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This North Shore baby was born in the car!

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He is four weeks old now and a mostly calm little boy (or as calm as newborns can be), but Benjamin Leo made a dramatic entrance into the world, reveals his mum Sara-Lee Been.

Benjamin was due on the 11th of July, but like most ‘due’ dates the day passed without incident. I was scheduled for an induction on the Friday of the following week, and given I had an induction for my first baby I assumed my second would be much the same. Now in my third week of maternity leave and suffering from terrible reflux, I was not looking forward to another week of being pregnant and was very ready to meet our new family member.

On the night of Tuesday 14th July I had a fairly poor night’s sleep and I woke early on Wednesday morning to mild Braxton Hicks contractions. These continued through the day coming at unpredictable intervals, but I was able to continue with my day without too much incident. By the early evening the contractions were more regular (maybe 10 minutes apart) but still not very painful – I cooked dinner and called my parents to ask them to pick up my daughter in case we needed to go to the hospital at some point in the evening.

We called the hospital at about 6.30pm and I was told it sounded like things were progressing, but to wait until there were three contractions every 10 minutes that lasted at least 40 seconds long and really took my breath away. I checked my hospital bag was properly packed, had a shower and sat and waited with my husband. By about 9pm the contractions were coming every 3-5 minutes, but they still weren’t anywhere near 40 seconds in length or taking my breath away. Nonetheless, by 9.30pm we were walking to the car ‘just in case’.

Then came the ‘lull’. We live in St Ives, and between St Ives and Archibold Road in Lindfield I did not have a contraction. I was concerned I was not in ‘true labour’ yet, that the change of scenery had stopped my contractions and the hospital would send us home. Wow, was I wrong. All of a sudden I had an enormously strong contraction which forced me to push. ‘I am going to need an epidural,’ I told my husband Paul as my waters broke in a gush. After the contraction, I could feel a burning sensation and I tentatively put my hand between my legs. ‘Ummm, I think the baby is crowning,’ I said. Paul was convinced I was wrong and we would be at the hospital in plenty of time.

With the next contraction, which came when we reached Archer Street in Chatswood, I was in no doubt that the baby’s head was out. I told Paul to pull over because I was worried about suffocating him or her. I reached down and felt that the baby’s head and shoulders were out. I pulled the baby up onto my chest and under my cardigan for warmth. The baby cried, which was a relief, but I did not look at it properly – I had no idea what the gender was! I only wanted to be with medical staff as soon as possible just in case there was anything wrong. Now in Chatswood and only five minutes from North Shore Private we decided to continue driving to the hospital, as that would be faster than waiting for an ambulance.

Once we reached the hospital the cord was cut and the placenta delivered. Fortunately, Benjamin (it was a boy!) was 100 per cent healthy. All the clothes I was wearing were thrown away and, don’t worry, the car is completely fine – I was sitting on towels because my waters had not broken yet!

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Darling Benjamin with his adoring big sister.

Do you have a story of your own to share about your birth not going to plan? Please email [email protected] so that we may publish it.

NSM + KIDSPOT LIVE ONLINE CHAT
Visit the NSM Facebook group on Thursday 20 August at 8pm and take part in a Live Chat hosted by North Shore Mums and Kidspot. Kidspot’s Lucy Kippist and child health expert Jane Barry will advise mums on how to cope when their baby’s birth doesn’t go to plan. For more information, click here.

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