Love & Family

Aussie mum gives birth to baby at pub carpark

Katie’s pint-sized delivery was a bit of shock!

Katie Fenwicke, 37 from North Haven, NSW, had a dash to the hospital, but baby Magnolia had other plans.

Here, Katie tells her story in her own words.

Lifting myself off the couch, I waddled over to the kitchen.

‘This looks delicious,’ I said, thanking my wonderful mother-in-law, Marg, who was staying with us to help out.

Together, we served up the roast veggies and salmon to my children Theodore, five, and Gigi, two.

It was February this year, and I was nine months pregnant.

Only a week to go! I thought.

My little ones were both born a week early, so I was ready at any moment.

Every time I left the house, I even brought along a towel in case my waters broke.

I was so afraid of it happening in public.

‘Sorry about the towel, I’m just nervous!’ I told my hairdresser.

But when the baby still didn’t come by the due date, I began to get flustered.

Not keen to be induced, I searched the internet for methods to bring on labour naturally.

Advice included exercise, walking, and eating spicy foods.

While Marg looked after the kids in the evening, I’d stroll along the beach with my husband, Gus, 36.

And each morning, I’d move on my exercise ball.

Surely this will work, I thought.

I’d have small pains, but they only lasted for a moment.

With a gut feeling this was going to be a quick labour, I scoured the best parking spots at the hospital.

Baby Magnolia in the car
Baby Magnolia in the car (Credit: Supplied)

‘I don’t think we’re going to make it in time!’

As it was 30 minutes drive away, I was planning for a smooth experience once the time came.

Five days past my due date, I woke up feeling frustrated.

When will you be ready? I thought, rubbing my bump.

By evening, Marg was bathing the kids while I cleared the dining table.

Suddenly, I felt a slight pain in my stomach.

And just 20 minutes later, I felt a sharper pain.

Quickly, I called Gus, and asked him to come home from work.

When he arrived, I dashed for the car.

As we began driving, I phoned the midwife to say we were on our way.

‘I don’t think we’re going to make it in time!’ I said, feeling an immense wave of agony.

Phoning Triple-0, a paramedic ordered us to pull over at the nearest spot and turn on our hazard lights.

After a couple minutes, we reached the carpark of Bonny Hills Beach Hotel and pulled in.

Parking, Gus stayed on the phone, doing as the paramedic instructed to keep me calm and comfortable.

With deep breaths, I shifted in the passenger seat with one foot out the door.

Baby Magnolia in her pub shirt
Baby Magnolia in her pub shirt (Credit: Supplied.)

‘Get ready to catch your baby,’ she said.

I noticed a man exiting the pub, walking to his car parked near ours.

But being seen was now the furthest thing from my mind.

‘Is everything okay?’ asked another bystander, curious of the commotion.

‘We’re having a baby!’ Gus smiled.

Realising the ambo might not make it in time, our midwife guided Gus over the phone.

‘Get ready to catch your baby,’ she said. ‘And be careful, they’re slippery!’

Thankfully, Gus remained calm.

In the next push, my labour finished in just twenty minutes as Gus caught our beautiful bub.

Relieved it was over, I held my angel while my hubby gently unlooped the umbilical cord and checked the baby’s breathing.

‘Is it a boy or a girl?’ a woman called out from the beer garden.

‘A girl!’ I teared up, checking for myself.

The ambulance appeared moments later.

As I was carried into the back with my newborn, a pub worker and a small group of ladies came over to me.

‘I took some pictures!’ one shrieked.

Feeling hazy from the labour, I couldn’t even find the words to reply.

Arriving at the hospital, Gus and I held our healthy girl, naming her Magnolia.

‘You’ll never believe what happened,’ I told my sisters, Eloise and Emily, over the phone. ‘I gave birth at the pub!

Theodore and Gigi with their baby sister
Theodore and Gigi with their baby sister (Credit: Supplied.)

Two days later at home, the kids met their new sister.

‘She’s so little, Mummy!’ said Theodore, holding Magnolia’s tiny feet.

With bub number three now part of the gang, we all slowly settled into the family’s new routine.

Then in May, I remembered the lady who’d taken photos of our crazy delivery.

I knew it was a long shot, but I posted to a community Facebook page.

If she happens to read this, please inbox me, I wrote, hopeful.

And just half an hour later, I received a response from a woman.

That was me! Ann said, sending the snaps.

Thrilled, I loved the beautiful photos of Magnolia’s first moments.

A woman named Kristy, the publican, also saw my post.

‘You should come by,’ she encouraged.

So three months later, I took Magnolia to meet the staff.

Happy to meet my sweet girl, they handed over a pressie.

Opening the gift, I chuckled.

It was a personalised onesie and beanie reading I was born at Bonny Hills Beach Hotel.

Magnolia, now six months old, adores her dad and doting siblings.

And when she turns one, we’re planning on celebrating at the hotel where it all began.

My public labour wasn’t exactly ideal, but the whole moment was so special.

I still can’t quite believe I gave birth at the pub!

Related stories