Wouldn't wait: Pru and Ben Gray, of Ballina, with eight-day-old infant son Harvey in the family car where he was born beside the Pacific Highway near Newrybar while on the way to Mullumbimby District Hospital.
Wouldn't wait: Pru and Ben Gray, of Ballina, with eight-day-old infant son Harvey in the family car where he was born beside the Pacific Highway near Newrybar while on the way to Mullumbimby District Hospital. Jacklyn Wagner

Baby delivered next to highway

A BALLINA mother who gave birth to a baby boy on the side of the Pacific Highway last week has described it as ‘a pretty good experience’.

Prue Gray, 31, was on her way to Mullumbimby hospital for a water birth after weeks of being in labour, when baby Harvey Samuel Gray, who has been since nicknamed Highway Harvey, decided to force his way out into the world ‘somewhere between Newrybar and Knockrow’ at 12.32am last Wednesday.

Mrs Gray’s husband, Ben, stepped in as surrogate gynaecologist with guidance from a Triple-0 operator, turning the back seat of their car into a maternity room.

“We were booked in to have a water birth at Mullum and I wanted to hang on at home as long as possible, but it just came a lot quicker than Iexpected,” Mrs Gray said.

“As soon as my husband pulled over my water broke and I started pushing. Triple-0 talked Ben through it and then my son came out and was caught by his dad.

“The contractions probably started at 5.30pm on Tuesday, but it had been stopping and starting so much I just left it to the point where I couldn’t stand up.

“It is something you only read about. I never thought it would happen to me. Never in my wildest dreams did I think my husband would deliver our baby.”

Despite being parked on the side of one of Australia’s busiest highways in the early hours of the morning in a confined space, the now mother-of-two laughs off the all natural birth as ‘stress free’.

“Everything was fine and quite stress free,” she said.

“My husband was there for the first birth, so he kind of knew what the drill was. He really was fantastic and didn’t panic at all. There was no time for panic.”

The 29-year-old father managed to deliver a healthy, complication-free baby and held the fort until ambulance officers arrived 10 minutes later, by which time mother and father were only just realising what had happened.

“Our first son had a longlabour, so we didn’t expect Harvey to come so quickly,” Mr Gray said. “Prue just said to me ‘quick, pull over, I have to start pushing’, and as I turned on my indicator her water broke.

“There wasn’t time to panic. I was just pumped with adrenalin. It wasn’t until afterwards I realised just how close to the side of the road we were.

“We were elated afterwards and it was so surreal. We just laughed.”

Despite Mr Gray’s perfect delivery, he says he will have to ‘see how they go’ before he starts thinking about delivering his next child.

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