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

Cedar Valley Lodge, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the LNG Canada Project site in Kitimat. The most recent outbreak among workers at the project site was just declared over. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Second COVID-19 outbreak at LNG Canada Project site declared over

The outbreak was first declared on Dec. 16, 2020

CGL has closed down the two lodges affected to everyone except the essential staff. (Black Press file photo)
All COVID-19 cases associated with Coastal GasLink outbreak deemed recovered

Outbreaks occurred at CGL project accommodation sites in Burns Lake and Nechako Local Health Areas

Prince Rupert Branch of BC SPCA has partnered with the Greater Massett Food Bank to provide pet food to guardians in need during the pandemic, Joe Griffiths manager of BC SPCA said on Jan. 6. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Greater Massett Food Bank partners with BC SPCA

Greater Masset Food Bank has recently received more than 800 kg of pet food for those in need

A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Louisa Jordan Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday Dec. 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-POOL, Jeff J Mitchell
Social gathering, events to remain banned in B.C. as daily COVID-19 cases stay high

Extension comes as B.C. sees 761 new infections, eight additional deaths due to the novel coronavirus

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read