Precious arrival in back seat
"All I said was 'it's too late, baby's out' and then everyone freaked."
Hera Kupa (Pickering) laughs as she described the speedy arrival of her daughter on the back seat of a car in the middle of the night.
Precious Anahera Kupa-Williams was delivered by her father on Sunday, May 4, at 1.20am, as the family raced to Dunedin Hospital.
Kupa had been having "warm-up" contractions roughly 20 minutes apart on Thursday and Friday and had been to Dunedin Hospital with high blood pressure, before returning to Balclutha exhausted on Saturday evening.
"At 10.30pm my son Harley was going to see his mates, and he said 'nothing's going to happen, eh, Mum?, I said no."
They turned out to be famous last words because 40 minutes later Kupa's contractions went from 10 minutes apart to just 6, in the space of 45 seconds.
She rang her midwife in Dunedin who told her to get to hospital. Kura then drove her own truck to collect her 14-year-old son DeReece from his father's house. Her partner Corey Williams was with her but was unable to drive because of his epilepsy.
"We pulled over outside St John, and the contractions were about four minutes apart," she said.
After picking up DeReece, she realised the petrol tank was sitting on empty, but while driving to the Mobil, had to stop on Clyde Street as another contraction hit.
At the petrol station, the eftpos cards would not work, so still in the driver's seat she headed for Milton to meet her daughter, Ngahuia.
They could not get the petrol pump to work again in Milton, so the family swapped into Ngahuia's low-slung wagon - not an easy move for a woman in labour, she said.
With contractions about a minute apart, and with her daughter now behind the wheel, the race for Dunedin continued.
"We were going through Milburn, and I could feel baby's head, I looked at my partner and kids and I thought I have to keep calm."
By now, her partner was on the phone to the midwife and Kupa was on her hands and knees in the back seat.
"I said I want to push and everyone went 'no, no, no, we're nearly there'. I could see we were only at Waihola."
That was when she told them "it's too late, baby's out".
"All I said was Corey grab our baby, but please do not pull out the cord, I said make sure it's not wrapped around her neck and then take the stuff out of baby's mouth and wipe her face ... then she started crying, and we all cried," Kupa said.
As Williams wrapped his newborn in his jacket, a police officer also stopped.
"He asked if everything was alright and Ngahuia said no, my mother's just given birth on the back seat of my car."
The midwife who had been coming to meet them then showed up on the side of the road and after doing her checks asked Kupa if she wanted to go to hospital.
"I said hell, I'm not going to hospital, I'm going home."
And that was exactly what she did, after a nap at her daughter's house in Milton, Kupa was home again that morning.
She was just thankful it was baby number six - not her first.
"I tried very hard to control the pain - I had my kids there so I had to keep calm."
The family would never forget the arrival of its newest member, who despite being born 10 days early weighed in at six pounds, eight ounces, she said.