“Don’t say sorry, this is beautiful.”
Those were words Mitsy Mika said to a young mum who was giving birth in the passenger seat of a car parked on the side of the road south of Rotorua at 1am on Sunday.
Mika was travelling to Reporoa from Taneatua with her 10-year-old son in her truck when she saw a car with its hazard lights parked on a grass median at Rainbow Mountain, on the corner of State Highway 5 and State Highway 38.
She saw a woman walking across the road, talking on the phone, and slowed down to ask if everything was okay.
The woman said she was trying to get the highway number because she had dialled 111 requesting an ambulance as her daughter was having a baby in the car.
“I was struggling to hear her so turned off my truck and then I heard a young girl in the car yelling, ‘the baby is coming!’.”
Mika swung into action, driving her truck up onto the median and running to help.
The pregnant woman – Ellie Huriwai Stanton of Murupara – had the front passenger seat reclined and was in the position to give birth. The baby boy was already halfway out.
Mika, a mother of four children including a 4-month-old baby, helped Stanton get undressed to prepare for skin-to-skin contact with the baby once it had been delivered.
She was apologising to Mika about being a “complete stranger” and having to help.
“I said ‘don’t say sorry, this is beautiful. You’ve made my day.'”
Stanton’s mum stayed on the phone to St John Ambulance while Mika grabbed a blanket.
Mika said Stanton, who has two other children, aged 4 and 11 months, was “awesome” despite the circumstances.
“She was so cool. She wasn’t freaking out or anything. She just seemed tired and didn’t have the energy to do anything.”
Mika caught the baby when he was born and cleared his throat and nose of white film to ensure he could breathe.
“I assured her baby was okay and put him on mum and they were all good… We put the heater on in their car to make sure everyone stayed warm.”
The 33-year-old logging truck driver from Taneatua, who was driving back to her family in Reporoa after dropping off a horse float, said she’d never seen a baby being born before.
“I was just buzzing out. I’d had a long day and bumping into this, boom. The adrenalin was pumping and I was like far.”
Mika said the ambulance was still 40 minutes away and they had already been on the roadside for 20 minutes.
“Baby was okay so we decided it would be better to just drive to Rotorua 25 minutes away with hazard lights on to get baby to hospital. If a cop pulled you over, just show them the baby.”
Stanton told the Rotorua Daily Post she was so grateful for everything Mika had done.
“She made me feel calm as all she was worried about was the well-being of my baby.”
Despite her son’s dramatic entry into the world, she said thanks to Mika it would be remembered as a positive one with laughter.
“I want to thank her very much and wish her and her family all the best for their future. Mitsy didn’t need to pull over to help, but she did.”
Stanton said not everyone would have stopped to help a stranger, especially a woman travelling alone with her young son in the middle of the night.
“I’m so grateful to her and am sending her all our love.”
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