Shona Fretwell helped deliver neighbour's Aroha and Craig’s newborn baby Pippa.
Shona Fretwell helped deliver neighbour's Aroha and Craig’s newborn baby Pippa.

Midwife delivers neighbour’s baby in middle of night

A MIDWIFE has given a whole new meaning to being a good neighbour by delivering a Townsville couple's baby after she was woken by screams in the middle of the night.

Aroha Davidson went into labour suddenly at 39 weeks pregnant at her Bushland Beach home about 11.20pm on Saturday.

Husband Craig said he took their daughter Zoe, 4, to a friend's place but by the time he returned things were "moving very quickly", so much so there wasn't time to get to the hospital.

Her screams of pain woke their neighbour of 10 years, who happened to be friend and registered Townsville Hospital midwife Shona Fretwell.

"When I first heard the scream, I sat up and wondered what it was but the second time recognised it instantly from my experience as a midwife," Ms Fretwell said.

Mr Davidson had also called an ambulance who gave him advice over the phone while he waited for his neighbour.

When Ms Fretwell arrived at Craig and Aroha's house the baby's head was already visible.

"I was just so happy to be there for them," she said.

"The baby was coming whether I was there or not so I was just so grateful to be able to help."

Ms Fretwell said it was absolute instinct and adrenaline that took over while helping deliver Pippa, who arrived at 11.45pm weighing 3118g (6 pounds, 14 ounces).

Mr Davidson said there was a sense of relief when their neighbour arrived to ensure Pippa arrived safely.

Bushland Beach family Aroha and Craig Davidson with newborn baby Pippa.
Bushland Beach family Aroha and Craig Davidson with newborn baby Pippa.


The now mother-of-two, Ms Davidson, said she was eternally grateful to Ms Fretwell and that things could have gone "pear-shaped without her".

"We just cannot repay her for being there and we couldn't have been in better hands," she said. "She is more than a neighbour and more than a friend, she almost feels like family now."

Little Pippa was taken to Townsville Hospital's maternity unit just to be on the safe side where she was reunited with Ms Fretwell who just so happened to be the shift co-ordinator that day.

Ms Fretwell said the whole experience had tightened her bond with the family.

"We've been neighbours for 10 years. We have Christmas together, our daughters play together so it's safe to say we are very close," she said. "The attention has all felt slightly surreal though, because … I was just doing what I was trained to do."


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The incident took place this morning.