BRANDON -- A Melita woman gave birth to her first child in a pickup truck on the side of a snowy and dark highway Sunday morning after she was told by a rural hospital to go to the Brandon hospital more than an hour away.
After Aimee Renard, 20, began experiencing sporadic contractions in the early morning hours Sunday while she was visiting her father, a nurse at the Hamiota District Health Centre told her father over the phone to go to the Brandon Regional Health Centre instead.
Renard, who wasn’t due to give birth until Dec. 27, said the rural hospital said there would be plenty of time to make it to Brandon after her water broke since it was her first birth.
But while her fiancé, Jay Goleski, 29, was driving along Highway 24 toward Rapid City, Renard could feel the baby’s head coming.
Right around the time the clock struck 6 a.m., Renard and Goleski’s son, Jaxyn, "popped out" and got caught in Renard’s pant leg with the umbilical cord around his neck.
"I didn’t believe her," Goleski, a farmer from Melita, told the Brandon Sun. He said he kept a cool head during the whole event as he tried to calm Aimee.
"‘Deep big breaths, deep big breaths,’ I said and all of a sudden the next thing I knew, I heard my baby cry," Goleski said.
Despite not being anywhere near a hospital, the baby was born perfectly healthy weighing in a seven pounds 12 ounces with a tuft of dark hair.
Even though he attended just two prenatal classes during the pregnancy, Goleski said his years of experience delivering calves helped catch his first son.
Within five minutes of Goleski calling 911, the Rapid City Fire Department was on scene and ambulances from both Minnedosa and Rivers arrived about 15 minutes later.
"I was kind of worried because the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck," Renard said from her hospital room where three generations of family visited the new family member throughout the day yesterday.
"And I was kind of worried something was wrong with him or something, I wasn’t near a hospital.
"It was crazy."
While the ordeal ended well, the family is frustrated about being directed away from the nearby rural hospital, which has a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week emergency department and pre-natal care.
"It could have been so much worse," said Dorene Hatch, Renard’s grandmother.
Hatch said the roadside birth could have been avoided had the hospital told the young couple to come in for an assessment first before simply directing them an hour away.
"I’m sure any RN (registered nurse) could have done an assessment to see how close the birth was," she said. "It could have been a baby’s life."
But it wasn’t, and one-day-old Jaxyn is safe and sound with his parents at the Brandon Regional Health Centre.
"I wish I went to the Hamiota hospital instead of delivering my baby in a truck," Renard said with an exhausted laugh.