Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Surprise delivery

Lincoln Ridley is a baby in a hurry.

RACHEAL WILLETT December 3, 2013 4:23pm

You wouldn’t know it now, as he spends his lovely, lazy days feeding and sleeping, but a few weeks ago he was a young man on a mission.

Lincoln was delivered in the early hours of November 8, on the side of the Yarrawonga to Wangaratta Road, in the back of his dad’s beloved Jeep.

Thankfully his ‘Marnie’ (a variation of the Irish word for grandmother) Cate Febey, is a midwife at Yarrawonga Health, and was on hand when her grandson decided the time was right.

Lincoln is the newest addition to the young family of Danni Febey and Shaun Ridley who have two other children, Cooper, 5 and Sienna 2.

It was a week before her due date when Danni realised her labour had begun around 1.20am.

 “My two other labours had been pretty average, about seven and a half hours and five and a half hours, so I thought I still had plenty of time,” Danni said.

“I’d had gestational diabetes with this pregnancy so I needed to go to Wangaratta Hospital to deliver rather than stay in Yarrawonga.”

A quick check at the Yarrawonga Hospital and home for another couple of hours, things began to get serious and Danni woke Shaun to say it was time to go.

“I had already called mum and we headed out to her place (at Woodlands) to drop off the other two kids.”

When they arrived Cate considered for a moment staying with the little ones and her husband at home and not going with Shaun and Danni to Wangaratta.

“But Danni and I have always had a special connection, since we nearly lost her when she was a baby, so something in me said ‘no, I need to go with you’,” she said.

Cate followed in her own car behind Shaun and Danni and they headed for Wangaratta Hospital.

Danni’s contractions increased in frequency and intensity and by the time they reached Peechelba she knew they were out of time.

“I knew we weren’t going to make it,” Danni said.

“I called mum, she didn’t answer, I tried to call again and the whole time Shaun was really calm saying ‘it’ll be okay, just go with it, we’ll get there in time’.”

Eventually Danni made contact with Cate who proceeded to call the ambulance and explain the situation.

The time came when they could go no further, and about ten minutes out of Wangaratta, Shaun stopped the jeep near Kensington Road.

“I got out, called the ambulance again to tell them where we were and that we’d stopped,” Cate said.

“It was pretty obvious there was no time to waste so I handed the phone to Shaun and my training took over.”

A midwife with more than 17 years of experience, Cate convinced Danni to climb out of the passenger seat and into the back of the Jeep.

“The Jeep is pretty high and I looked at it and thought ‘I’ll never get up there’,” Danni said.

“But somehow I did it and just in time.”

Cate, Danni and Shaun could see and hear the ambulance as baby Lincoln Phin Ridley was born, in the back of the Jeep illuminated by the headlights of Cate’s parked – still running – car.

“The ambulance officers got out and as they came towards us I put up my hand and said ‘I’m a midwife’ because at that moment I knew I was the only one who was going to deliver my grandson,” Cate said.

“They stepped back and asked what did I need? I think they might have been relieved that I knew what I was doing.”

Lincoln was born a healthy 7lb 14 ounces and a few minutes later mum and bub were bundled into the ambulance and taken to Wangaratta Hospital.

A few hours later the whole family returned to Yarrawonga Hospital, safe, healthy and looked after beautifully by Cate’s colleagues.

In hindsight, both Cate and Danni said despite a few anxious moments there really was no time to panic.

And they laugh that Lincoln will hear about the night he arrived hundreds of times as he grows up.

“The television ads say ‘bought a Jeep’,” Cate said, “we now say Lincoln was ‘born in a Jeep’.”

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