Self-serve: Dad delivers son in gas station parking lot in St. John's

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Self-serve: Dad delivers son in gas station parking lot in St. John's

A couple from Petty Harbour, N.L., has a newborn baby and a story to tell after a harrowing experience in a gas station parking lot over the weekend.

Melissa Pardy was due to have her second child Thursday, so decided to head to the hospital in St. John's when she began to feel strange on Friday.

After being checked, she and her husband Stephen were told nothing had changed since her last appointment so they decided to head home. After about an hour, things got worse and the couple knew it was time to return to the Health Sciences Centre.

"He decided he wasn't waiting until we got back to the hospital and I told [my husband] 'we can't make it, you gotta pull over and call 911,'" Melissa said.

The couple drove their pickup onto the parking lot of the Orange Store gas station on Pennywell Road, about 10 minutes away from the hosptial, just before midnight, scrambling to call 911.

With the baby coming, Stephen got out of the truck, ran around to the passenger side, and with the help of a taxi driver who just happened to be nearby, delivered his newborn son Gavin.

"My daddy instincts kicked in and I just did whatever any father would do," Stephen said.

"He was born in the front passenger seat of my truck. I had to guide him out while having to hold her leg up so she wasn't squatting [squashing] him because there was very little room."

An unlikely midwife

Brian Efford, a driver with Bugden's Taxi, was throwing garbage in the bins by the gas pumps when he heard Melissa's screams and ran over to help.

Stephen Pardy actually delivered the healthy eight-pound-six-ounce baby, but Efford was there the whole time helping to calm the couple and support them until the ambulances arrived.

"Mr. Efford was doing an excellent job, telling me to be calm," Stephen said.

Surreal experience

A few minutes later, the parking lot was awash in flashing lights as an ambulance and police cars arrived to help.

The Pardys said the paramedics got there just as Gavin was being born, and quickly scooped him up and covered him in a blanket. The whole birth took just about 15 minutes.

"I can't believe I got him out with my own hands. It's kind of surreal," said Stephen.

Melissa said she did worry that baby Gavin would be too cold, and is forever grateful that the paramedics got there in time.

"He was born with the truck door open so he was basically born into a Newfoundland winter," she said.

"Everyone was right where they needed to be that night, so we're very thankful for that."