When Jodie Taylor realised she had no hope of getting to hospital in time and was about to give birth in the shower, she knew she had to act.
While calling for her partner, the far north Queensland mother got ready to birth, catch and check the health of her newborn daughter – all by herself.
Ms Taylor’s contractions started the previous day but, having given birth four times before, she decided to wait until they got closer together before bothering going to hospital.
“All of a sudden my contractions got close together,” Ms Taylor said.
“I caught her and scooped her up into my arms. She cried straight away.”
It was only when Ms Taylor walked out of the bathroom with newborn baby Lucy Ima-May in her arms that her partner Robert Fine realised what had happened.
He immediately called an ambulance while his 34-year-old partner bonded with the newest addition to the family.
“He was disappointed that he missed it but she wanted to arrive early,” Ms Taylor laughed.
Impatient Lucy almost came on time, arriving at two days earlier than her due date at 3.45am Friday weighing a healthy 3220 grams.
Don’t panic, find a safe space
Midwife Joanne Taylor said emergency births were rare, but when they did occur, it was usually with women who already had children.
“It is pretty scary for them,” she said.
“For the woman they’re often just in the zone, it’s the other people who are around it can be even scarier for.
“They need to keep calm themselves and get her in a spot that is safe so the baby can come easily and not fall to the ground.”
Ms Taylor said calling an ambulance was the first thing to do in the case of an emergency birth.
“Often women are in upright positions so get low to the floor, kneeling or on hands and knees so the baby won’t fall and hit the floor,” the midwife said.
“Try and breathe through as much as possible to slow the birth process at the end.
“Make sure baby is breathing. If baby isn’t born breathing, which is very unusual, drying with a towel often stimulates it.
“Then we encourage mums to put the baby skin to skin on their chest. We tell people not to worry about the chord or the placenta, just to wait for the ambulance.”
The nurse, who has been working as a midwife for a quarter of a century, said in Cairns fewer than one per cent of babies arrived unexpectedly.
“It’s fairly rare, we’ve had about 17 women who’ve had their babies at home who planned to come to the hospital,” she said.
“If you’re getting contractions and you’re going into a shower take your phone with you,” she said.
“If you’re unsure [whether to go to hospital], talk to a midwife but sometimes nature just takes its course.”