Breathing deeply, I rubbed my aching baby bump and moaned.
"You need to call the hospital," my partner, Beau, urged.
I rolled my eyes and waved him away.
"It's too soon," I argued. "They'll only send me home."
Forty weeks and five days into my pregnancy, I'd gone into labour.
It was 5am and I'd been experiencing contractions for three hours, but they were still spaced out, sometimes only coming every 10 minutes.
When I gave birth to our son, Dylan, four, I was in labour for 38 hours, so I figured this bub had a long way to go.
Thirty minutes later, Beau convinced me to go to hospital.
It was a 45-minute drive so we woke Dylan and piled into the car. Beau also called my parents, Nicole and Gary, so they could meet us at the ward and take Dylan.
But just five minutes into the trip, I clutched my stomach in agony.
Suddenly, my contractions were coming hot and heavy, with barely 30 seconds between them.
"I'm not going to make it there," I grunted.
Beau looked at me in panic. "We have to," he argued.
He called triple 0 and when the operator told him to pull over, he did.
We stayed in the car while Beau laid my dressing gown on the gravel road then helped me to sit.
In agony, I couldn't stop to worry about whether giving birth on the side of the road was dangerous.
The urge to push was overwhelming and all I could think about was getting my bub out.
"Are youse coming?" Beau shouted into the phone to the operator.
"She's having the baby."
He was terrified he'd have to deliver our bub by himself.
Finally, when the fire brigade pulled up and a woman jumped out, Beau looked about ready to pass out with relief.
She introduced herself as Amanda and reassured us that, even though she was a firefighter, she'd received training from NSW Ambulance.
"I can see the head!" she exclaimed to us.
Using my last dregs of energy, I kept pushing and finally Amanda caught our beautiful baby girl, Arley.
But in the still air of dawn, I realised how quiet she was. She hadn't made a peep.
"Is she okay?" I stammered, trying desperately to see.
Amanda tapped Arley's back a few times.
I sighed with relief as she cried out.
"She's perfect," Amanda assured me.
Eyes wide with shock, Dylan met his baby sister.
As I was bundled into the ambulance, my mum called.
She was waiting for us at the hospital!
"The baby's here," Beau exclaimed happily to her. "Cindy had her on the side of the road."
After such a stressful birth, the rest of the day was smooth sailing.
I got stitched up in the hospital.
Docs were happy with how both Arley and I looked and, a day later, we were sent home.
We'd been in such a state of shock after having Arley that we didn't properly get to thank Amanda and the paramedics who'd helped us.
But, a week later, we were reunited.
"I can't thank you enough," I choked to Amanda as we embraced.
"I was on a high all day after that! It was beautiful to be part of," she said.
Now, four months have passed and Arley has gone from strength to strength.
She started life in the fast lane but now she's on easy street.