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Reunion 17 years in the making

Posted: 2pm 22 Jan 2021

The last time Melissa Redsell saw James Collen in 2003, he was a tiny newborn.

When she met him again last week, she found a strapping 17-year-old about to start his final year of high school.

Melissa was a newly graduated midwife at Redcliffe Hospital when James was born, and he was her first delivery.

Emergency nurses

James’ mother, Helen, had met Melissa when they worked together as nurses in the emergency department at the then Holy Spirit Hospital at Chermside (now St Vincent’s Private Hospital Northside).

Melissa transferred from Holy Spirit to Redcliffe Hospital to train as a midwife, graduating and gaining a permanent position.

When Helen went into labour, she had no inkling a casual conversation with Melissa before she moved to Redcliffe would come to fruition.

Fate intervenes

“I mentioned I was having a baby at Redcliffe and Melissa said wouldn’t it be funny if she was there when I came in to have the baby,” Helen recalls.

Having waited for her parents-in-law to arrive to babysit her first son, Jonathon, Helen arrived at Redcliffe Hospital about 5am.

“She rang me on the way,” Melissa says.

“I was working in ante natal and had to get permission to go to delivery.”

Helen says with husband Mark outside the delivery suite, it was comforting to have Melissa by her side.

“My husband sat outside because he was a fainter, so Mel was my support.

“Having a familiar face when you’re there – it’s something I could focus on.”

Special reunion

After James was born, their lives went separate ways and it was not until Helen saw an article by moretondaily.com.au about Melissa winning an Ausmumpreneur Award for work with the charity she founded, A Brave Life, that their paths would cross again.

The article popped up in Helen’s Facebook feed, bringing back memories of the day James was born.

“She delivered my second baby as her first delivery! Time flies,” Helen’s comment on the post says.

It took four months for moretondaily.com.au to arrange the reunion and Melissa and Helen were thrilled to see each other again, swapping stories about their children growing up and their work lives, while James watched on, bemused.

About to start Year 12 at Redcliffe State High, James teaches sailing at Humpybong Yacht Club and plays lead guitar in the Believer Band.

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