Roadside birth: Ontario couple give birth to baby boy on Highway 17

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

On Friday morning, Periard and her partner, Julia Turpin, were driving from Ottawa to Pembroke Hospital to give birth to their new baby girl. The couple says they recently moved to Ottawa from the valley to be closer to family.

“I was speeding up a little bit to get there on time, and out of nowhere she started having contractions closer and closer,” Periard recalls.

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

“I didn’t know what to do, so I called 9-1-1 and tried to get someone from the ambulance,” Periard tells CTV News. “And as soon as she picked up the phone, the baby was already outside and crying on her lap.”

“It was terrifying,” recalls Turpin, sitting in the passenger seat. “I didn’t know what was going to happen. I’m happy that everything went well.”

With the hard work done, Periard says the emergency operator instructed her to tie a cord around the umbilical cord while they waited for help to arrive.

“I got in the backseat and grabbed a bunch of sweaters to make sure they were warm. I cleaned her up completely and we sat on the side of the road for about 15 minutes waiting for the ambulance to come,” Periard says.

“As physicians, we are there to provide support,” says Nicholas Leriche, operations commander for the Renfrew County Paramedic Service. “Having a baby is a very natural process; mom will do all the work. Dad being on the phone, calling 9-1-1 was absolutely the right thing to do.”

The couple say they chose the name River for their daughter last year. But they did not know how appropriate the name would be.

“It just so happened that along the way we had to stop by the Muskrat River at the end of White Water Road and Highway 17. She just decided she wanted to come right by the river.”

With everyone happy and healthy, Periard is looking forward to a less hectic ride home.

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

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