With five children and a sixth on the way, Shyanne Harriot was well prepared for another birth.
When she woke up on Tuesday, Nov. 7, she felt a slight pressure, knew her daughter was coming and planned to drop her younger kids off at daycare, and have her husband drive her to Abbotsford Regional Hospital for the birth.
But her baby had other plans.
They dropped the kids off and started the drive into Abbotsford from Chilliwack, where they live.
By the time they got on Highway 1, though, she felt like she needed to go to the bathroom and wasn’t sure she would make it to the hospital.
They considered diverting to Chilliwack General Hospital.
“I kind of made a judgment call – ‘I think we should be OK’ – because I wasn’t feeling that much pain,’” Harriot recalls.
So Harriot’s husband stayed on course for Abbotsford. Along the way, the sensation that she needed to go to the bathroom intensified. They considered pulling over, but again elected to keep going, hoping they would get to the hospital in time.
Harriot was kneeling on the passenger seat. Worried they would get pulled over, she moved to join her 13-year-old daughter, Kusiaya, in the back seat as the car approached the Whatcom Road exit.
“I did not even make it to the back seat,” she said.
She made a push while clambering between the two front seats and, before she knew it, the baby was out, at Kusiaya’s feet.
“I think we all panicked,” Harriot said. “It’s the cry that we heard and, like, ‘Oh my God, it’s the baby!’ … Everybody kind of froze because there’s a baby in the car.”
Harriot picked up the newest member of her family, Israel-Dream, cleared her airway and promptly fainted.
The next thing she remembers is arriving at the hospital. Kusiaya, 13, had wrapped the newborn in her jacket to keep her warm.
Looking back on the experience a week later, Harriot told The News she felt robbed of the usual birthing experience. She estimates only about an hour passed from her first contraction to Israel-Dream making an unexpected appearance in her car.
Harriot said Israel-Dream will soon have to see a doctor for a slight heart murmur, but otherwise is happy and healthy at home.