TULLIMBAR’S Kristy Emani had been told that the labour when expecting your first child can be a long process, so when she experienced the first signs of labour in April, she thought she had plenty of time to get to hospital.
Her husband Tovio was due home from work in about an hour and she wanted him to drive her to hospital, but by the time he had arrived home, it was obvious things were advancing quicker than expected.
The couple’s baby was just one of 160 babies born unexpectedly outside hospital between January 1 and May 31 this year, according to NSW Ambulance figures.
The figure included five babies in the Illawarra – two at Albion Park Rail, and one each at Barrack Heights, Fairy Meadow and Bellambi.
This week Mrs Emani recalled thinking she would have time to wait for Mr Emani to come home from work in Sydney but baby had other ideas.
“Then all of a sudden it was just contractions on top of each other and it was like, ‘Oh no, I’m not going to make it’,” Mrs Emani said.
“I told the baby, ‘You’re not coming out until your Dad gets home’, because I didn’t want him to miss out. He finally got home and quickly got me in the car and off we rushed to the hospital.”
However, on approaching the intersection of the Princes Hwy and Tongarra Rd at Albion Park Rail, Mrs Emani felt they would not make it to hospital.
“I said to Tovio, ‘Pull over, pull over. Call the ambulance’,” she said.
Ironically one of the paramedics who arrived to assist was a close friend Robert Shaw and with the assistance of his on-road partner Tony White, they delivered Beniah in the ambulance before taking them on to Wollongong Hospital.
The Triple Zero (000) call was made at 9.22pm and a NSW Ambulance call-taker supported the couple until the paramedics arrived just minutes later and Beniah was born at 9.55pm.
Both paramedics took the situation in their stride – Mr White had delivered countless babies in his 35 years as a paramedic and Mr Shaw had delivered about 10 in his 13 years.
NSW Ambulance Control Division Director Jamie Vernon said despite the daunting prospect of an unexpected delivery, NSW Ambulance Triple Zero (000) call-takers and paramedics were highly skilled in guiding women through labour.
“Dialling Triple Zero (000) and asking for an ambulance will ensure an ambulance is immediately dispatched. In the meantime, the caller will be asked to stay on the phone and be guided with instructions until paramedics arrive and take over,” Mr Vernon said.