Bus Stops, Babies and Blue Lights

I was returning to base for my lunch in the SRV when the radio sprang to life:

“BG1 from Control, we have a birth imminent in your locality, we are sending the job through now”

I took a deep breath. Historically, paramedics do not like delivering babies. The training we used to get was basic. More recently this has improved, and we are better prepared. However, this is still something I feel I could do with more exposure to.

The MDT flashed up with the details. What struck me was the location of the patient. She was in a bus stop.

As I drove up the road I could see a people carrier parked in a bus stop with a small group of people gathered round. I parked behind, partially blocking the busy road with my blue lights on to warn the traffic.

I went to the boot to grab my bags. I grabbed our maternity pack and put on an extra pair of gloves. These jobs are usually messy.

As I approached the car I could see the side door was slid open, and a lady in a healthcare tunic was leaning in. I peered in. In the back was a lady laying across some seats, between her legs was what could only be described as a massacre.

“Thank god your here” the lady in the tunic said. She quickly introduced herself as a healthcare support worker. For this we will call her Angeline.

Angeline told me she had been waiting for the bus when this car had pulled up. A man had got out and run around the side screaming for help. She had run forward to help, just as the door slid open.

There in the back of that car. She had delivered a baby girl, to a stranger she had never met. She struck me as calm. She didn’t know the patient, she had never delivered a baby. But to this occasions – she rose.

I quickly thanked her, and asked her to hang around. I then asked where dad was. She pointed to the bus stop. There, on one of the seats. Very pale. Sat a man in his mid thirties. He looked scared. I congratulated him and said I was going to check his partner over.

All of the above took seconds. I then leant into the car, and there between the patients legs laid a healthy looking baby girl. I quickly dried her off with a towel we carry and placed a blue hat on her head (we only carry blue or pink, and this little girl had been unlucky with my selection that day).

The baby was healthy, she was crying – pink and warm. Her breathing was good and her heat rate also normal. Brilliant.

I then turned my attention to mum. She told me this was her second baby and she had left it until later to go to the hospital as the first one took ages. They were nearly on the motorway when she felt the urge to push so they pulled over.

I explained that I was on a car, that an ambulance was coming and I needed to do some assessments. I apologised for how close I was to her – there wasn’t much room in the back of the car.

I quickly assessed her. What looked like a lot of blood loss on the seats of her car, was probably just the normal amount with birth.

She wasn’t shocked, she was no longer bleeding and she felt as though the worst was over. She hadn’t yet delivered the placenta – but that wasn’t concerning.

With that, an ambulance arrived. I quickly handed over and joined them in the back. The patient started pushing to deliver the placenta so we gave her some gas and air. Dad cut the cord. It all went really well.

I asked the couple if they had any names – they didn’t. They were waiting to see what the baby looked like.

We arrived at hospital and I handed over to the midwife. As I was about to leave the patient asked me who the lady was that delivered her baby in the bus stop.

I replied her name was Angeline.

A few weeks later I followed up on the patient. The midwife explained that the baby’s birth certificate would read:

“Angeline-Rose”

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