A mum who gave birth to a premature baby on the Centenary Highway has thanked the Mater midwife who guided her through the delivery by phone – and saved her daughter’s life.  

Marsden couple Elijah and Courtney Tapiki began driving to the Mater Mothers’ Hospital in South Brisbane last Wednesday (March 1) when Courtney’s contractions suddenly began nine weeks before their new baby’s due date.

“I dropped my daughter to school and was waiting for my husband to come back from work as I was feeling some contractions,” Mrs Tapiki said.

“But we were only minutes from our home when my contractions started to get closer. I thought, ‘This baby is coming right now!”

Mum-of-four Mrs Tapiki phoned for an ambulance as her husband kept driving towards the hospital and then used another mobile phone to contact Mater Mothers’ Hospital.

She spoke to Mater midwife Madonna Beirne, who guided her through a very fast delivery.

“I only pushed once and the baby came out – I didn’t even have time to take my underwear off!” Mrs Tapiki said.

But although the baby – whom Mrs Tapiki has named Patience – was born quickly, she was still in considerable danger.

Mrs Beirne, who has worked at Mater since 1984, said Mrs Tapiki was anxious over the phone as she coached her through the delivery, which happened just before the Forest Lake and Inala motorway exit.

“The umbilical cord was actually wrapped around the baby’s neck twice as she was born,” Mrs Beirne said.

“I explained to Courtney and Elijah how they needed to unwrap the cord and made sure they continuously checked on her breathing and skin colour and kept her warm,” Mrs Beirne said.

While it is not the first time Mrs Beirne has helped a mum deliver a baby while on the phone, she was thankful when a Queensland Ambulance Service crew arrived on the scene and transported mother and baby to Mater Mothers’ for hospital care.

“We had quite a bit of time to chat on the phone while they waited for the ambulance and I joked they should call the baby Madonna, but Courtney said she wanted to name her Patience – because her baby didn’t have any!” Mrs Beirne laughed.

Baby Patience weighed 1.96kg and is currently receiving around the-clock care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Mater Mothers’ Hospital.

“She is our miracle baby,” Mrs Tapiki said. “We are so lucky she survived being born so early and without any breathing assistance until we arrived at Mater.”

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