A Wānaka local gave birth to her first child out of her car on the way to Charlotte Jean Maternity Hospital last Saturday, amid ongoing discussions regarding the lack of primary birthing facilities in Wānaka.
Eleven days overdue, Saskia Hulsbosch and partner Daniel Hopper started the hour-long journey from Hāwea to Alexandra in the early hours of Saturday morning, with their midwife close behind them.
Hulsbosch’s waters broke as they passed through Cromwell, and when it became clear that she was not going to make it to the hospital, they pulled over next to the Alexandra gorge. After twelve minutes of pushing, she gave birth to Lennix Hopper at 7:12 am.
Ambulances had been called from Cromwell and Alexandra to take Hulsbosch and her new baby to Charlotte Jean, in convoy with Hopper in the family’s car, and an ambulance driver in the midwife’s.
“My car’s like a murder scene,” laughed Hulsbosch.
But this memorable entrance into the world could have gone quite differently for Hulsbosch and Lennix, who is not the first Wānaka child to be born en route to a birthing unit.
“We’re super lucky that everything went okay,” Hulsbosch said. “Everything was breezy as, but we’re so lucky. If we had been up the road a tiny bit, there would have been no phone service.”
“It could have been terrible - for Lennix as well, because he was born in the cold… We had to wrap him up in my dressing gown, which Dan had been holding up his top while I pushed to keep warm.”
“Getting that [primary birthing] facility in Wānaka is so important,” she said. “Next time, it’s going to have to be a home birth for me if there’s no facility in Wānaka.”
The next step in the Southern District Health Board’s public consultation process, a second meeting on the location of primary birthing facilities in Central Otago/Wānaka, will be held on Wednesday, September 9, from 10am at the Wānaka Community Hub.
Read edition 990 of the Wānaka Sun here.