Phil & Catriona,Titirangi

Our 2nd daughter, Amy, turned 6 years old on the 19th of July. Amy had a slightly unusual entry into the world of which St John were a part.

My wife went into labour at about 11pm on Saturday 17th of July 2008. The labour came on very quickly unlike our first daughter. We did the timings on the contractions and called the midwife who advised us it was too early to leave for the hospital. Just after midnight the contractions became so strong that my wife was going to struggle to get to the car, but she had a slight respite and, with the help of a friend, and my wife's resolve we managed to get her into the back seat.

I drove down the winding roads of Scenic Drive in Titirangi for about five minutes where I was almost at the Titirangi Village when I heard my wife say from the back seat 'the baby's coming now!'.  I looked back at her and knew I no choice but to find somewhere to stop. It was now 2am, it was raining and 5 degrees and very dark. I decided to pull into the bus stop in the middle of the Titirangi village. I then dialled 111 and put my mobile on speaker phone and spoke to the operator, who I believe was a St John emergency operator. Trying not to yell I explained our situation. The operator talked calmly and reassured me...I needed someone to help me as I was starting to panic as well as trying to appear calm for my wife's sake. The operator talked me through a few things i needed to be aware of and kept re-assuring me as we awaited for a St John Ambulance.

My wife was now in full labour and the contractions were continuous, I knew the birth was going to be very soon and it was unlikely the ambulance would make it in time. I was still trying not to panic, the operator was talking me through the steps, what to look for, where we were at in the stage of delivery...a lot of simple steps that had gone out of my head due to the situation...things like I needed to have a towel ready to hold the baby and things like that, then I could see the top of the head of the baby...... I did have thoughts of , can I do this?

If I had been on my own I am not sure how I would have coped as I started thinking of what could go wrong. Next thing the head came out. I had a sudden urge to pull the baby out. I announced this to which there were cries of 'No' from both the operator and my wife. The operator told me to have the towel ready and the baby should do the rest, with my wife and the operator and talking through the pushing process.

Suddenly the towel fell off one of my hands and at the same time the baby fell into my hands. I managed to hold on, just. I then looked at a very purple baby who was not breathing. How do i get her breathing? i had seen on television how doctors had slapped them on the bum, maybe this was the way? but the operator told me to wait a second, the cold night should get her breathing...she was right. I wrapped up the baby and placed her on my wife's chest. I took a breath then the operator talked through a few more details. We then realised we still didn't know if it was a boy or girl.... in the stress of the situation I hadn't I checked and it was a gorgeous little girl.

I then turned around to see a taxi driver standing behind me asking if I needed some help. I told him we had just had a baby and if he could look out for the ambulance which I then saw driving up the street. The operator then went...after we thanked her so much....we couldn't have done it without her. The entire phone call took 16 minutes..... but felt like 16 hours. My wife and Amy were transferred to the ambulance and they were taken to Auckland hospital which left me standing on the side of the road in the Titirangi village in the rain with a taxi driver trying to figure out what the hell had just happened. Quite surreal.

Our biggest regret was not contacting the operator after. Life became quite hectic. I contacted the emergency phone service and they told me i had to call or write to Christine Douglas at St John but getting stuff done is not one of our strong points, especially with a newborn and a 3 year old and it never happened. We always have thought it was too late, but if there was any chance we would love to say thanks to her for helping bringing our beautiful daughter into the world. I have attached a photo of Amy who is a delightful, smart, funny kid.

I don't think she grasps how unique her birth is but i am sure she will one day. Also, the amazing and uncommon experience for my wife and I, that without St John would have been much much more difficult. Thanks so much St John.

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