Cool, calm and collected grandparents deliver baby on roadside
“They are starting to get strong,” said Autumn Dennis-Doyle, last Wednesday afternoon.
Proud parents and grandparents pose with the newest addition to the family, Arabella Grace Cremo. She was born roadside at 1:29 p.m. last Wednesday afternoon and weighed eight pounds. From the left is her father, Gavin Cremo, mother Autumn Dennis-Doyle an
Earlier on that morning, at around 4:00 a.m., Dennis-Doyle’s labour pains had only just begun, but she wasn’t at all worried. She was pregnant with her second child and had said that at that time the labour pains were nothing major, nothing strong.
For those living on this side of the island, the closest hospitals to choose from to have a baby delivered are the Cape Breton Regional in Sydney or St. Martha’s in Antigonish. Throughout her pregnancy, nineteen-year-old Autumn Dennis-Doyle and father, twenty-year-old Gavin Cremo, both from Waycobah, had been travelling to Sydney for their appointments with the doctor.
Just after lunchtime last Wednesday afternoon, Gavin’s parents, Karen and John “Tiny” Cremo, came home to check on the young couple to see how things were going. Autumn had told them that the contractions were getting stronger but to go and pick up their lunch at Vi’s Restaurant, where they had ordered from.
At 2:20 p.m., Gavin had called them on their cell and said that they better come home. By 2:25 p.m. they returned and the contractions had accelerated to 5 minutes apart.
“Wow, they are getting really strong,” said Autumn as the two couples got into the truck and started towards Baddeck.
“Even though she had been going to Sydney to see the doctor, at this point things were moving so fast that we were just aiming and hoping for Baddeck,” said grandmother Karen Cremo.
When they got to Little Narrows-Aberdeen, Autumn’s water broke and the contractions were now just one minute apart. They immediately called 9-1-1.
The dispatcher said that there would be an ambulance waiting to meet them at the Little Narrows turn-off where the ferry is. When they arrived at the meeting point there was no ambulance in sight, and they had no choice but to keep on going.
Autumn’s body had been preparing for this day for nine months, and at that moment, her body was telling her that it was time to push.
“Oh my, Karen, I have to push, I have to push,” said Autumn.
Grandfather Tiny Cremo was behind the wheel driving the truck when his wife Karen looked at him and said, “Okay, we have to pull off the road.”
Tiny was able to drive to an old gas station that was no longer in service in Bucklaw, Victoria County, about 25 kilometres west of Baddeck.
“Autumn was so uncomfortable, she couldn’t sit down. She was on her knees, with one knee on the floor and the other on the seat,” said Karen Cremo.
The 9-1-1 dispatcher had remained on the phone with them and when they got off the road and parked, told Karen that she would have to guide the baby.
“There was a lot of fluid because her water had broken. I’m trying to guide her and she’s on her hands and knees telling me that she has to push,” said Karen.
Karen said that she then told Autumn that she would have to change positions and lie down on the backseat of the truck. Autumn was finally lying down. Karen got into position; could see the baby’s head.
When asked what she was thinking when she could see the baby’s head, Karen said, “You just don’t have time to be panicked or scared; there’s no time to think about that.”
They had got her on her back and got her clothes off.
“If you are going to push, push,” said Karen.
Tiny was also in position and ready to catch the baby. Autumn only had to push twice, and Arabella Grace Cremo entered the world.
They checked the baby over and cleaned off her face, but she had not started crying yet. Karen grabbed paper towel and quickly cleaned out her mouth and nose to clear her airways. As soon as she did this the baby started to cry.
“It was like music to our ears,” said Karen.
Immediately, Tiny said that they needed to clamp the umbilical cord and asked if anyone was wearing shoelaces. Karen said that she was and they used her lace to clamp the cord.
Afterwards, Karen lifted up Autumn’s shirt and placed the baby on the mother’s skin so that, without delay, they would have skin-on-skin contact.
Next, the father, Gavin, took his shirt off and wrapped it around the baby and there was also one little clean baby blanket that hadn’t become wet from the mother’s fluid.
There was so much excitement and intensity taking place that Gavin was feeling faint. Tiny and Karen looked at him and told him to snap out of it and everything was going to be okay.
“We passed the phone to him so that he could keep the 9-1-1 dispatcher updated on the status of Autumn and the baby,” said Karen.
Five or six minutes later the ambulance arrived on the scene.
“It was amazing. Autumn didn’t complain once and said that she wasn’t worried or scared and that she felt safe the whole time because we were there with her,” said Karen.
When asked how they kept their composure and how they knew exactly what to do, Karen said, “Well, I am a mother of seven and Tiny is a first responder and also the fire chief for the Waycobah First Nation Fire Department.”
9-1-1 remained on the phone with the family the entire time until the ambulance arrived, asking what the baby was doing and how the mother was feeling. When the ambulance did arrive they took over the scene and put the baby inside the ambulance and into warm blankets.
The paramedics told Autumn they needed to take her into the ambulance as well, and she just got up and started walking towards them, and they looked kind of startled and told her to wait and to be careful. Karen said that she just stopped and looked at them, like, what am I waiting for?
“She walked to the ambulance with no problem,” added Karen.
The ambulance then took them to Baddeck where they prepped her and delivered the afterbirth.
She remained there until she was stable, which was about 4:00 p.m. After Baddeck, they were sent to Sydney, as is normal procedure.
“I remember that when we were delivering the baby, when she came out I had a chance to look up at the clock and it said 1:29 p.m., so I got to see exactly when she was born,” Karen said.
Right now, mother and baby are home, happy and healthy. Arabella Grace Cremo was born eight pounds even.
“They’re staying with us until they’re ready to go home. She’s breastfeeding now and everything is great. It was so amazing. I never thought I’d deliver my own grandbaby. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a thing,” concluded proud grandmother Karen Cremo.
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