‘Babymoon’ leads to first baby born on Pender Island in seven years

'Babymoon' leads to first baby born on Pender Island in seven years
Danielle Yole (left), and her partner Josh Dargan (centre) went to Pender Island for a weekend getaway, and while there Yole unexpectedly went into labour and delivered baby Leo (right). (Photos courtesy BC Emergency Health Services)

With three weeks left until her due date, Danielle Yole and her partner Josh Dargan decided to take a “babymoon” trip to Pender Island as a last-minute getaway.

Yole says they had been hearing people were taking “babymoons,” which is a trip couples take before a baby is born in order to spend some quality time together, and they had been considering options.

“Everybody was starting to go to Mexico in January and he’s like, ‘let’s go on a holiday.’ I was like ‘I really don’t think it’s a good idea,'” Yole said on an episode of MicCHEK. “So we were like ‘no, let’s do something local and everybody’s talking about these babymoons.'”

The couple reached out to their midwife to see if she thought it would be fine, and with a thumbs-up from the midwife, they headed to Pender Island.

When the couple arrived on Pender Island, they did a walk near the ferry terminal before heading to their hotel.

The next day, the couple went for a walk on Mount Norman.

“We get to the top and we ate our sandwiches that we made at the bottom and I decided to have a hummus one that day,”  Yole said. “Terrible option. Never eat hummus before you’re going into labour because that’s the worst thing to vomit later.”

Yole says on the way down she started having cramps.

“I’m like ‘oh weird, I have cramps, I haven’t had cramps for the last nine months,'” she said. “And then I have another one and then I tell Josh about it and he goes ‘maybe this is it.'”

When they got to the bottom, the couple tried calling their midwife, but were not able to get in touch with her, and went back to the hotel.

Yole says it was around 1 p.m., and the next ferry off Pender Island wasn’t until 5:45, so they were trying to figure out their options.

“We’re calling my sister because she’s a paramedic, and over on the Island, and she’s like ‘the next ferry isn’t until 5:45. You’ve got to call 911 because you’ve got to get transported,'” Yole said. “At this point, I was in denial. I told Josh ‘it’s not happening. I’m not ready to have a baby.'”

Dargan called 911 and a local paramedic team was dispatched to transport the couple to a water ambulance, with the idea they would be brought to Vancouver Island.

“While my partner Scott was driving, I was making phone calls to connect with all of our resources in the broader healthcare team, just make sure that no matter what we came to when we arrived, that we would have sort of a few different plans in place so that we could move really quickly,” said Shannon Brayford, the paramedic who responded to the 911 call.

“Initially, we had anticipated that Danielle was gonna leave the island by water ambulance. When I first saw her I was like, ‘you know what, this baby’s coming much later today.’ And then when we got her into the ambulance, and we’re driving, things changed.”

Pender Island paramedics Shannon Brayford and Scott Elliott.

Because Yole’s labour progressed quickly than initially anticipated, she was transported to the local clinic by ambulance so the birth could be overseen by a doctor.

“People just kept showing up. There were like two fire, two paramedic, a doctor, a midwife, another midwife, another doctor and then another student it’s just like they kept showing up,” Yole said. “I was like, ‘what’s going on here?'”

She says she later learned that it had been seven years since a baby had been born on Pender Island, which may have contributed to how many people showed up to the birth.

Yole says after baby Leo was born, she was transported to Vancouver Island with the baby, and the medical student reflected on his first day on the job.

“He was laughing and he was like ‘your face!’ I think anybody else probably wouldn’t have told you what your face was like right after you had a baby because it’s totally a thing,” Yole said. “But he’s like ‘your face when he came out was priceless.’ I was like, ‘oh, sorry?’ Because Leo comes out and he’s just like this purpley cone head, and I just I think my face was just like, ‘oh, what are you?'”

“It wasn’t a magical moment like the movies.”

Brayford says she has worked as a paramedic for seven years, and this call was special for a few reasons.

“It was such a special call. I’ve had a few of them over the years that were really special,” Brayford said. “But at the at the end when we were putting Danielle on the water taxi I’d mentioned to her, and she was actually the first person outside my family that I told, that I was leaving my role as a paramedic and moving into management of BC Ambulance and I was just really grateful that I had such a wonderful, joyful call at the end of my at the end of my time as a paramedic.”

Later, Yole and Dargan went back to Pender Island and revisited a few of the places they had been before Leo’s birth.

“The very first walk that we did on Pender we did it right before we left because obviously we can’t go to Pender and not. They didn’t want to do Mount [Norman] I tried to talk them into it but they were a no go so we did the more leisurely walk around the lake,” Yole said.

“It was quite an eye opener that you know three weeks beforehand he was in my belly and then that day he was on my chest so it was pretty magical.”

Listen to this episode of MicCHEK here.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!