Woman gives birth to baby in Stevenson Memorial Hospital parking lot &
reunites with staff and community member who provided support
July 16, 2020 was a day like no other for Jessica and Rodrigo Silva, Pryanka Balley and Caroline Greason. They were all perfect strangers that morning, but by the afternoon, they would all become connected in a way that they could have never imagined.
Jessica and Rodrigo are parents of one son who were expecting the delivery of their second any day. Pryanka Balley was taking a family member to Stevenson Memorial Hospital (SMH) and Caroline Greason, registered practical nurse (RPN) from the perioperative unit at SMH was working in the screening trailer outside of the main entrance of the Hospital.
“Everything happened so fast,” says Jessica Silva.
Jessica had been assessed for labour and delivery around 11 a.m. that day by Alliston Midwives, and although the process had started, was not ready for the hospital quite yet. She continued the labour process at home, but by the afternoon, something had changed. By 3 p.m. Jessica and her husband gathered their things and got out the door, with Jessica having reached active labour.
What happened next was a bit of a blur for Jessica.
“My body just took over and by the time we got out of the car and started walking towards the hospital, I knew I had to push,” says Jessica. “The weight of everything was unbelievable. I physically couldn’t take another step,” she adds.
Caroline had started her shift in the screening trailer at SMH at 3 p.m. Twenty-four minutes into her shift, she heard a scream coming from the parking lot. Concerned, she ran outside to find Jessica in full labour being held up by her husband.
Caroline yelled for a wheelchair and for gloves, as she quickly realized that there was a baby coming, and fast.
By 3:29 p.m. baby Elias was in her arms. She cleared his airway, checked his breathing and kept the baby stimulated.
“She is absolutely a hero to us,” says Jessica. “She went above and beyond her role, delivered our baby and never left my side.”
Seeing what was happening and wanting to help the best way she could, Pryanka ran to her car and grabbed a sweater, so that the baby safely wrapped, protected and kept warm.
From that point on, all Jessica remembers seeing is an ocean of blue – a team of SMH nurses and physicians in their blue scrubs that ran out to help her and her family.
Dr. Matthew Myatt, Chief of Emergency was one of those physicians.
“We were blown away to see Dr. Myatt come out and help us,” says Rodrigo, Jessica’s husband. “We had seen him previously and have a connection with him being past patients of his, so it was comforting to see him and have him give us the reassurance that our baby was ok,” he adds.
The Silva family is thankful for all of the support they received in an event where every second counted. Had they not made it to the hospital, they would have been in a very critical situation.
“This hospital represents such a calm for us,” says Jessica. In all of the years we have been coming here for various health care needs, our experiences have always ended well. We are so thankful for this hospital, for everyone who has supported us and who was with us during one of the scariest moments of our lives,” she adds.
While everything was happening so fast, Rodrigo gives credit to the work of the SMH staff for allowing him to support his wife and remain calm.
The Silva family find it hard to believe that this was just a coincidence. The timing of the event, having Caroline and Pryanka available to help in the parking lot due to SMH’s screening and visitor protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic and the staff that came out to help.
Jessica and Rodrigo thank the community for the well wishes and kind words that they have already received, as well as their support in helping to be reunited with Pryanka and Caroline, their angels in disguise.
“During one of the most difficult years in history, with so much tragedy and uncertainty, we want everyone to know that there is so much goodness in people and in our community,” says Jessica. “No one hesitated to help us, in a time when people are needing to distance themselves to remain safe. The hospital, the staff and community members were there for us when we needed them, and we will never forget it.”