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UPDATED: Baby born in car during trip to Kentville hospital

New mom Ocean Johnstone holds her daughter, Rain. Johnstone gave birth in the car while travelling between the exits for Berwick and Coldbrook on Highway 101 en route to Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville May 15.
New mom Ocean Johnstone holds her daughter, Rain. Johnstone gave birth in the car while travelling between the exits for Berwick and Coldbrook on Highway 101 en route to Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville May 15. - Submitted

ANNAPOLIS VALLEY - Baby Rain Amanda Taniqua Bella Ethel Olsen had her mother on the edge of the passenger seat as she made her fast and furious entrance into this world during an unforgettable drive along Highway 101.

Rain’s mother, Ocean Johnstone, felt an unrelenting need to push in the hours leading up to her baby being born en route to Valley Regional Hospital.

She planned to spend the night at her boyfriend’s place in Middleton after visiting the Kentville-based hospital around 8:30 p.m. May 14 to see if the bad cramping and back pain was related to contractions. It was determined the contractions were not cause for concern at that time, and she was sent home.

“When we got home it got a lot worse, so I tried a heating pad, and I drank a cup of water and I got in the tub. When I got in the tub it got really, really bad and I couldn’t handle it,” the 17-year-old recalled.

“It was excruciating at first.”

She hopped in a car with her boyfriend – 19-year-old Austin Olsen – and his mother to head for the hospital after her water broke around 3 a.m. May 15.

“I was scared to death,” she said.

“I guess I got a headache from all of the pain and my hands started hurting because I was gripping on the car.”

She remembers her passengers seeming quiet, but she also recalls her screams filling the void.

“Austin got all pale and it looked like his eyes were going to pop out of his head,” she said.

“Every time the cramp or contraction happened, I felt like I was going to push something out.”

A five-pound baby girl made her surprise appearance near the Highway 101 exit for Coldbrook.

“At like 3:45 I really pushed and she like slid out with a bunch of water and blood,” Johnstone recalled.

“Austin said he was really shocked and, when I had her, all he could think about was whether or not the baby was OK. To me, it looked like he was shocked, scared, nervous and happy.”

They wrapped the baby to keep her warm, and paramedics arrived minutes later to cut the umbilical cord.

Johnstone’s mother, Amanda Sanford, was on the phone with her daughter many times throughout the evening and met everyone at the hospital after the roadside delivery.

“They were both very shocked. It was surreal for everybody – a lot of emotions,” said Sanford, who is from Greenwood.

Baby Rain, born at 32 weeks, was flown to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.

“It was very eventful and everybody seems to be doing well,” said Sanford.

“They said that she seems to be doing everything that she should be doing for her age.”

The family was told Rain, who is named after grandmothers and an aunt, would likely be monitored in the hospital for a couple of weeks before returning to Kentville.

“I am very excited. It’s been overwhelming,” said Sanford, who was interviewed hours after the new addition took everyone by surprise.

“She is very loved and she’s coming into a big family full of girls. I have six kids myself and five of them are girls, so she’s definitely going to fit in.”

As for the new parents, Johnstone said they’re starting to see the humour in the excitement around their baby’s birth now that things have settled a bit.

“She’s good,” said Johnstone.

“She’s perfectly healthy.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include quotes from Ocean Johnstone, the baby's mother.

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