The baby boy who wouldn't wait

By Peter de Graaf

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SPEEDY: Diana Thomson with her impatient baby boy, just six hours old. PICTURE/PETER DE GRAAF
SPEEDY: Diana Thomson with her impatient baby boy, just six hours old. PICTURE/PETER DE GRAAF

Diana Thomson's seventh baby couldn't wait to enter the world. In fact, he was in such a hurry he wouldn't even let his mum get as far as the ambulance stretcher.

As a result his place of birth, at 6.30am on Monday, was halfway between his dad's car and a stretcher at the Z service station forecourt in Kaikohe.

The excitement began when Ms Thomson woke about 5.30am. She had no particular inkling the baby was on its way, until she took a shower and contractions started.

She woke her partner, Anthony Stillwell, who bundled her into the car and set off for Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa.

But with his son not expected to put in an appearance for another fortnight, Mr Stillwell hadn't filled up the car.

After quickly tanking up at Kaikohe's Z service station he only managed to drive as far as the forecourt air pump before the baby announced his imminent arrival.

When the service station attendant dialled 111 the contractions were just a minute apart. A St John ambulance crew arrived minutes later and whipped out a stretcher.

"I stood up and said, 'I think it's coming out.' I gave birth halfway between the car and the stretcher," Ms Thomson said, adding that the St John volunteer driver who caught the baby was thrilled, because it was the first birth she had attended.

"They were all neat. She was neat, the medic was neat, even the gas attendant was choice," she said.

Mum, dad and baby were in Bay of Islands Hospital by 7am, all thankful the floods had receded enough that the road to Kawakawa was open.

The as yet unnamed boy weighed in at 2950g (6lb 8oz).

On-call midwife Sue Knightley praised the work of the St John crew, who ensured the baby arrived in excellent condition, and without any of the panic that sometimes accompanied sudden births. She had attended several births at Kawakawa's Three Bridges, and one in the hospital car park, but it was the first one she had heard of on a petrol station forecourt.

Mr Stillwell said he was grateful to the St John medic and driver, the staff at Z and Bay of Islands Hospital, and their midwife.

- Northland Age

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