What is they say about best-laid plans?
For first-time parents Zoe and Hayden Kelly the imminent arrival of their new baby was planned perfectly.
The Tungamah couple had everything in place, bags packed, the car full of fuel and, they thought, plenty of time to make the 40 minute drive to Wangaratta Hospital.
However, their new bundle of joy Isabella had other ideas.
On the evening of September 13 – the baby’s due date – and after some stop-start pain during the afternoon, Zoe rang her mum Jenny Lawrence – an aged care nurse – for advice.
“She told me to start timing the contractions and we did that for a while but still they were five minutes apart, then eight minutes apart – there was no real pattern,” Zoe said.
“I rang the Wangaratta Hospital and they said to stay home a bit longer and keep track of the contractions until they were more consistent.”
Gradually the pain worsened and, after a quick call back to the hospital and mum Jenny, around 10pm Zoe knew it was time to go.
She told Hayden to head outside and start the car, just needing a quick visit to the bathroom before they headed to hospital.
Then Zoe’s water broke.
“I yelled for Hayden and told him to call the ambulance,” Zoe said.
“Then I called mum and said its happening, the ambulance is on the way.”
For mum Jenny though, all she heard was “it’s happening”.
“I didn’t hear anything after that, nothing about the ambulance I just dropped the phone and started grabbing things to go,” Jenny said.
“It wasn’t until I go there and walked in that I realised, ambulance or not, the baby was on its way.”
Events then unfolded rapidly with Zoe feeling the urge to push and Hayden and Jenny taking instructions from the ambulance officer on the line.
“The ambulance we needed was in Bundalong, about 40 minutes away, so the midwife on the phone started talking with Hayden giving him instructions,” Zoe said.
“He was checking everything was okay and I kept saying that I needed to push.”
Jenny arrived and Hayden handed her the phone.
“The midwife on the phone was great. She said ‘who’s this?’ and I said ‘I’m Jenny, Zoe’s mum’ and she said ‘well, you’re about to help deliver this baby’.”
Hayden and Jenny kicked into action and, with over-the-phone guidance, delivered beautiful baby Isabella right there at the family’s Tungamah home.
“She was born on the third push at 10.30pm,” Zoe said, “she gave a little cry and then they put her on my chest and she was calm.”
“Hayden and mum were amazing. Everyone was so calm and really it all happened so quick there was no time to panic,” Zoe said.
“I had always worried about something happening on the way to hospital and having the baby on the side of the road in the dark somewhere so I’m glad we didn’t make it into the car and start driving.”
The ambulance was quickly on the scene, mum and bub checked out fine, and the new family headed to hospital.
Isabella Ellen Kelly was a healthy 3.53kgs and 50cms long. The fifth grandchild in Zoe’s family and the first grandchild on Hayden’s side.
“The kids (Hayden and Zoe) were amazing through it all,” Jenny said.
“They were so calm. No panic whatsoever and Zoe was just brilliant.
“I think we were all in a bit of shock afterwards and I still can’t believe it really.
“I’m sure we will all be telling this story to Isabella for many years to come.”