Two paramedics in their first year of work are still glowing from the thrill of delivering Newfoundland and Labrador's first baby of 2013 in the back of their ambulance.
Annette Steele and Kristine Ward, who work for Fewer's Ambulance Service, received a routine call about 4 a.m. early New Year's day to bring a woman in labour from her home in Harbour Main to hospital in St. John's.
Ward said when they arrived at Jennifer MacDonald's home, her contractions were about five minutes apart. But as the women headed east on the Trans-Canada Highway, MacDonald's contractions quickly sped up.
"When I first realized they were about a minute apart and she was telling me that she had a lot of pressure going on was when I first went up front and said, 'Annette, I really think we're going to have to pull over soon because I think we're going to deliver this baby,'" recalled Ward.
Baby born on side of highway
Steele pulled the ambulance over to the side of the highway near Butter Pot provincial park. By the time she climbed into the back of the ambulance with MacDonald and Ward, the baby's head was already showing. A couple of pushes later, Nicholas Benmore was born at 4:18 a.m.
"I think we were both kind of holding our breath waiting for him to breathe. It didn't take very long, just a couple of seconds after he was out," recounted Steele. "He was suctioned, then he started breathing and then we started breathing and kind of jumping around all excited."
During their paramedic training, Ward and Steele had observed births and received neo-natal training, but Benmore was their first baby delivery.
Mom calms down paramedics
The two paramedics admitted it was a challenge to remain composed while finishing the delivery and transporting MacDonald and her son the rest of the way into St. John's to the hospital.
"The mom was totally cool and calm about everything. She was trying to tell us to calm down, because we were so excited," said Ward.
Meanwhile, baby Nicholas Benmore is healthy and he and his mother were discharged from the hospital on Thursday afternoon.
Ward said the experience was unforgettable, and both women felt lucky that it happened so early in their careers.
"In the future, you know, if we're in that situation where we did have a panicked mother, we can say we've done it before. We've already done this! We're pros now," she said.