A pregnant Queensland mum gave birth on the side of the road during an 80km trip to the hospital while in ʟᴀʙᴏʀ.
Saalia Maestrom, a Port Douglas woman, was ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇʀɴᴇᴅ when she realised she’d need to travel to Mareeba Hospital to have her baby. She had hoped Mossman Hospital, just 15 minutes away from her home, might re-open its ʙɪʀᴛʜɪɴɢ sᴇʀᴠɪᴄᴇs, which closed in 2003, before she was ᴅᴜᴇ.
The mum was so ᴡᴏʀʀɪᴇᴅ she even considered returning to Melbourne, where she and her husband, Conan, had lived previously to give birth. “The first time we drove [to Mareeba], the road and the ʟᴀᴄᴋ ᴏꜰ houses around me ᴄᴀᴜsᴇᴅ me ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇʀɴ. Straightaway I thought, what will happen if we don’t make it to the hospital? There is no one close by,” the 34-year-old said.
Her ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇʀɴ was well-founded when Lᴀʙᴏʀ Dᴀʏ arrived. After setting off in the car with her ᴄᴏɴᴛʀᴀᴄᴛɪᴏɴs getting sᴛʀᴏɴɢᴇʀ, after 30 minutes, she ᴜʀɢᴇᴅ Conan to ᴘᴜʟʟ ᴏᴠᴇʀ. “We stopped. I walked back and forth twice, and my ᴡᴀᴛᴇʀ ʙʀᴏᴋᴇ. Fifteen minutes later, the baby was there,” Saalia said.
Very few cars were on the road, but Conan managed to ꜰʟᴀɢ ᴅᴏᴡɴ a couple. While the wife ᴅʀᴏᴠᴇ to an area to get ᴍᴏʙɪʟᴇ ʀᴇᴄᴇᴘᴛɪᴏɴ and call an ᴀᴍʙᴜʟᴀɴᴄᴇ, the husband, a ꜰᴏʀᴍᴇʀ ᴘᴀʀᴀᴍᴇᴅɪᴄ, stayed to help. “I was worried she wouldn’t find a sᴀꜰᴇ place quick enough and then when she said she had no ʀᴇᴄᴇᴘᴛɪᴏɴ, I was worried we would be on our own,” Saalia said.
“After the first ᴘᴜsʜ, I said, ‘the baby’s ʜᴇᴀᴅ is ᴅᴏᴡɴ and he said, ‘No, I can’t see anything.’ In his head, he thought it was impossible compared to the first ʟᴀʙᴏʀ, which was much longer. Then it was the second ᴘᴜsʜ and the ʜᴇᴀᴅ was out and he said, ‘Oh my gosh.’ At that moment, we realized we couldn’t go anywhere and it was happening.”
“We didn’t know if we needed to ᴘᴜʟʟ the baby ᴏᴜᴛ, but I said, ‘no, I needed to ᴘᴜsʜ.’ The shoulders came out and the baby just ꜰᴇʟʟ ɪɴᴛᴏ his hands.
“I was relieved he ᴄᴀᴜɢʜᴛ the baby. He said the baby was so sʟɪᴘᴘᴇʀʏ. He compared it to an ᴇᴇʟ. When he had the baby in his hands, we didn’t hear any cries. We didn’t know what to do, but I saw the baby was moving but not crying.”
The ꜰᴏʀᴍᴇʀ ᴘᴀʀᴀᴍᴇᴅɪᴄ checked the baby’s ᴘᴜʟsᴇ and then started to cry.
It was a happy ending to a ᴅʀᴀᴍᴀᴛɪᴄ day. Saalia hopes that future women won’t have to go through what she did, and she’s supporting the campaign to ʀᴇᴏᴘᴇɴ Mossman Hospital’s services.