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Father delivers first son at home on the kitchen floor

Maurice Burr and Gabrielle Wallace with their new son Ronald who was delivered by Maurice on the kitchen floor yesterday morning.
Maurice Burr and Gabrielle Wallace with their new son Ronald who was delivered by Maurice on the kitchen floor yesterday morning. Craig Warhurst

FIRST-time dad Maurice Burr was less of an April Fool's joker and more of a hero for his newborn son yesterday morning when he delivered baby Ronald on the kitchen floor of their Gympie home.

A dad-to-be's worst nightmare faced Maurice early yesterday morning when the birth of their son moved faster than expected after his partner Gabrielle Wallace went into labour at home.

The mother-of-four patiently waited three hours after her water broke while contractions gradually increased before calling an ambulance, but the labour unexpectedly sped up so the hard work was done by the time paramedics arrived.

It was a "scared" Maurice who, while on the phone to a 000, welcomed Ronald into the world as his wife gave birth on the kitchen floor.

While his initial thoughts were "you can't be serious" Maurice was soon rushing to find blankets for the baby and pillows to make Gabrielle comfortable.

"I was a bit freaked out, but 000 talked me through it," Maurice said.

To Maurice's relief, Gabrielle's mother Melanie Couzner made it to the home to help.

"Thank God the mother-in-law arrived," Maurice said.

After taking instructions from 000 Maurice caught Ronald as he was born, checked the umbilical was not around the baby's throat and wrapped him in blankets to keep him warm.

"Once he came out and started to cry it was all good," Maurice said of his first-born child.

"I wrapped him up and put him on mum's tummy for a cuddle."

Paramedics arrived in time to check the baby and supervise the proud father in the traditional cutting of the umbilical cord.

The 3.40am April 1 birth meant Melanie and Gabrielle's April Fool's Day plans to tip a cup of water on the floor and trick Maurice by telling him his wife's water had broken were certainly called off.

"The joke's on me," Gabrielle said.

Always the practical mum, Gabrielle made it to the kitchen because it was only room in the house with no carpet.

From Gympie Hospital yesterday, Gabrielle said she was excited to take her son, who was born just two days early, home for him to meet his sisters Elisha, 10, Savanah, 6, and Ryali, 4.

Gabrielle said while she was hoping for a fast labour, she was taken by surprise when the contractions became so intense and she realised that she didn't have time to make it to the hospital.

She said she knew it was an equally big a shock for Maurice.

"He gave me that panicked look," she said.

Maurice said the unexpected home birth was "scary" but "a good feeling".

"I don't think I'd like to try it again though," Maurice said. I think we'll be camping out at the hospital three weeks before the next one's due."

Maurice Burr enjoys a close moment with his newborn son, Ronald.
Maurice Burr enjoys a close moment with his newborn son, Ronald. Craig Warhurst
Gympie Times

Topics:  baby, birth, delivery, editors picks, labour



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