Baby delivered in driveway

Travis and Alicia Deaust (left) show off their baby daughter McKinley for the first time to next-door neighbours Tammy Brumwell and Anthony Malig, who helped deliver her in the Deausts’ driveway last month. - Wanda Chow/NewsLeader
Travis and Alicia Deaust (left) show off their baby daughter McKinley for the first time to next-door neighbours Tammy Brumwell and Anthony Malig, who helped deliver her in the Deausts’ driveway last month.
— image credit: Wanda Chow/NewsLeader

A Burnaby couple wants to recognize their next-door neighbours for helping bring their baby girl into the world last month—in their driveway.

Alicia Deaust, 34, called the NewsLeader with her story as a public thank you. Her husband Travis had taken a bottle of wine and a gift card to the neighbours, Anthony Malig and Tammy Brumwell, but it just simply didn't seem enough.

It all started on the morning of Sept. 24, two days before Alicia's due date. She'd sat down to breakfast and started feeling lower back pain and then the first contractions.

Their first child, daughter Kennedi, had come after a 17-hour labour, so they figured they had plenty of time.

Travis took Kennedi to daycare and by the time he returned, "I was already in the washroom basically in full labour and he was like, 'Oh my god, what's going on?'"

He started grabbing things they needed and pulled the car around, recruiting another neighbour, Doug Hilton, to help carry out Alicia, whose water had already broken by then.

"By the time we got out to the car I was pulling my husband down to the ground, I was like, 'I need to push!' And Doug is just looking at me like, 'Oh my god.' My husband is calling our midwife saying meet us at the hospital and I'm saying, 'no, call 911, I'm having this baby here!'"

That's when Anthony and Tammy appeared, drawn by the commotion. Turns out, Anthony, 39, is an emergency room nurse and Tammy, 42, is a social worker, both at Vancouver General Hospital.

Anthony directed Travis to get wet towels and linens and took over the situation, sitting behind Alicia, bracing and coaching her along while giving instructions to Tammy in front.

About five minutes and three pushes later, baby McKinley entered the world. It was only around two hours since Alicia had sat down to what she'd thought would be an ordinary breakfast.

Burnaby firefighters arrived within a few minutes and clamped the umbilical cord, allowing Travis to cut it, and an ambulance came minutes after that, taking the family to Royal Columbian Hospital to get checked out. "Six hours later we were home again," Alicia said of the whirlwind experience.

"I certainly never thought I would be that person. You always hear about people maybe having babies in cars and things and I always think, 'well how did they not know they were in labour, why didn't they go to a hospital sooner?'" she said with a laugh.

"Now I know you could just be sitting having toast and thinking, 'oh yeah, this is OK, we'll get going soon.''"

McKinley's birth also served to bring the neighbourhood together in some ways, said Alicia. She was kind of pre-occupied at the time, but Travis tells her neighbours were coming over, some with their children, to see the newborn, while a lady across the street was shouting, "Good job, Alicia!"

"I'm actually thankful it ended up on the driveway or I would've been doing it myself," said Travis. "When we look back and it's all done, we're so thankful for the community."

Alicia agreed, and now feels their neighbours are a kind of extended family.

"You say 'hi' in passing, but when you really need them, they might even deliver your baby for you."

On Friday, Anthony and Tammy met baby McKinley for the second time.

"She wasn't going to wait," recalled Anthony with a laugh.

When they first heard the commotion they wondered if it was to do with the baby, since they knew Alicia was pregnant.

"I could hear them running through the script and I'm, 'forget the script, go to the last page, just send the ambulance,'" he said.

Being part of the experience was "amazing," said Tammy, who added that being a hospital social worker, "I deal with the other spectrum of life, with death, so this is a very big honour."

Anthony recalled earlier that morning it had been raining but the sun suddenly came out—just when McKinley did.

After her frantic entry into the world, she's been pretty mellow ever since, Alicia said.

"She's a relaxed baby for all the commotion that she caused. She sleeps wonderfully, she only cries when she wants to feed, she's really good."

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