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

Photo: David Dudeck
What you see …

Share your photos with Trail Times readers at editor@trailtimes.ca

A crew of 8 regional firefighters attended a house fire in Fruitvale on Friday. Photo: Trail Times
Friday house fire in Fruitvale

Three firefighters from Station 374 Trail attended; 2 from Montrose; 3 from Fruitvale

A juvenile sturgeon in a B.C. rearing facility. The wild population in the Upper Columbia is estimated at 1,100 individuals, enhanced with roughly 5,500 hatchery fish. (file photo)
B.C.’s Upper Columbia sturgeon endure long battle with local extinction

Decades of monitoring and intervention is ongoing to save the prehistoric fish

Discipleship is indeed exacting, as are the questions that arise from reading such a text: Am I in the game God has called me to? Photo: Hugo Fergusson on Unsplash
In the Game

Am I in the game God has called me to?

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Most Read