Twizel woman gives birth to baby on roadside
A Twizel woman who went in to labour while making the trip to Timaru Hospital gave birth to a baby in the front seat of her car at Burkes Pass.
The woman and her husband were making the trip in the early hours of Sunday, June 11 when they decided to pull over on the side of State Highway 8 to call for help.
Fairlie-based St John emergency medical technician Barry Adie said he got the call about 5.30am.
"They gave us the details 'birth over certain number of weeks, coming in a car towards you', and I immediately called up Blue," Adie said.
His co-worker Blue Kerr had a background in obstetrics, so she was an obvious choice to help, Adie said.
Kerr said they, along with a third St John volunteer Bill Garrow, met the expectant parents just before 6am.
"I went to the car and mum said 'the head is there'," Kerr said.
Patients cannot be shifted at that stage of labour, so the baby was delivered in the front seat of the car. Kerr would not confirm the baby's gender.
"It was incredibly cold," Kerr said.
The father then took the baby into the ambulance where the baby was checked over, while Kerr stayed with the mother.
Kerr said the mother did very well given the circumstances.
"It was just lovely, a nice straight forward birth and delivery. Bubs cried straight away, then just snuggled into the towels," Kerr said.
"We were delighted, it was a lovely experience for us."
The ambulance stopped in at the Fairlie Medical Centre where a doctor did a quick check of the mother and baby.
"Everything was ok so we just carried on to Timaru," Kerr said.
Kerr said it was the second birth she had assisted with during her 30 plus years as a St John volunteer. The first was about 20 years ago.
"We've had some close calls," she said.
Adie said there had been many times when they got a woman to the hospital, and the baby arrived as soon as the woman was inside the building.
St John South Canterbury territory manager Darryn Grigsby said it was one of the more positive jobs the volunteers had attended.