Brianna’s Story

Thriving against the odds thanks to the swift response of Dufferin County Paramedic Services When 20-year-old Brianna came home to Orangeville on a two-week break from college in Hamilton, she had no idea she wouldn’t be returning to school next semester.

On May 11, 2019 Brianna woke in the middle of the night with discomfort in her stomach. Her mom, Mary-Jane, checked on her sensing something was wrong, and Brianna explained “I’m fine Mom – my stomach is just upset from the burgers we had last night”. Mary-Jane kissed her and went to work not thinking much of it.

But as the hours progressed so did the pain. Brianna was home alone, scared and unable to move from the debilitating pain. From the bathroom Brianna screamed out for Siri (the iPhone App) to call 9-1-1. “It hurts. I don’t know what’s wrong. Please come” exclaimed Brianna on the phone to the 9-1-1 operator.
Dufferin County Paramedic Services responded to the call. While they were on route Brianna gave birth to her son Charlie, catching him as he plunged into the toilet she was sitting on. Once Charlie was safe on the floor her dog began barking at the baby until he finally cried – something dogs instinctually do as their puppies are born.

When Paramedics Stacey, Mike and Robin arrived on scene they were not expecting to see a baby. They had received training in these types of situations. In fact, Stacey had taken a refresher course earlier this year.

The Paramedics provided care to both Brianna and her newborn baby boy. They cut his umbilical cord and helped Brianna overcome her shock as she had no idea she was even pregnant.

Both patients were rushed to Headwaters Health Care Centre. Her baby boy, named Charlie weighed in at a healthy 7 pounds 2 ounces and Brianna was facing her biggest fear “How am I going to tell my mom?”
The Nursing Team on the Maternity Unit at Headwaters called Mary-Jane. In shock, she fled to the hospital from work (a 40-minute drive); meanwhile her neighbours, family and friends, alerted to the new addition to the family, stocked her home with a crib, blankets, car seat, diapers, wipes and everything they would need to bring Charlie home.

When Mary-Jane arrived at the hospital, her primary concern was making sure her daughter knew she was loved – no matter what. Wiping tears from her eyes, Mary-Jane, rushed to Brianna’s side and embraced her new grandson.
Later that day, Paramedic Stacey, went back to the hospital to see how everyone was doing. Having recovered from the initial shock, the family was over-the-moon with the new addition. “I was speaking with the grandfather. His mom [Brianna’s great-grandmother] had passed away only two weeks before. He thought Charlie was a blessing from her,” he said.

What Stacey didn’t know at the time was that the grandfather was also born in a similar circumstance. Brianna’s great-grandmother was 20 when she unknowingly became pregnant with her grandfather.
Brianna was supposed to return to school on May 13, 2019 but the plans have changed, and the family couldn’t be happier. Brianna, at 14 had hip replacement surgery and her ability to carry a child was uncertain. To everyone’s joy and amazement Brianna carried Charlie to full-term.

Now three-week-old Charlie and his mom are doing well. They recently visited the Dufferin County Paramedic Services base in Orangeville with Mary-Jane to thank the team.

When Mary-Jane was asked what she thought about the care her daughter received from the paramedics and the team at the hospital, holding back tears she said “Amazing. When you can’t be there to care for your child. Amazing.” She was so overcome with gratitude that she could barely get even those few words out.

It takes an entire community to provide care; from paramedics, nurses and physicians to families, neighbours and friends. Thanks to our ‘One Community, Caring Together’ both Brianna and Charlie are thriving against the odds.


Lived Experiences