole, Josh Dargan and their baby Leo who was delivered on Pender Island three-weeks earlier than expected. (BCEHS photo)

It’s a birth story that could have only happened on Pender Island.

When Danielle Yole and her partner Josh Dargan planned their trip to the famed B.C. Gulf Island, their baby wasn’t due to be delivered for another three weeks. But on the afternoon of Jan. 22, 2022, little baby Leo was ready to be born whether his parents were or not.

“It was supposed to be a quick getaway but this kid had other ideas,” Yole said.

That’s when Pender Island paramedics Shannon Brayford and Scott Elliott got the call.

“Our first choice was for Danielle to be in Victoria where she had access to her midwife and more resources. But getting her there meant we’d be putting her either in a helicopter or a water ambulance and giving birth in a helicopter or a water ambulance is the least ideal location,” Brayford said.

As Brayford and Elliott prepared to transfer the couple back to Victoria it became clear that baby Leo wasn’t going to wait, so they opted for Plan B, the Pender Island Health Clinic where a local physician was waiting.

Once they arrived, the paramedics worked quickly to assemble a birth team. A local midwife got the call while working in her garden, so she dropped her spade and rushed to the clinic. Meanwhile, an obstetrician from Victoria was ferried over on a water taxi, accompanied by a third-year medical student. Even a couple of local firefighters joined the effort.

“It wasn’t a scary day because we always have all these resources behind us for unexpected events,” Brayford said.

Leo’s birth was ‘picture perfect’. The healthy baby boy entered the world to a delivery room full of cheers.

“We had the biggest cheer team,” Yole said. “Everybody was so stoked and so happy. Shannon and Scott were absolutely epic. Shannon kept me laughing and staying positive all the way through.”

READ MORE: BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’


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