I had a bub on a ferry!

Mum Emma’s plan for a water birth didn’t exactly go to plan
  • Emma Jones, 30, from Russell Island, Qld, was pregnant with her second when she planned to have a water birth at the hospital on the mainland
  • When she went into labour, she hopped into an ambo ferry to make her way over
  • Her baby boy arrived before they reached the hospital

Here Emma tells her story in her own words.

‘How’s my beautiful boy?’ I said, kissing my son Kalais, then five.

A single mum, we lived with my lovely mum Rhonda, now 67. When Mum lost her job as a disability carer in 2021, we decided to move from our Flagstone, Qld, home to Russell Island, more than two hours away.

Off the coast of Redland Bay, where my sisters Rachael and Kaela lived, with its lush trees and wholesome community by the water, it was a great place for Kalais to grow up.

Making the move in July 2022, we settled in nicely.

A month later, I felt a bit off and wondered if I was pregnant. Taking a test, it was positive! I was single, and thrilled to be having another little one.

‘It’s a boy!’ my sonographer said at my 16-week scan.

At five months along, in January this year, Kalais and I moved into a bigger place with my eldest sister Nyki, 49, and her kids Luca, 14, and Lily, 11, who’d just moved to the island. We were down the road from Mum.

Excited to meet my little boy, I’d decided to have a water birth at Redland Hospital on the mainland.

My labour with Kalais had been five hours, so I figured I’d have plenty of time to make the 20-minute ferry journey, then 20-minute drive to the hospital.

Jolting awake around 1.30am in May, I was in agony. Sitting on the toilet, I screamed out to Nyki, ‘I think I’m in labour!’

My contractions were three minutes apart!

Emma Jone Birth Ferry
Me giving birth on the ferry (Credit: Supplied.)

A paramedic was ready to catch my son

Ringing my midwife, she told me to call an ambulance ferry, and she’d meet me at the hospital. Mum arrived, thanks to a call from Nyki, before the paramedic.

‘I’m coming with you!’ Mum said, jumping in with me, while Nyki held the fort at home.

By the time we got onto the ferry with five crew on board, my contractions were closer together and excruciating.

‘I don’t know if I can do this!’ I cried, gripping Mum’s hand.

Roughly five minutes away from arriving at Redland Bay Marina, I felt a wave of pressure.

Feeling the urge to push, I did, while a paramedic was ready to catch my son.

And in just two pushes, my baby boy came out with a big cry! Sweet Phoenix was laid on my chest straight away, while Mum cut the umbilical cord.

Welcome to the world, I smiled.

I can’t believe I gave birth on the water, I thought.

At the marina, an ambulance was waiting and Phoenix, Mum and I were rushed to hospital.

Baby Phoenix with Kalais
Kalais holding his little brother Phoenix (Credit: Supplied.)

Arriving, my midwife stood in my birthing suite filled with fairy lights. Meditation music played gently in the background, and my bath was ready to go.

‘Well, I have nothing to do now, do I!?’ she laughed.

Discharged six hours later after some routine checks, I returned home with my healthy newborn who weighed 2.95 kilos.

The whole family fell in love with him, especially Kalais, now six.

I planned on a water birth, but not a birth on water! But I wouldn’t change a thing.

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