Thursday, February 3

Cyclone baby

My heart goes out to the people of Queensland. First the floods, now the cyclone... I've been trying to keep up with the situation via the Sydney Morning Herald website. I wanted to share this lovely story of new life during the cyclone from the Herald today:

Amid the chaos and devastation of Cyclone Yasi, a yet-to-be named baby girl has been born at a Cairns evacuation centre.

Akiko Pruss went into labour at the evacuation centre at Redlynch State College at 2.45am (AEST).

The baby girl was delivered healthy at 6.09am (AEST) after a three-hour labour.

Akiko and her German husband Christian, live in Cairns, and the baby will be their second child.

Cairns councillor Linda Cooper said the baby would not be called Yasi.

"Akiko doesn't like that name at all," she said.

The little girl arrived right on time.

"Today's actually her due date," Ms Cooper said.

She said there were no scales equipment at the evacuation centre to weigh the newborn.

English midwife Carol and her husband Andrew Weeks, who are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary on holidays in Cairns, delivered the baby.

Ms Pruss gave birth in the first aid room of the college and was supported by her mother, who had travelled from Japan to be with her.

"The grandmother is looking after the little toddler," she said.

Ms Cooper said Akiko wanted a home birth and did not accept the offer for upgraded medical facilities at Fretwell Park in the city's south.

"When you get to that stage of labour you don't care any longer," she said.

The couple have requested privacy from the media and won't let photographers in, although a huge press contingent is building outside the room.

Premier Anna Bligh said news of the birth would bring a much needed lift to people's spirits.

"In the midst of all of this devastation, new life in some very touching circumstances," she told the Nine Network.

"I'm sure it will bring a lot of smiles to faces in that centre today after such a difficult and distressing night."

Ms Bligh said two babies were also born at Innisfail Hospital last night - one at 10.43pm and another at 10.44pm (AEST) - right in the midst of the storm.

"Innisfail, right in the line of fire, so it would have been an anxious time for all of those staff as well," she told Channel Seven.

"I understand the mum in the evacuation centre has ruled out calling her baby Yasi, and I suspect the other two mums will do the same.

"I think these will be some of the most sought-after baby photos globally."

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