'Awesome and terrifying': Staff help woman with special delivery at N.S. convenience store

·2 min read

A woman left a Nova Scotia convenience store and gas bar with more than just store merchandise over the weekend.

Debbie Sawler was working a shift at The Gold Nugget in Gold River's Acadia First Nation near Mahone Bay, N.S., when one of her co-workers ran in with some surprising news.

"'Someone's in the bathroom having a baby!'" Sawler recalled. "You know, you're standing there trying to absorb what's being said because it doesn't seem real."

The baby was in a rush. By the time Sawler got to the bathroom, the infant — a little girl — had already arrived.

Sawler spoke on the phone with a 911 operator, who told her to wipe the baby's nose and mouth.

"We have a café here, too, so I ran to the café and said, 'I need towels, I need towels, there's a baby born in the bathroom!'" she said.

"They just looked at me, stunned … we grabbed what we could and went in and helped her until the paramedics got here."

'The baby was just perfect'

Jen Swinimer, who works at the café, was with her colleague, Sherry, when Sawler burst in searching for towels.

"After a few seconds of letting that click in — it's not something you expect to hear — me and Sherry and Debbie ran in and Sherry went right into mom mode," said Swinimer.

The three women worked to wrap the baby in something warm, and Sherry tied the umbilical cord.

"Instinct just kicked in," said Swinimer. "It was very humbling, and it made us all really happy, and just so glad everything went right."

Sawler agreed, saying the situation gave her a big adrenaline rush.

"It was awesome and it was terrifying at the same time," she said.

Facebook/The Gold Nugget AFN
Facebook/The Gold Nugget AFN

The mother named the baby Fiona, Sawler said.

CKBW in nearby Bridgewater, which first reported this story, said the mother's due date was the previous day and she didn't know she was going into labour because she only felt pressure.

Shortly after the cord was tied, the paramedics showed up and took the woman to hospital. According to Sawler, she was released the next day.

Sawler and Swinimer said The Gold Nugget is making up a gift basket — including a custom onesie — for the mother and her family.

Both women praised the new mother for how she handled the situation.

"The young girl that had the baby did phenomenal, and the baby was just perfect," said Swinimer.

Sawler agreed. "The mother did awesome. She was something else. She didn't freak out, she didn't cry, she just did what she had to do."

She also isn't taking credit for Baby Fiona's safe delivery.

"The mother did it all herself," she said.