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

Maintenance work at lower City Centre Mall parking lot. (Clare Rayment/Kitimat Northern Sentinel)
Lower City Centre Mall entrance by No Frills closed

District doing maintenance work from 8 a.m. to early afternoon Wednesday (Jan. 27)

Collision at the Haisla/Kuldo Blvds. intersection Tuesday (Jan. 26). (Clare Rayment/Kitimat Northern Sentinel)
Collision at Haisla and Kuldo Boulevards

Five people taken to hospital with minor injuries

Angie Mindus photo
Clare’s Corner: A place for everything — and I mean everything

It’s amazing to see how much ‘stuff’ one can accumulate in their house over several months

(Jacqueline Sweet photo)
Jacqueline Sweet, right, at her graduation from the Bachelor of Arts at Simon Fraser University with her friend and fellow graduate, Laura Taylor.
In Our Valley: Jacqueline Sweet

Sweet said her career can feel isolating in the North, but she loves that she’s able to help people

(Cara Webb photo)
Cara Webb’s dog, Millie, who bolted during New Year’s Eve fireworks and was missing for almost a week. She was eventually found by Webb’s neighbour.
Good News, Kitimat!

Bringing some local good news to your week

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

(Kraft Dinner/Twitter)
Kraft Dinner launches candy-flavoured mac and cheese just in time for Valentine’s Day

Sweet and cheesy treat will be here just in time for the cheesiest holiday of the year

SAR crews worked late into the night Tuesday to rescue an injured snowboarder in North Vancouver. (Facebook/North Shore Rescue)
Complicated, dangerous rescue saves man in avalanche near Cypress Mountain

North Shore SAR team braves considerable conditions to reach injured snowboarder

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
UPDATE: No sign of small plane that went down in waters south of Vancouver Island

Searchers out on both sides of border between Victoria and Port Angeles

In this undated image made from a video taken by the Duke of Sussex and posted on @SaveChildrenUK by the Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, shows the Duchess of Sussex reading the book “Duck! Rabbit!” to their son Archie who celebrates his first birthday on Wednesday May 6, 2020. The Canadian Paediatric Society is reminding families that the process of raising a reader starts from birth. (Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK)
Canadian Paediatric Society says raising a reader starts from birth

CPS says literacy is one of the strongest predictors of lifelong health outcomes

Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough responds to a question during a news conference Thursday August 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Easing rules for parental benefits created inequities among parents, documents say

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office says the government will make any necessary changes

People walk along a pedestrianized zone of Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Newly released statistics point to a major drop in police-recorded crime during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Crime down in first 8 months of pandemic, but mental health calls rise: StatCan

The agency says violent crimes such as assault dropped significantly

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms 1st death amid growing COVID-19 outbreak

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

(Pixabay)
B.C. teacher gets 1 day suspension after ‘aggressively’ throwing dumbbell at student

Documents show the weight would have hit the student if they didn’t catch it

Most Read