Phone delivery: triple-0 worker helps mum with birth
Kelly Stocks and Lila have calmed down after all the excitement on Saturday. Main photo: MELISSA ADAMS Photo: Melissa Adams
Kelly Stocks, of Karabar, Queanbeyan, was at home when labour began in earnest in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Her husband, Alan, was on his way home from visiting his parents in Yass, with the couples' young son, James, so Stocks was alone.
But when Stocks dialled triple-0 she wasn't alone after all - she then had the reassuring company of Melissa Arnold, a triple-0 control centre officer in Wollongong, 184 kilometres away.
Ambulance control centre officer Melissa Arnold Photo: Supplied
The triple-0 worker says Stocks was the real star.
"Kelly was great - she actually kept me calm!" Arnold said, laughing. "But I've got three kids myself, I've obviously given birth three times, so I have a sense of what's happening."
Arnold had been deep into her 12-hour 6pm to 6am shift when, at 3.20am, Stocks rang the emergency line. While there's a protocol for imminent deliveries, Arnold explained, it involves things like fetching some towels (with which to wipe the newborn's face) and a blanket (in which to wrap the baby once it emerges), so the labouring Stocks had no choice but to do these things herself.
The baby was born during the tense 19 minute conversation.
Stocks said, "[Things accelerated] and I thought 'I have to call triple-0.' And I did and I laid down on the couch."
"I told Melissa 'I need an ambulance' and she said 'It's okay, they're on their way.' She was timing my contractions for me and telling me when to breathe and everything. And then I had to push at one stage and felt the baby coming out ...
"She started crying straight away and Melissa told me to check that the cord wasn't around her neck, which it wasn't, so everything was good. So I cuddled her and then a few minutes later the ambulance arrived and they took over and I calmed down a bit."
For her part, Arnold says, she just kept reminding Stocks to breathe her way through her contractions, and reassuring her that she was still on the other end of the line.
Once baby Lila was born - on the family's lounge - Arnold told Stocks to hold her to her chest.
"I kept talking to her. I asked her 'Is it a little boy or a little girl?' and I remember her saying 'I don't know, I haven't checked yet!'" Arnold says.
Baby Lila was healthy and Stocks was thrilled with the outcome of her unexpected home birth. "Melissa ... she was wonderful, she was the best," she said.
As for her daughter's birthplace, Stocks said, "Luckily we already have a new lounge on order, it's due to be delivered next week. So this one's headed to the tip!"