Kristi James, of Hawea Flat, had every intention of following expert advice to have her baby in Dunedin Hospital.

Instead, she had it on the floor of her midwife's office in Wanaka.

James is one of those campaigning for better birthing facilities for Wanaka, but having her baby in the office was not intended as a way of making the point.

James' due date was yesterday but four days early, early last Thursday morning, she got no further than her Wanaka midwife's office.


"When I first turned up and I realised my contractions were only three minutes apart ... I was petrified.

'We told you so!' Baby born on side of road in Southland, MP continues to call for maternity unit

"Everything I had been told was 'We want you at the hospital'.''

Her first child had been born by Caesarean and she believed there was a "fairly good chance'' of complications.

"I'm an older mother and had the previous Caesarean.''

However, she had little time to worry, as a healthy Makai (4.1kg/9lb 2oz) Taylor James was born an hour and a half later.

James lost a lot of blood but said she felt very lucky.

"Lucky is the word that applies to quite a few women who end up having these quick births in Wanaka and on the roadside.''


Because her first child was two weeks late, she had expected travelling to Dunedin a couple of days before her due date would be in plenty of time.

"It wasn't expected I would be early.''

Midwife Deb Harvey said there had been lots of plans made during James' pregnancy, "but plans change''.

"It was a very rapidly progressing labour, and we dealt with it.''

Harvey said there were no facilities in Wanaka to carry out a Caesarean.

If the baby had not arrived within in a certain time, the plan was for James to travel an hour to Dunedin by helicopter.

There had been similar births previously and such events "definitely keep us on our toes'', Harvey said.

She believed the answer was a hospital in Central Otago "for all types of medical care, not just obstetric care''.

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said the lack of maternity services was shocking.

"I have worked with Kristi James over a couple of years now, as she has spearheaded a campaign for improved maternity services in the Upper Clutha and it's disturbing that her fears over a lack of services have now affected her in a very real way.''