It was like the scene out of a movie.
It was Wednesday night and Joel Jennings and his wife Candy knew their second child was on its way. They jumped into their car, headed from Bracebridge to the hospital in Orillia where they were going to meet their midwife, Diane Smith.
Around Gravenhurst, the couple knew they wouldn’t make it and Joel called 911. They were told to make a decision, try and make it to Orillia or pull over and wait for an ambulance. Their baby made the decision for them.
“We happened to be going by the Washago Village restaurant, so we pulled in there, says Jennings. “I thought we had at least another 15 minutes to the hospital at that point and it was clear the baby was coming out long before that.”
The 911 dispatcher began to prepare Joel for assisting with the childbirth process and he was getting nervous. “The dispatcher was prepared to walk me through delivering the baby,” he says with a nervous laugh. “(Candy) was ready to give birth in the car but I was scared…”
A few minutes later the paramedic unit arrived, with Candy and Joel transferring into the back to allow for more room and all the equipment available. In an ironic twist a friend of Joel’s from his school days, Stephen Fulton, was one of the paramedics. That gave him a huge sense of relief.
“I’m sitting by the side of the highway scared out of my mind and I hear a familiar voice get out of the ambulance and it happened to be a guy I had known my whole life,” he says.
Based on how far along Candy seemed to be, the decision to stay in place and deliver the baby in the ambulance was made. A few minutes later a baby girl was born.
“We had about a half an hour in the back of the ambulance just to monitor both of them,” he confirms. With all the checkups done the veteran mom and dad drove home, as it was determined no hospital visit was needed. The only casualty on the night happened to be the midwife. Smith slipped on the way to the ambulance injuring her knee.
Joel and Candy have named their latest edition Danielle, joining older sister, 26-month-old Opal.
The proud parents are effusive in their praise of the 911 dispatcher, the paramedic crew of Joel’s friend Stephen and shift partner Guy and their bruised midwife Diane Smith. Joel revealed that the paramedics were pretty thrilled as well. Despite the regular use of babies being born on the side of the road as a plot device in TV, it is actually pretty rare and was a first for the paramedic duo.