Childbirth rarely goes to plan. It certainly didn’t for Sydney couple, Alyssa Stevens and Max Griffiths. As a paramedic, Alyssa always wanted to experience a roadside birth. She just didn’t expect the birth to be her own.
Alyssa told the Manly Observer that she was six days overdue with her second child; in fact, she was booked in to be induced in two days time. And apart from experiencing a few pre-contractions, she had no warning signs to indicate that her baby was on the way. Nonetheless, the Northern Beaches Hospital staff suggested she come in early, so Alyssa’s mother took care of their daughter, Penny, while her sister came over to offer the couple support.
However, a drastic change in the situation, threw all plans into disarray. “As my sister walked us down to the car my waters suddenly broke there on the footpath and I thought ‘Oh god this is happening now’,” says Alyssa.
The couple jumped in the car and took off. “I said to Max ‘you need to drive so quick’,” Alyssa recalled. “He kept reassuring me that we would be fine and get to the hospital on time, but he just wasn’t getting it. ‘Don’t worry we will get there’ he kept saying”.
However much Chris thought they would get to the hospital, it soon became clear that they were not going to arrive before their baby. So Chris pulled over on the side of the road, and both he and Alyssa sprang into action.
“I was planning on another water birth, aromatherapy, dim lights, a good dose of morphine,” says Alyssa. “Instead here I am in the front seat, arched back, feet up on the dashboard feeling like someone is killing me!”
The baby was definitely in a hurry and Chris had to open the car door and squat ready to help, despite the passing traffic. “So I go around and pull down her pants part way and there is a baby’s head right there,” he reported to the Manly Observer.
While the scene was hardly conducive for childbirth, Alyssa found the pain even more unbearable. “It was the most painful thing; the pain was holy crap level,” she said. “All I knew was that it would end if I pushed this baby out so I gave the hugest push, it was such a large push that baby flew out.”
And the baby literally did fly out. And Chris was there to catch him!
In a flash, Alyssa and Chris became parents to their second child, a beautiful healthy baby boy, named Jack Manly Griffiths, ( so called in recognition of their favourite football team.)
The ambulance was quick to arrive on the scene and the family was taken to hospital. But not before a host of photos and video footage was taken to capture the momentous and heartfelt occasion.
One thing’s for sure; birth never quite works out how you think. Nor how you hope. But if there’s a baby at the end of it, then surely all has gone to plan. My first baby came in a hurry on Christmas night. The birth centre was unexpectedly closed so I had to go to the delivery ward, but at least I made it to hospital. Which is more than you can say for Alyssa and Max. They now have their baby boy safely in their arms, however the still-slightly-shocked couple is unlikely to forget Jack Manly’s dramatic roadside birth anytime soon.
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