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VIDEO: Shuswap couple pull off Highway 1 in Salmon Arm to give birth to child

Father guided over phone through early morning delivery of daughter

Shanel and Chad Robertson credit each other’s strength, and a lot of adrenaline, for getting them through the roadside delivery of their baby daughter early Tuesday morning.

The Lee Creek couple left for the hospital in Salmon Arm just after 1 a.m. on Aug. 3. When they reached Tappen, Shanel, in labour, said her water broke. They made it across the Salmon River Bridge before they knew it was time to stop. Chad pulled off Highway 1 into the DeMille’s Farm Market parking lot. He got out of the vehicle and ran around to Shanel.

“I could see the (baby’s) head and proceeded to call 911,” said Chad. “I was begging for someone to come here. I remember probably yelling in the phone at some time, just for someone to please help us.”

Though an ambulance was on the way, it wouldn’t arrive before the baby, and the person at the other end of the phone proceeded to guide Chad through what would be a successful delivery.

“I had no idea what I was doing,” said Chad. “I remember them asking if the baby was breathing afterward and of course there are those moments when you’re uncertain. The baby didn’t cry at first. It felt like an hour, but it was probably just 10 seconds. And I remember just sheer panic. But it all worked out, the baby started crying, they calmed me down and we went through the process from there.”

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At 2:27 a.m. on Aug. 3, Shanel gave birth to Trinity Jolee Robertson, 8 lbs, 3 oz and 20.8 inches.

An ambulance arrived around 15 minutes later.

“It was a life-changing experience for sure,” said Shanel. “We’ve been through a lot of things together but this one really tops it all.”

At 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 4, the couple returned to DeMille’s with their son Daxton, 2, and their daughter Trinity. Owner Brad DeMille and staff greeted the family with congratulations and gifts.

“In 51 years we’ve never seen this happen,” said DeMille of the birth. “A few farm animals here and there but never people that walk on two legs.”

The Robertsons said they often bring Daxton to visit the animals at DeMille’s, and expect they will continue to visit as a family of four.

As Daxton was playing with the baby goats, Shanel reflected on the whole experience.

“Looking back on it, it was very intense at the moment, but it’s a cool story that we’ll all have,” said Shanel.

“I think it was meant to be,” replied Chad. “I think it was what we were supposed to be doing.”

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Brad DeMille (third from left) and staff have their photo taken with the Robertson family, after congratulating them on the birth of their daughter, on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Chad, son Daxton, daughter Trinity and wife Shanel pose for a photo at DeMille’s Farm Market where Trinity was born in the early morning hours of Aug. 3, 2021. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market, and Eagle Valley News. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to keep our readers informed and engaged.
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