Roadside Birth: Ontario Couple Delivers Baby on Highway 17

Anthony Periard can now claim the title of doctor, delivery boy and father.

On Friday morning, Periard and his partner Julia Turpin drove from Ottawa to Pembroke Hospital to give birth to their new daughter. The couple say they recently moved from the valley to Ottawa to be closer to family.

“I was driving a little too fast to get here in time, and out of nowhere she started having tighter contractions,” Periard recalls.

Periard says they were ten minutes from Pembroke Hospital on Highway 17 when they ran out of time. The 27-year-old then says that he drove on the side of the road.

“I didn’t know what to do, so I called 1-1-2 and tried to get someone from the ambulance online,” Periard told CTV News. “And as soon as he answered the phone, the baby was already crying on her lap.”

“It was terrifying,” Turpin recalls, sitting in the passenger seat. “I didn’t know what was going to happen. I’m just glad everything turned out okay.”

Now that the hard work is done, Periard says emergency services ordered him to tie a shoelace around the umbilical cord while they waited for help to arrive.

“I reached into the back seat and grabbed a couple of sweaters to make sure they were warm. I cleaned her all over and we sat on the side of the highway for about 15 minutes waiting for the ambulance to come,” says Periard.

“As medics, we are here to support,” said Nicholas Leriche, operations commander with the Renfrew County Paramedic Service. “Having a baby is a very natural process; mom will do all the work. Dad being on the phone was absolutely the right thing to do.”

The couple say they chose the name River for their daughter last year. But they didn’t know how appropriate the name would become.

“It just so happened on the way there that we had to stop at the Muskrat River at the bottom of White Water Road and Highway 17. She just decided she wanted to get right next to the river.”

Now that everyone is happy and healthy, Periard is looking forward to a less eventful ride home.

“Just a miracle it happened the way it did.”

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