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Diane and Chris Pappas' story

Paramedics help in unexpected home birth

May 23, 2018

Preparing to have their second baby, Diane and Chris Pappas thought they had a plan in place for how the delivery was going to happen.

All that changed when Diane's contractions started.

"I had had false labour multiple times so when I started having cramping I didn't want to jump the gun too quickly," she said.

Diane took her dog for a walk but the contractions were coming quick. She called her midwife to say the couple was heading to The Birth Centre.

"Then it got really intense really quickly," Diane remembered.

Her body at this point started naturally pushing. The couple's doula told them to call 9-1-1 and to start preparing for a home birth.

"She said you might have to deliver the baby yourself," Chris said.

Brandie Seneshan took the 9-1-1 call. The dispatcher said talked Chris and Diane though what to do next.

"According to our protocols if the baby is coming right away we have instructions for what to get them to do, certain positions, supplies to gather in case the baby does actually come before the responders get there," she said.

The baby decided to wait a few extra minutes.

"I am running around trying to get towels, a safety pin, hot water. Finally by the time I was ready the paramedics show up and took over and I had a huge exhale," Chris said.

Stacey Innes was one of the first to arrive at the home.

"We got there and mom was on all fours crawling through the hall, and yea, it was definitely happening," the firefighter said.

The paramedic crew knew Diane didn't have time to make it to The Birth Centre.

"It may have felt more awkward for the mother and father in this situation given what they were planning and probably would have been a very gorgeous room and well laid out," Michael Sawatzky, a paramedic, said. "Now we are at a right angle to the bathroom, bedroom and a hallway. We are more used to that then they are I think."

However, he, and fellow paramedic Matthieu Collette made the best of the situation.

"She was almost 40 weeks pregnant and she had the urge to push so we did what we had to do," Matthieu said. "It was really quick."

While the birth happened fast, it wasn't without challenges. Matthieu noticed early on the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck.

"When the baby first came out I remember the paramedics saying I think the cord is wrapped around the neck and being a little freaked out," Diane said. "Had we been alone for that we would been a lot more freaked out about that."

It took both paramedics to move the cord safely away from the neck.

"Baby was fine and healthy, mom was healthy, everything was great," Matthieu said.

The pair's medical supervisor, Paul Nairn, was impressed at how the paramedics handled the situation.

"They calmly explained the baby had a cord around its neck," he said. "That is something that would get anyone worked up in that situation."

The delivery is something Matthieu will always remember.

"The cherry on top is that by chance the son had the same name as me," he said, "So it was pretty cool.

By coincidence, the couple had planned to name their baby Matthew even before he was delivered.

"He got to be somewhat named after the person what was there to catch him as he came out," Diane said.

Emergency and Safety