Mesachie Lake’s Herrington family: dad Shaun, mom Cara, eldest daughter Charlotte, and new arrival Violet, who was born in a hurry on Sunday, March 7. (Angie Hughes photo)

Mesachie Lake’s Herrington family: dad Shaun, mom Cara, eldest daughter Charlotte, and new arrival Violet, who was born in a hurry on Sunday, March 7. (Angie Hughes photo)

Special home delivery for Vancouver Island mom

Mesachie Lake couple deliver baby in the driveway with entire fire department waiting outside

Mom Cara Herrington of Mesachie Lake was expecting her second child on March 11, but wanted it to be over with sooner — something a lot of expecting moms can understand. She wasn’t ready for the birth to happen when it did, however.

“I was waiting and waiting, hoping she would come early,” Herrington said. “But not as fast as she did.”

Herrington woke up around 4:15 a.m. on Sunday, March 7, when her water broke. After calling the hospital for advice, she was making her way downstairs to the door when she had two quick contractions and knew there wasn’t enough time to make the drive to Duncan.

“I looked at my husband and said, ‘Call an ambulance. I’m not going to do this in the car, and we’re not going to make it [to the hospital],” Herrington remembered.

RELATED: Expectant B.C. mom dodges branches, elk and an empty gas tank to deliver New Year’s baby

RELATED: Mom delivers north Island’s first home birth baby in 30 years, in the middle of a pandemic

An ambulance was on its way from Lake Cowichan, and the dispatcher instructed Herrington to get to an open space in the house, so she went from the mud room to the living room. Her husband, Shaun, just happens to be a four-year member of the Mesachie Lake Volunteer Fire Department. He sent for his colleagues just in case the ambulance didn’t arrive in time. Of course, by nature of the small community, as soon as they got the call that someone was giving birth, they knew exactly who it was.

Shaun was still on the phone with the dispatcher when Cara started getting “small urges to start pushing.” The dispatcher “switched gears,” Herrington recalled, preparing the family for a home birth. Get some string, she told them, a bobby pin, and scissors.

The ambulance arrived in about 10 minutes, and when Cara and Shaun opened their front door to walk to the ambulance, the entire fire department was standing outside.

“It was like, ‘hey boys,’” Herrington laughed.

Cara was strapped into a gurney and was loaded into the ambulance. With Shaun preparing to drive the family car to Duncan, deputy fire chief and close family friend Tyson Allnutt was given the job of riding with Cara in case the paramedics needed a hand.

They hadn’t even left the driveway when Cara told them to stop.

“Don’t go anywhere,” she told them. “We’re not going to make it.”

Neither of the paramedics — both named Sarah — had delivered a baby before, but they were going to have to do it this time.

In Cara’s telling, it was a relatively easy birth, as these things go. One really strong contraction, and the baby’s head was completely out. The next contraction got her out past her shoulders. By 4:45 a.m. — half an hour after Cara woke up — Violet Luene Herrington was out in the world, surprising all the responders.

“They were all kind of looking at each other, like, ‘OK, there’s a baby here now,’” Herrington recalled. “My husband and Tyson looked at each other, ‘That was crazy.’”

Like all firefighters, Allnutt had trained for such a situation, but never expected to be part of a birth.

“It’s one of those things, you practice for it, and then you joke around that it’s never going to happen,” he said. “Then it happens.”

Both paramedics, Sarah Mooney and Sarah Spencer, were excited to take part in their first delivery. Mooney has been a paramedic with BC Emergency Health Services for 12 years, including 10 in Lake Cowichan, and Spencer has been a paramedic for more than four years, including three in Lake Cowichan. Emergency responders earn a stork pin for attending their first birth.

“Even though they were nervous about it, they were excited about it,” Herrington said.

After the birth, Violet was cleaned up and taken to hospital in Duncan, where they confirmed that she was healthy. She is now home with mom Cara, dad Shaun and two-and-a-half-year-old sister Charlotte. Charlotte’s own birth came after a relatively quick eight hours of labour, but that was ages when compared to Violet’s. Charlotte has been very welcoming to the newest addition.

“She’s been very helpful, very loving,” Herrington reported. “She said, ‘I’ve been waiting to hold her in my arms.’”

For Allnutt and the rest of the fire department, it was a unique event in multiple ways. It’s much more common for firefighters to attend tragedies than miracles.

“The coolest part is that normally, where a life would be lost, in the back of an ambulance, a life was gained.”

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

cowichan valley

Just Posted

THC boardmember Melody McLorie and municipal councillor Coun. Duncan McMaster celebrated the start of construction on a 14-unit affordable housing development at 700 Sharp Road in February, 2021. (Westerly file photo)
Tofino Housing Corporation asks for portion of town’s MRDT funds

Tofino’s hotels and resorts collect a 3 per cent Municipal and Regional District Tax from visitors

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

Black Press Media file photo
Tofino sets municipal tax rates

Tofino’s residential property values are rising while businesses are declining.

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of a Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu on May 8. (Black Press Media file photo)
Indigenous woman shot by police was holding a replica gun, says Ucluelet First Nation

Woman has been identified as a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read