An off-duty paramedic and his wife helped deliver their neighbour’s baby after a mix-up with contractions left the expectant mother with no time to get to the hospital.
Lee Wadley and wife Rachel, of Malpas, Newport had just returned home from a local restaurant where they were celebrating their son’s 16th birthday when they received a frantic call from their neighbour Trevor asking them to come quickly and help his daughter.
Around the corner, mum-to-be Laura Clarke was only minutes away from the arrival of her second child when Lee and Rachel arrived to assist.
Lee, a paramedic with the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team, based in Bridgend, said:
“We arrived home about 10.30pm and were getting ready for bed when the phone rang and Trevor, our neighbour and Laura’s dad, told us Laura was about to give birth and asked could we go to their house to help.
“Laura only lives round the corner so my eldest son drove us round there.
“It was a bit frantic and I think they wanted someone to take charge of the situation.
“Rachel went in first and I got the phone off Trevor and spoke to control and assessed the situation, whilst checking on availability of an ambulance in case it was needed.
“My wife works as a maternity triage nurse at the Grange University Hospital, but has never delivered a baby before.
“At this point the baby was truly on his way and within minutes, had arrived.
“I wasn’t too worried as I’d delivered a few babies over the years.
“Rachel didn’t say it at the time but she was quite nervous.
“She did a great job and I didn’t need to intervene really and I’m very proud of her.
“The midwife was dispatched and everything was able to be done at the home which was nice.”
A healthy baby Harrison Clarke was born at 10.51pm weighing in at a brilliant 7lbs 8oz.
Speaking of the speedy arrival alongside husband Rhys, Laura said:
“We were on the phone to the hospital for the second time as my contractions increased and I was in a lot of pain.
“I said to Rhys, ‘I have to go, I need to go to the hospital.’
“We only live five minutes away from the hospital and as we went to get in the car my waters broke and I said ‘I’m not going anywhere now’.”
Rhys, 33, a design engineer, said: “From then on in it was panic stations.
“I was grabbing towels, blankets off the couch, whatever I could find.
“Trevor and I had been timing the contractions but accidentally including the gap between them so it looked like Laura was further away than we thought.”
Laura, 31, who works as an auditor, explains how Lee and Rachel came to be there: “My mum and dad were here too but none of us knew what we were doing to deliver a baby.
“Lee and Rachel are my parents’ next door neighbours and friends, they only live around the corner.
“I’ve known them most my life really and they’re more than friends as they’ve seen me grow up and we’ve had holidays and all sorts.
“My dad rang Lee and bless them, within four minutes they were at the house and took charge of the situation really and calmed us all down a bit.”
Rhys continued: “It only took about 10-15 minutes from then and the baby was born – a boy called Harrison.
“We can’t thank Lee and Rachel enough for what they did.”
Laura said: “They’re going to have a special bond with Harrison, not just because they’re friends but because they delivered him and that’s going to be very special going forward.”
Having not had to leave the family home since the birth, the couple have been enjoying precious family time at home with mother and baby both doing well.
Laura said: “Harrison is doing great and we’re all besotted with him, especially his sister Layla.
“He’s piling his weight on too which is fantastic.”
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