Blake Cann, Melissa Jones and Blake Jr. (bottom right) welcomed their newest family member, Paisley Sandra-Lynn Cann in the back of an ambulance on the side of Highway 19A after a harrowing drive down-Island from Port McNeill in the early hours of 2021. Photo courtesy Cann family

Blake Cann, Melissa Jones and Blake Jr. (bottom right) welcomed their newest family member, Paisley Sandra-Lynn Cann in the back of an ambulance on the side of Highway 19A after a harrowing drive down-Island from Port McNeill in the early hours of 2021. Photo courtesy Cann family

Expectant B.C. mom dodges branches, elk and an empty gas tank to deliver New Year’s baby

Harrowing ordeal for couple ends in joy on the side of highway north of Campbell River

Paisley Sandra-Lynn Cann was not the first baby born on Vancouver Island in 2021.

But she will probably have the most interesting birth story to tell of any B.C. baby born anywhere in 2021 once she’s old enough to do so.

Paisley Sandra-Lynn Cann was delivered at 3:37 a.m. on Jan. 1 on the side of the Highway 19 on the outskirts of Campbell River, in the back of an ambulance, after her parents raced down-Island from Port McNeill – about 200 km north – dodging herds of elk, branches and brush flying across the highway from the wind, and hoping they had enough fuel to make it all the way.

As it turned out, that was not the case, but they made it far enough to get a cell signal.

RELATED: Mom delivers north Island’s first home birth baby in 30 years, in the middle of a pandemic

RELATED: B.C.’s first baby of 2021 born in Vancouver, 21 minutes after midnight

Let’s back up a bit.

Paisley’s mom, Melissa Jones, was due on Jan. 24. She and husband, Blake Cann, were settling in for a low-key New Year’s Eve with their son Blake Jr., when Melissa’s contractions began.

But she’d been having contractions for a week already, and these ones felt no different.

When her water broke, however, “somewhere around midnight,” Blake says, they went to Port McNeill Hospital.

They were told the baby wasn’t yet on its way, however, and were sent home. They knew differently, somehow, so they got in the car and headed for Campbell River.

It wasn’t until they were approaching Woss – less than a third of the way to Campbell River – that Blake looked at his fuel gauge and saw the bad news.

“I knew Woss didn’t have a 24-hour gas station, so I was hoping we’d make it to Sayward,” he says. “It was raining; there were literally branches flying across the highway from the gusts of wind; there was water pooling all over the road – I’m surprised I wasn’t hydroplaning more – and there was elk everywhere. I guess you could say it was pretty stressful.”

His fuel light went on just outside of Sayward, “but they only have 24-hour diesel there for commercial trucks,” he says, “so we hit the highway again, praying we’d make it. At least the light wasn’t blinking yet.”

Sayward to Campbell River is a 77-kilometre trip, so Blake was pretty sure they weren’t going to make it.

“My car is only supposed to last 30 kilometres after the light comes on, but somehow it kept going,” he says. “We made it over 60 kilometres and about a kilometre back from where we made it to, we got cell service.”

So they called 9-11 for an ambulance. It arrived about seven minutes later.

“We got her into the ambulance and as they pulled out onto the road, the baby came and they had to pull back over. It was literally, like, 30 seconds after the door shut on the ambulance that my wife was giving birth.”

Paisley made her way into the world with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck three times.

“I don’t think she would have made it if we’d had her in the car,” Blake says. “It was definitely a miracle. I’m so happy that ambulance came when it did.”

The now-four-person family is now back at home in Port McNeill recovering from the ordeal and getting to know each other.

“We’re pretty tired,” Blake says. “But we’re happy, everyone’s healthy – she passed all her tests with flying colours – and I’m now going to make sure I always have a full tank of gas.”

Paisley Sandra-Lynn Cann weighed in at six pounds, three ounces.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BirthsCampbell River

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dyllan Petrin is charged related to an ongoing investigation in Surrey involving a kidnapping and assault that occurred in July, 2019. (Photo: Surrey RCMP)
Man arrested in connection to kidnapping, murder investigations: Surrey RCMP

Police say Dyllan Petrin was arrested in Vancouver

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Surrey chief constable says ‘comprehensive’ public engagement to be done this year

Norm Lipinski says Surrey Police Service has ‘good momentum’

Surrey-raised forward Jujhar Khaira in action with Edmonton Oilers. (Photo: nhl.com)
Q&A: Surrey’s Jujhar Khaira credits parents for their hard work on his path to NHL

Port Kells-raised player talks about his journey to pro hockey with Edmonton Oilers

The interventional oncology team at Surrey Memorial Hospital. The Surrey Hospitals Foundation has invested in innovative technologies to kickstart a new Interventional Oncology service at Surrey Memorial Hospital. (Submitted photo: Yvonne Chiang)
Surrey Memorial home to machines for ‘minimally invasive’ cancerous tumours treatments

Technology can freeze, burn tumours without need for surgery

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Ralliers gather in front of the Cityviews Village apartment building in Maple Ridge to protest attempts to evict low-income tenants by the building owner. (Ronan O’Doherty - The News)
Tenants protest pressure tactics by new landlord at Maple Ridge apartment building

Protest held in front of Cityviews Village on 223 St. Tuesday to rally against low-income evictions

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

Snow is forecasted to appear in parts of Metro Vancouver this weekend. (Black Press Media files)
Snow forecasted for parts of Lower Mainland this weekend

Environment Canada is predicting flurries and snow from Saturday to Monday evening

Most Read