Stranger helps couple deliver baby in Shoppers Drug Mart parking lot

A trip to the drug store turned into an unforgettable experience for a St. John's woman on Saturday, when she helped a couple deliver their baby girl in the store's parking lot.

Couple name their newborn daughter Carla after where she was delivered

Nicole Deveau and newly-born Carla. Nicole and her husband Richard picked the name in memory of where she first came into the world. (Submitted by Nicole Deveau)

A trip to the drug store turned into an unforgettable experience for a St. John's woman on Saturday, when she helped a couple deliver their baby girl in the store's parking lot.

Christia Tizzard was walking out of the Shoppers Drug Mart on Topsail Road just before 8 a.m. when she noticed Nicole and Richard Deveau needed help.

Mom was a rock star. She was in the zone.- Christia   Tizzard

"I heard the gentleman saying, 'She's in labour in the car — yes, in the car'," Tizzard told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.

"So I turned around very quickly and said, 'Is there something wrong?' And he was like, 'My wife is in labour and the baby is coming now.'"

This parking lot at the Shoppers Drug Mart on Topsail Road became a makeshift hospital room Saturday morning. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

The couple had already left their home to head to the hospital and were on Pitts Memorial Drive when Nicole told Richard to pull over because the baby was coming.

Their first opportunity to exit was Columbus Drive, and Richard spotted the Shoppers on Topsail Road — the first place he could find to pull over safely.  

Tizzard was walking to her car when she heard Richard on the phone.

She ran over and saw Nicole sitting in the front passenger seat with the baby's head starting to crown, and without thinking, she told Richard to move out of the way and took control of the situation.

A morning trip to Shoppers Drug Mart took an unexpected turn on Saturday for Christia Tizzard, who helped Nicole and Richard Deveau deliver their baby girl. (Submitted by Christia Tizzard)

Paramedics on the phone with Richard helped guide them, and with barely any training other than basic first aid, Tizzard helped bring their daughter into the world.

"I guess all I can say is I must have picked things up along the way and stored it. I didn't have to question anything I was doing, I just knew the right steps to go on," Tizzard said.

She said the calmness of the couple is what helped her stay focused throughout the whole experience. 

"Mom was a rock star. She was in the zone, she wasn't hysterical or anything. I think if she was hysterical it would have been a different situation."

The birth took only a few minutes, with Tizzard guiding Nicole to push as Richard comforted her.

She caught the infant in her arms, scooping out her mouth and nose and unwrapping the umbilical cord from around the newborn's neck to allow her to start breathing.

"It was really scary, but exciting at the same time," Tizzard said.  "As the days have gone on it's gotten a bit more real and I'm like, 'Wow that really happened.' It's getting a bit surreal."

Baby Carla

The couple have decided to call their daughter Carla — because she was born in their car.

In addition to being grateful Tizzard was there, they also want to thank all the paramedics and firefighters who showed up within minutes of being called.

However, the real hero in the whole situation, according to Richard, is his wife.

"She pushed out a baby, seven pounds 15 ounces, in the middle of a parking lot with no epidural and no drugs, and by five o'clock Saturday night we were back home again eating India Gate," he said.

Paramedics help cut the umbilical cord after picking up the Deveau family in the Shoppers parking lot on Saturday. (Submitted by Nicole Deveau)

Meanwhile, Tizzard is still amazed at what happened, and was thrilled to hear from the family that everyone was happy and healthy.

"I'm so blessed and honoured to have been part of that. And I'm very glad that everybody is OK," she said.

Richard agreed, saying everyone is fine and they have a good story tell. 

Their car is a different story though, and he said some poor garage workers in the city have quite a mess to clean up this week.

"That's the biggest tragedy in all of this," he joked.

With files from the St. John's Morning Show