By Melissa Grant
When Emma Cooksey and Chloe Gaspardis went into labour last year they had no idea they were about to make history.
They also didn’t know they would be giving birth in different locations than they had originally planned.
Due on 13 February, Emma thought she would deliver her child at the new St John of God Hospital.
But her daughter Sadie had other ideas and arrived four weeks early on 17 January, becoming the last baby born at the old St John of God Hospital on Gibb Street.
Chloe, on the other hand, thought she would be birthing in the old facility. But her son Andy arrived four days late on January 18 and was the first to be born at the new St John of God Hospital on Kangan Drive.
Looking back, Emma said her birth ended up being entirely different to what she had anticipated.
She was planning to have a drug-free birth in the bath at the new hospital.
With her due date nearly a month after the new hospital’s opening date, Emma didn’t do a tour of the old facility.
“I was excited to go to the new hospital,” she recalled.
“My sister-in-law had her three kids at the old hospital so I knew where everything there was anyway.”
On the night of 16 January, Emma was in labour at the Gibb St facility.
“I was panicking because I was only 36 weeks,” she said.
“I was in a panic thinking I’d have her early and maybe have complications. I had been planning on having a natural birth with no drugs.”
Emma was in labour for 24 hours before it became clear she needed a c-section.
“She just got stuck. I wasn’t dilated enough and she was keen to get out. The doctor said ‘we have to get her out now’,” she said.
“They had actually closed down the surgery and had gone home, so they had to come back and open up the surgery room just for us.”
Sadie Margaret Cooksey arrived at 8.57pm on 17 January, weighing 2.89kg.
At the time, Emma and husband Shane had no idea their baby was the last to be born at the old St John of God Hospital.
The proud parents, who live in Drouin, discovered they had made history the following day.
They were given a beautiful congratulations card and a money box which acknowledged Sadie was the last baby born at the Gibb St hospital.
It was a beautiful touch given Shane was born at the same facility in 1989.
Emma still got to experience the new hospital – she was transferred there the morning after Sadie’s birth.
“The new hospital is amazing. It is beautiful. The rooms and bathrooms are massive,” she said.
“They were all absolutely amazing (the nurses).
“And the meals are really nice as well. I didn’t want to come home!”
Emma is expecting again in August and is hoping she will get to labour in the bath this time around.
For Chloe, giving birth at the new St John of God Hospital seemed unlikely given the due date of her second child was 13 January.
However, she didn’t go into labour until 18 January – hours after the new facility opened its doors.
“I thought for sure we would be in the old hospital,” Chloe said.
“We know what the old hospital is like – we had our first baby (Toby) in the old hospital.
“But he (Andy) decided to wait those extra few days and be born at the new hospital.”
The nurses joked to Chloe and husband Chris that their baby should be born at 6.18pm as that was 18.18 (in 24-hour time) and the date was 18 January, 2018.
But that wasn’t to be.
“At about 9pm we ended up getting my waters broken and then he was out in the hour,” Chloe said.
Andy Ernest Gaspardis was born at 10.19pm on 18 January, weighing 4.1kg.
The hospital staff had been eagerly awaiting Andy’s arrival.
“Apparently pretty much every staff member walked past the door when I was in labour,” Chloe said.
“Everyone had a little wander past thinking ‘we are getting our first baby!’
“Some of the executives stayed until 8pm hoping they could meet him.”
Andy was a little celebrity at the hospital throughout his stay.
“We had people coming and taking photos. And the hospital manager came and gave us a congratulations and wanted to personally meet him,” Chloe said.
They were given a little money box that noted Andy was the first baby born at St John of God Hospital Kangan Drive.
The Narre Warren family was also VIP guests at St John of God Hospital’s first birthday event in January.
“They let us cut the cake instead of them which was very special,” Chloe said.