Real Stories

Victorian Firefighter Delivers His Own Son on the Side of the Road

As a volunteer CFA firey for 18 years, Jono Dower has seen his fair share of incredible emergency moments.

But none compare to the moment the burly brigade captain found himself on the side of the road with his wife, Alannah, about to give birth.

Here’s one story that’s going to make for a cracker yarn at a certain 21st birthday in 2039!

Volunteer Firefighter Delivers His Own Son on the Side of the Road

We all know how unexpected labour can be. We’ve shared a number of stories of babies born in a hurry, including one bub born mid flight and another baby born en caul in the front seat of the car.

The contractions can come on strong and within minutes you might feel that urgency to push.

For Alannah, this happened en route to the Wodonga Hospital, in the middle of the night, guided only by her motherly instinct and her firefighting hubby.

baby born side of road by dad

A speedy (and spooky) delivery

After Alannah’s waters broke around midnight on Friday, 13 July 2018, she and Jono immediately started the 93 kilometre trek to the nearest hospital from their tiny town of Dartmouth.

As if giving birth on Friday the 13th isn’t spooky enough, the couple found themselves driving in the darkest part of the night through heavy fog. Oh… and no mobile phone reception.

“Contractions were starting to hit hard and fast,” Alannah tells Mum Central. “We had travelled 15kms down the road when I said to Jono that I was starting to push. It was at this stage that we both realised we weren’t going to make it to hospital.”

The couple turned off the main highway, dodging a family of wombats on the side of the road and desperately looking for an area with mobile phone service.

baby born in car delivered by dad

“We pulled over on the side of the road with temperatures nudging 0 degrees and very poor lighting. Using the torch on his phone with guidance from the 000 operator on loud speaker, Jono safely delivered our little boy, Reginald Colin Dower, at 01.17am.” 

“>Incredibly enough, baby Reginald arrived safely just nine minutes after his parents pulled over. Shortly after the ambulance, crewed by Ambulance Community Officers, arrived to escort the family to hospital.

“I did say that I wanted a natural birth with no drugs and certainly got what I wished. The only pain relief I had was when Jono jammed my fingers in the door.”

baby born car delivered by dad - reginald dower

A team effort

Being part of an emergency team, Jono was well aware how important remaining calm is. He credits his time with CFA for helping him through the stressful situation.

“Through CFA you learn to adapt to different situations and make do with what you’ve got, and we certainly had to do that,” Jono says.

But he’s also quick to admit that his wife did most of the work!

“But I had the easy job, Alannah was the one that did all the work! You couldn’t find a stronger woman.”

To celebrate the speedy delivery, the Dowers staged an adorable newborn photo shoot thanks to the talented Jorja at Sparrow Photography.

baby born car mum central

Sleeping soundly in an ambulance jacket, baby Reggy is completely unaware of just how special his arrival is.

“What a champion effort by all involved. I feel so lucky to capture Reginald and his family today,” Jorja writes on her Facebook page.

Reginald is the couple’s second son and the family are now settling in as a family of four.

“Oblivious to the stir he has caused, Reggy has settled into home life comfortably,” Alannah tells us. “[Big brother] Olly adores his little brother and we are even getting some sleep!”

Jono Dower and family

A massive congrats to the Dowers. And what a fun story they have to share! Want more happy birth stories? Check out this mum who gave birth in the shower – and dad slept through the whole thing!

All images used with permission from Sparrow Photography and the Dower family. 
Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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