Dad Recalls Moment Wife Gave Birth In Footwell Of Car On Motorway
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Lee Reynolds, 34, and Natalie Whitton, 31, from Darwen, Lancashire, were on their way to hospital in the early hours of Wednesday (27 July) when their little one made an appearance.
Lee explained how he thought he had 'plenty of time' to get there, but was left in total shock when baby Harrison 'shot out' in the footwell of his Ford Fiesta, weighing 7lb 11oz.
Following Harrison's sudden arrival, Lee pulled onto the hard shoulder to wait for the ambulance, but as the time went by with no signs of them arriving, Lee decided to dash to the nearest hospital instead.
"We were in the fast lane going 70mph, and I just looked on the floor and went 'There’s a baby in the footwell!' to my partner," says Lee.
“She quickly picked up the baby, and then the midwife on the phone was telling us what to do.
“We needed to make sure the baby was breathing, and once she was sure the baby was breathing, she said to carry on.”
Natalie adds: “Lee kept asking me if I wanted to pull over. I could feel a little bit of an urge to push, but I said: ‘keep going!’
“Then all of a sudden, the baby came out, and it went into the footwell of the car on the floor.
“I remember feeling relieved that this pressure had gone. I had a water birth before, and that helped a lot, but I had nothing this time.”
Natalie had started experiencing contractions at around 3.30am, but the pair decided not to rush to hospital after having been previously turned away during the birth of their daughter, now four, for arriving too early.
“Natalie rang Burnley Hospital at about 3.30 in the morning to speak to the midwife, but when she stood up, her water had gone," says Lee.
“She had these pains but said ‘I’ll hold off for a bit’, just thinking there’s no point going all the way to Burnley just to get turned away again.”
Lee said they’d spent the next few hours organising childcare for their daughter, before setting off in their car for the 30-minute journey around 5.30am.
But as they sped down the motorway, Natalie had a feeling they wouldn't make it in time.
“When we were on the motorway, Natalie said 'It’s coming, I’m not going to make it', and that's when I thought, “Oh, s**t! We ain’t going to make it'," Lee continued.
"I ended up dialling Blackburn Birth Centre, which is closer to Burnley than us.
“But when we called the midwife and said, ‘Can we come to you’, she said, ‘No, we’re full’, so we just carried on."
Lee later got a call back from the midwife to check on their progress when all of a sudden, his partner gave birth to their baby boy.
“I was talking to the midwife on the phone, and then the baby shot out, literally shot out, into the footwell," he says.
“I just turned round and said: 'There’s a baby in the footwell! There’s a baby in the footwell!' I was in a proper panic.
“So the midwife said to me, ‘Pull over on the hard shoulder and ring 999.’ So that’s when I pulled over.”
Lee helped Natalie perform some basic health checks on their baby with help from 999 operators, but after waiting some time for an ambulance, Lee decided to take matters into his own hands and drive onto Burnley Hospital with Natalie and their newborn.
“I could actually see the sign on junction 12 of the M65 for Burnley hospital – and that’s the junction I needed. I was ten minutes away," he says.
“So I ended speaking to the midwife, saying 'Am I better just going? What do you advise?' And she said, 'If you think you’ll be alright, and you’ll be quicker, just go for it.'
“We went straight into the hospital, into the emergency out-of-hours unit, and two midwives and a healthcare assistant came running out to Natalie to help her.”
Lee said Natalie spent roughly six hours with doctors before the pair finally returned home with their healthy new baby boy the same day.
What a birth story! Huge congratulations to Natalie and Lee.