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Special, surprise delivery

Brent Reaney
Northern News Services

Winnipeg (July 13/05) - It was about 5 a.m. July 2 when, days earlier than expected, Baker Lake's Suzanne Partridge began feeling the contractions.

Walking around inside Winnipeg's Kivalliq Inuit Centre for about three hours, hoping the muscle spasms would die down, she eventually called a cab around 8 a.m.

Rankin Inlet's Lynda Paniyuk holds Suzanne Partridge's baby Joseph Elwood, who she helped deliver during his unexpected arrival July 2 at the Kivalliq Inuit Centre in Winnipeg.

After waiting for about an hour, she felt as though she had to go to the bathroom.

But sitting on the toilet, she realized what was coming out from between her legs felt too large.

"I put my pants on, and I started screaming, and he was coming out," she says.

Sanikiluaq's Nellie Arragutainaq heard Partridge's cries and rushed in to support the small-framed, crying woman inside the single-toilet washroom.

Just across the hall, Lynda Paniyuk of Rankin Inlet was on a pay phone with her sister when she heard the mother yell "HELP!"

With little time, Paniyuk ran to the office beside the washroom, grabbed a pile of towels, and threw them on the floor between Suzanne's feet.

"I looked down and his head was coming out," said the 19-year-old mother, who remained standing during the delivery.

"At the same time, I was praying and screaming."

Minutes later, Arragutainaq caught the baby and immediately handed the child to Paniyuk.

While using a towel to clean off the newborn's face, Paniyuk said "you've got a son, so what's your name anyway'?" she recalled days later while reenacting the motions of the event in the living room of her Rankin Inlet home.

With the baby still attached to the placenta lying beside her feet, and blood covering the floor of the tiny bathroom, Paniyuk squatted while rocking the crying infant.

When the paramedics arrived soon after, Paniyuk noticed it was 9:09 a.m. on one of their watches - making the duration of the birth less than 10 minutes.

Partridge's common-law husband Terry Nukik was swimming in a pool inside his sister's Baker Lake garage when the news was delivered.

"My mom came rushing in and told me the news, and I didn't know what to say," he said.

On July 6, both he and Suzanne were excited to be holding a healthy, 6-pound Joseph Elwood Partridge. Just days old, the couple's second child was reported to be eating well, though he cried a little while his dad was being interviewed.

"I'm just glad they're home and he's okay."