Talk about a quick delivery.
It took just 18 minutes for Amanda McCarry to give birth to daughter Kathryn last Thursday.
The Millfield mother and her husband Chris had planned on delivering their third baby at Maitland Hospital, but instead had to settle for the side of Wollombi Road, across from Bellbird Workers Club.
Amanda, who wasn’t due to give birth for another two weeks, had not long returned from Maitland Hospital for a check-up when she started experiencing cramps.
“I had a bit of cramping in the belly but didn’t think that much of it,” she said.
“It got progressively got worse and Chris rang the hospital around 7pm.
“They told us to get there straight away but by the time we got to the outskirts of Millfield I knew we weren’t going to make it.”
Chris had earlier called his sister, Kerensa Mitchel, to let her know that Amanda was experiencing cramps.
Thinking that they might have to go to the hospital, he asked if Kerensa’s daughter would watch their two young sons Stuart and Michael, just in case they had to leave.
Little did he know that it would only take the time it took to reach Bellbird Workers Club for baby Kathryn to enter the world.
“We were only just getting out of Millfield and I called the ambulance again,” Chris said.
“They wanted me to pull over but we were in the middle of nowhere.
“I knew my sister (Kerensa) would be at the workers club playing darts so we just went straight there.”
Pulling up on the side of Wollombi Road, Chris alerted a staff member who ran in to grab Kerensa.
“She thought we were just calling in to say we were off to the hospital,” he said.
“She didn’t know she was about to deliver a baby.”
When one of the club’s bar staff told Kerensa that there was a woman delivering a baby, she thought they meant at Chris’s house.
“I ran straight to the phone to ring the ambulance and that’s when they told me she was delivering the baby outside,” Kerensa said.
“I just ran straight across the road, I didn’t even check for traffic.
“Amanda was in the front seat with her legs up on the dashboard.
“Once I saw the look in Chris’s face I knew it was really serious.”
With Chris on the phone to paramedics and Kerensa tending to Amanda, it took just four more contractions and about one minute for Kathryn to be born.
“The paramedics were asking about the contractions,” Kerensa said.
“After the first one I couldn’t see anything so I thought good, we have a bit of time.
“But by the second contraction which was only about 10 seconds later I could see the head and by the third one the head was out.
“On the fourth contraction I caught the baby.”
But the panic wasn’t over yet.
As Kerensa and Chris recall, in the moments following her birth Kathryn wasn’t crying and appeared quite grey.
Still waiting for the ambulance to arrive, they quickly wrapped the newborn up in blankets taking great care not to damage the umbilical cord.
“I was panicking because it was all happening so fast and was out of our control,” Chris said.
“I was just worried about where the ambulance was.
“The best we could do was put her on Amanda’s chest and try to stimulate her.”
Fortunately the ambulance arrived within the next five minutes and both mum and bub were taken straight to Maitland Hospital.
Kathryn was weighed in at eight pounds, four ounces and her official birth time was 7.18pm, just 18 minutes after Chris’s first call to the hospital.
She also has the very special location of Wollombi Road, Bellbird on her birth certificate.
Both Chris and Amanda are relieved that it is all over and very thankful that his sister just happened to be playing darts that afternoon.
As for Kerensa, the whole experience still hasn’t quite sunk in.
“It was a very surreal experience; I wouldn’t want to do it again in a hurry,” she said.
“I’ve certainly never been at that end of things before.
“It’s not every day that you go to the club for a game of darts and end up delivering a baby.”