Weird warning forecasts car birth

SALLY KIDSON
Last updated 13:00 22/01/2013
car
PATRICK HAMILTON/The Nelson Mail
LOCOMOTIVE LABOUR: Ash and Emma Redpath experienced the novelty of baby Alex's birth in the front seat of their car while their 18-month-old daughter Chloe was fast asleep in the back.

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Despite his parents' best intentions, wee Alex Redpath was born in a car.

Alex burst into the world at 12.15pm on Saturday, January 12, 75 minutes after mum Emma Redpath went into labour.

He was born in the family's station wagon, parked under the palm trees outside Richmond's A and P Showgrounds.

Sister Chloe, 18 months, slept undisturbed in her car seat in the back.

Cyclists and motorists went past unaware of the drama unfolding on the side of the road.

Speaking from their Wakefield home yesterday, Mrs Redpath said her labour started suddenly and, within no time, her contractions were four minutes apart.

She rang her midwife, Hannah Straker, after about 30 minutes and then called her mother, who was to come from Murchison to look after Chloe.

Five minutes later the couple started the 30 to 40-minute drive to Nelson.

"I could feel the need to push and I was trying hard not to," Mrs Redpath said.

She said their midwife had discussed what to do if they found themselves needing to give birth in the car - something Mrs Redpath thought was a bit weird at the time.

"I thought I'm not going to have it in the car. I'm not that unorganised."

Her husband, Ash, said the midwife had told them to pull over, stop and call her. "I rang the midwife and said we can't go any further, we need to stop now," the patent attorney said.

He tried to pull into the showgrounds for some privacy, but there were people setting up for an event.

He parked under the palm trees on the side of the road and called 111.

Luckily the midwife made it "just in the nick of time".

"She could see the head and within two contractions he was born."

Alex weighed in at a healthy 8 pounds and 11 ounces (3.9 kilograms).

Mr Redpath admitted to a few tense moments, while waiting for the midwife and ambulance to turn up.

"I was stressing because if the midwife had not arrived I would have had to catch Alex."

Mrs Straker had already seen another baby born in a car this year.

In the other case, the father kept on driving and the mother had the baby by herself in the back of the car on the hill down the road to the hospital.

Mrs Straker said the Redpaths both stayed calm and the lack of the space in the front was the main difficulty.

"It was a beautiful, beautiful birth. I was really pleased to get there just in time."

St John team manager Gary Tobin said it was not common for St John to be called to women giving birth in a car.

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"Lots of paramedics can tell you the story of the one they did, but it's not that common."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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