When Tullimbah mum-to-be Kristy Emani began having contractions on the night of April 23 this year, she wasn’t in a rush to make it to hospital.
Mrs Emani had been told her first birth was likely to be a long one, so she wasn’t worried about waiting an hour for husband Tovio to get home from work in Liverpool so he could drive her to hospital.
But about two hours later, Mrs Emani had given birth to a baby boy in the back of an ambulance on the side of the road in Kembla Grange.
What’s more, it was a friend of the family, paramedic Rob Shaw, who helped deliver baby Beniah.
‘‘At first I thought ‘oh, awkward’ but my husband was very happy to come running back to the car saying guess who it is, it’s Rob,’’ Mrs Emani said.
‘‘I was happy I was in good hands, basically those feelings overrode feelings of awkwardness but it all happened so quickly.’’
The ambulance had met Mr and Mrs Emani at Albion Park Rail and, after the birth, continued to Wollongong Hospital.
‘‘I knew I wasn’t going to make it so the ambulance came and took me,’’ Mrs Emani said.
‘‘I was hoping he [Beniah] could wait until we got to hospital.
‘‘That was my only fear – of giving birth in the car on the side of the road.
‘‘I didn’t want to have to get out onto the gravel and give birth ... I was very relieved once the paramedics got there for sure.’’
The birth was uncomplicated, and baby Beniah was in perfect health.
Mrs Emani said she was happy her labour had been so quick.
‘‘I hear of other people’s stories – I think I was happy it was all over and done with in a couple of hours rather than a prolonged labour,’’ she said.
Since the start of the year, NSW Ambulance call takers or paramedics have assisted with five births in the Illawarra.
Across the state, 160 babies have been born unexpectedly this year.
NSW Ambulance control division director Jamie Vernon said the figures showed any person could be suddenly called upon to deliver a baby, but NSW Ambulance call takers were highly experienced in guiding people through the birthing process.
“The caller will be asked to stay on the phone and guided with instructions from the call taker until paramedics arrive,” Mr Vernon said.