British Columbia

Caitlin Vince gives birth at scenic rest stop on remote B.C. highway

A woman en route to hospital had to make an important and unusual pit stop — at a remote highway rest stop in northeastern British Columbia to give birth.

Dad catches newborn, resolves rare birth complication with pocket tool

Tyler Olsen helped his partner, Caitlin Vince, give birth at a rest stop on Highway 29 in northeastern B.C., earlier this month.

A woman en route to hospital had to make an important and unusual pit stop — at a remote highway rest stop in northeastern British Columbia to give birth.

Caitlin Vince delivered her son while lying in gravel, with the baby still in the amniotic sac — a rare birthing situation called en caul.

Tyler Olsen caught his newborn son, and managed to free him from the amniotic sac using his pocket knife.

Augustus Olsen was born on Oct. 4 and weighed eight pounds two ounces.

Proud father Tyler Olsen not only “caught” baby Gus but also used his pocket knife to rescue the baby from his amniotic sac. (Caitlin Vince)

"It was amazing," Vince told CBC News as Augustus napped in his father's arms.

The couple also had help from 911 operators on a cellphone, friend Elinor Morrisey and two travellers from Alberta who had stopped to admire the beautiful view at the scenic highway stop.

Baby Augustus Olsen was born at a remote highway rest stop renowned for its scenic view of the Peace River valley. (Betsy Trumpener/CBC)

Morrisey says the strangers rushed over to hold the mother's hand and later provided a sleeping bag to keep her and the baby warm. 

Paramedics arrived 25 minutes after the birth and helped Olsen cut the cord.

Mother and baby were then taken to hospital, where they received a clean bill of health.

Caitlin Vince and baby Gus rest in hospital in Fort St. John after a road side birth. (Caitlin Vince)

The family lives in Hudson's Hope, B.C., which doesn't have a birthing facility and doesn't allow home births.

Expectant mothers must drive 90 kilometres to give birth in Fort St John along the remote, winding Highway 29.

But they don't always make it.

Vince said they had only made it halfway through the hour-long drive, when the contractions got too strong.

Didn't make it

"I knew we weren't gonna make it," she said.

Vince said her partner barely had time to help her lie on the ground, before the baby arrived.

Traditionally, babies born en caul are considered talismans of good luck.

Baby Augustus Olsen got a clean bill of health at the hospital in Fort St John. (Caitlin Vince)

Vince is delighted her son was born at a rest stop renowned for its dramatic view of the Peace River valley.

"It's just the most special, beautiful spot," she said. "And he's a fantastic baby. He only cries when he's hungry."


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