New dad uses army book to deliver baby on Sydney’s M4
A Sydney father has credited an army survival handbook for helping deliver his daughter on the side of the road yesterday during peak hour.
Construction worker David Price, 29, and his partner Angela Burgess, 31, were fewer than two kilometres from Blacktown Hospital when their daughter Lexi decided it was time to enter the world on the M4 Motorway.
Mr Price said Ms Burgess felt the need to push five minutes into their car journey from Penrith, about 4.45pm on Thursday.
"So I sped up. On the freeway she said she could feel the head, so I pulled over," he said.
"Terror was going through my mind. All I could think was: 'I hope the baby is breathing'. It was very surreal and very terrifying."
Mr Price said the secret weapon that got him through the ordeal was a British army pocket handbook - a $14 present from his grandfather.
"My grandad gave me this book when I was 13. It has one line in here about emergency childbirth," he said.
"I read it as a joke to Ang before we left for the hospital, and I still had it with me in the car.
"It was very fresh in my mind, and I knew I only had a short window to get the cord off them and clear the airways."
A tip Mr Price remembered was to pull the umbilical cord down over the baby's shoulder.
"It was lucky, because it was around her neck," Mr Price said.
"The baby wasn't breathing when it came out. I was just trying to make it breathe."
Mr Price quickly cleared mucus from her face, breathed a gentle amount of air into her mouth and applied a one-thumb push on her heart.
"I just thought: 'God damn I'm happy I read that book'," he said.
Mr Price even told paramedic Peta Sleigh, who took the triple-0 call, about the miracle book.
"David said: 'I am on the M4 at Blacktown and then it went quiet. I was getting a bit impatient and saying are you there?" she said.
"Then he said: 'We've just delivered the baby in the car on the side of the road'. He was already all over it.
"I just wanted the baby to be breathing and crying, which she was. And the mum to be okay. When a baby is born, there are two patients - not one."
Ms Sleigh said she had helped deliver two babies over the phone, but this one was "out of the ordinary".
"It was really nice to be able to celebrate a good news story," she said.
"This is what we do the job for - to help people. It was very special."
Paramedic and midwife Belinda Callaghan said she arrived at the scene to find the baby born, wrapped up in Mr Price's jumper.
"He was really funny and excited. The book came out straight away," she said.
Ms Callaghan has helped deliver 20 babies that didn't make it to hospital in time, in the past eight years with NSW Ambulance.
The paramedics and father had an emotional reunion at the hospital on Friday, despite Mr Price jokingly telling Ms Sleigh he "never wanted to speak to her again" at the end of the triple-0 phone call yesterday.
Mr Price said his partner Angela was recovering in hospital and his baby daughter Lexi was healthy.
"Ang is a tough chick. She wanted to do this birth naturally, and you don't get much more natural than that. She's resting now. I'm so proud of her," he said.
Originally published as New dad uses army book to deliver baby on Sydney's M4