A family has been reunited with the paramedic who safely delivered their baby after their plans for a stress-free home birth went awry.
Baby Lucy was born at about 6.50am on Thursday January 14, before the midwives who were due to deliver her arrived at parents Ben Dolley and Karen Nicholls’ home in Horsham.
The couple have this week thanked paramedic practitioner Graeme Lee, who arrived at their home five minutes after the couple made a 999 call.
Ben said: “Fortunately he turned up in time.
“He was just really calm, which is what we wanted. I was quite happy to hand over all the responsibility!”
Ben and Karen, both 39, opted for a home birth months ago.
But when Karen’s contractions began at 2am and Ben called the hospital, he was told the home birth team would not be able to attend until after 7am.
By 5am, Karen’s contractions had become stronger. The couple, who have a five-year-old son, Matthew, were later advised to make an emergency call if she felt the need to push.
Ben faced the prospect of delivering the couple’s second child alone, but Graeme, who was on call for South East Coast Ambulance Service, was on hand to save the day.
Lucy was born within minutes of Graeme’s timely arrival, and the midwives, who Ben said were ‘lovely’, turned up to help Karen shortly afterwards.
He said: “We had chats with the midwives, and someone from the home birth team came around two or three times, and the day before.
“The NHS is trying to encourage home births because it takes a lot less resources.
“We are not taking up the beds, and the time and effort there. It is less stress for the mum as well.”
Matthew was born in a hospital, but Ben explained that the distance between Horsham and the region’s closest hospitals impacted on the family’s decision to have a home birth.
He added: “It would be good to have a birthing unit in Horsham. East Surrey and Worthing are quite a long way for quite a big population here.”
Fiona Allsop, chief nurse at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “The homebirth service provided by SASH is a 24 hour, seven day a week service.
“If on talking to the patient we feel that the delivery is imminent then we would of course advise them to call an ambulance.”
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