A woman has shared how she gave birth in the back of a Vauxhall Zafira with her mum acting as a makeshift midwife to deliver her grandchild.
Lorien Williams, 24, from Morriston, Swansea, went into labour after her waters broke whilst she was cleaning up toys.
Her mother, Hayley Williams, 54, sister, Deanna Bass, 33, and partner Luke Sermandel, 28, a security guard, bundled her into the back of their seven-seater car and raced to Singleton Hospital, in Swansea, Wales.
But just 15 minutes into the journey, Lorien felt the urge to push.
Deanna pulled over on a road and mum Hayley leapt out the car and into the back to help her daughter deliver her newborn.
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Still 20 minutes away from the hospital, the family had the emergency services on the phone talking them through the situation.
After Harper-Rae, now 11 months, made her arrival at 3.03am on August 9, 2022, the mother and daughter duo were taken to hospital where doctors checked them over before giving them the all-clear to go home.
“I still can’t get over that it actually happened, it really is crazy,” Lorien, a former carer but now a stay-at-home-mum, says of her daughter’s dramatic birth.
“There was no way anybody could have predicted that this was going to happen.
“If we had got to the hospital, my sister wouldn’t have been able to be in the room to see me give birth.
“In a way the moment was bittersweet for us all.”
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Lorien was heavily pregnant with Harper-Rae in August last year when she invited her sister and her children over for dinner.
As she waited for her family to arrive, she headed to the garden with her daughter, Ruby, three to do some tidying up.
“I was cleaning the back garden and needed a rest, so I sat down on my daughter’s trampoline, and I felt a pop and noticed my waters had broken.”
Having called her sister, who rushed over with her children, Lorien decided to monitor her progress before heading to hospital.
“I decided to wait as I wasn’t in any real pain, but during those hours my waters kept trickling constantly,” she explains.
She opted to go to hospital to have a membrane sweep – where the midwife or doctor sweeps their finger around your cervix during an internal examination, with the hope of bringing on labour – and was sent home at 12.30am.
But soon after arriving home Lorien says she remembers being in “agony”.
She was rushed back to the hospital in her sister’s car, alongside her mum, Hayley, and partner, Luke, at 2.45am.
But just 15 minutes after leaving, her mum had the baby in her arms, after turning midwife to help deliver her granddaughter.
Things didn’t quite run entirely smoothly however, as immediately after her birth Hayley and Deanna noticed that the umbilical cord was wrapped around Harper-Rae’s neck.
“I was really scared,” Lorien says of the moment. “They were trying to pull the cord, to unravel it from her neck.”
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Thankfully Hayley and Deanna managed to free the cord from around Harper-Rae’s neck and mum and daughter were safely taken to hospital.
“It’s incredible how it happened, I got home from hospital at around 12:30am and then I had her at 3.03am,” she says.
“Harper is now speaking – saying mum and dad.
“She is doing amazing.
“If I could, I would do it all again tomorrow.”
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What is a BBA birth?
Lorien had what is known as a Born Before Arrival (BBA) birth, which happens away from a hospital or birth centre, prior to the arrival of a midwife.
The rate of babies born before arrival (BBA) at hospital in the United Kingdom was reported as 0.5%.
“Birth Before Arrival is also called a ‘precipitate birth’ and means the labour and birth happens very quickly (within three hours of contractions starting),” explains Meg Wilson, consultant gynaecologist at www.london-gynaecology.com.
“It can be traumatic for mothers as they are not prepared and do not have the support of a midwife to look after the mother and baby.”
According to Lesley Gilchrist, registered midwife and co-founder of My Expert Midwife BBAs are actually much more common than we think.
“If a woman has had a long labour previously, she often thinks that she has more time to call the midwife when contractions start,” she explains.
“However, second and subsequent babies can come much more quickly due to the body having ‘learnt’ how to labour from the previous birth.”
If you think your baby might be about to be born, Gilchrist suggests calling your local maternity centre or 999 for assistance.
“Signs that your baby’s birth may be imminent include: a sudden increase in strength and frequency of contractions, an uncontrollable urge to push, bear down or open your bowels (this is pressure from the baby’s head descending quickly), a stinging feeling as your baby’s head begins to crown,” Gilchrist says.
Additional reporting SWNS.