Dad delivers baby in driveaway

Dotty, 2, and Layla, 3, both love their brother Finn, who was born in a driveway. Pictures: Stewart Chambers

By Mikayla van Loon

Seeing the birth of your child is perhaps one of the most incredible experiences to go through but for Monbulk father Steve McRae, he never thought he would be the one to deliver his baby boy on the side of the road.

When his wife Nikki began experiencing cramps just before midnight on 1 October, the two of them knew it wouldn’t be long before their third child was born.

“I had said to my husband I had a feeling that the baby might come that weekend because I was getting quite uncomfortable and I knew it was not far away,” Nikki said.

Little did they know it was going to happen a lot quicker than either of them expected.

By quarter to three in the morning, Nikki had made the call to start heading to the hospital as a precaution, knowing the drive was going to take some time.

“We were actually staying at our in-laws in Silvan for the week. Of course, that’s the week I went into labour and it also meant we were a bit further away from the hospital,” Nikki said.

Getting to the end of the long driveway, Nikki knew she was close to needing to push.

“It went from me thinking I was just sort of in early labour to all of a sudden being ready for him to be born,” she said.

Making it to Monbulk and then just over the border into Kallista, Nikki told Steve to pull over wherever he could.

It was 3am and it was pouring rain but Steve pulled over into the first driveway he could, collected towels and blankets from the back of the car and called an ambulance.

“As I was coming back to the car I just heard a guy yell out and it was this Grahame fella and he just asked if we were OK,” Steve said.

“I said ‘sorry my wife’s having a baby, are you able to get some fresh towels and maybe a blanket?’ and he was like ‘you’re kidding’ and I was like ‘sorry mate, not kidding’.”

Grahame Emanuel and his wife were awoken to the surprise of a baby being born in their driveway but helped calm and encourage Nikki through the birth of her son.

“It was three o’clock in the morning and he had just woken up to a couple having a baby in his driveway so I think the fact that even came out was amazing,” Steve said.

“I think he was a little bit panicked at the beginning and then he went around to the driver’s side and he started rubbing Nikki’s shoulder.”

Steve said having experienced the births of two children before helped him stay calm while the ambulance operator talked him through how to deliver his child.

“The more calm that I can be, the more it resonates with Nikki as well. So it’s just focusing on that and staying nice and relaxed. I don’t know what it would have been like if it was our first, probably a bit more scary,” he said.

Nikki said the births of her two daughters, Dotty and Layla, had been fairly straightforward and quite textbook, with no complications.

“I had done it twice before and I think realistically we had really beautiful straightforward births with the girls so we didn’t have any reason to think that this one would be any different.”

But little Finn McRae wanted to make an entrance and came into the world just after 3am on 2 October.

For Steve, being able to deliver his baby boy was such a special and surreal experience.

“Nikki went through something pretty rough in terms of being in the front side of the car but it was completely fine in the end and I got to completely deliver my baby boy,” he said.

“It was amazing. I wouldn’t change it for the world now that Nikki’s completely fine and he’s completely fine. It was awesome.”

From the moment Finn took his first breath, Nikki and Steve knew everything was going to be fine but having the reassurance from the paramedics who arrived shortly after he was born, was such a relief.

Since welcoming Finn into their lives and with quite a bit of media attention, Nikki and Steve said they have been overwhelmed with love and support from the community, something they are extremely grateful for and wanted to thank everyone who has helped in some way.

“It was really tough leading up to the birth in lockdown,” Steve said.

“If anyone has someone in our situation or is expecting and maybe has kids or something, just reach out and ask them how they are going.”