A mum was forced to give birth on her driveway after being turned away from hospital by NHS maternity staff who told her to ‘calm down and go home’ despite her being in agony.
Hannah Mitchell, 38, said she was in so much pain she ‘thought she was going to die’ when she arrived at Walsall Manor Hospital experiencing regular contractions.
But she was left shocked when ‘condescending’ midwifery staff on a quiet ward sent her and partner Phil Bryan on their way after telling her she wasn’t ready to give birth.
Hannah and Phil had to haul their bags back to their car and make the four mile journey back to their home in Aldridge, Walsall, West Midlands, on December 30.
But as soon as they pulled onto their driveway, Hannah’s waters broke in the passenger seat and Phil, 38, was forced to turn midwife to deliver their baby daughter.
Phil dialled 999 and was talked through the delivery by call-handlers before he safely delivered little Ruby-Lu, who weighed 6lbs 8oz, by the side of their Vauxhall Mocha. Paramedics arrived on the scene eight minutes later at 2.22am and mother and baby were taken back to Walsall Manor to be checked over.
Hannah has now questioned why the pair were turned away in the first place despite her showing the early signs of labour, intense pain and the urge to push.
Hannah, a specialist dental nurse at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “The whole experience was very traumatic. Me and Phil are doing well but I think we are both still in shock about what happened.
“I don’t think has properly sunk in yet. When I gave birth, the umbilical cord ripped so I could have haemorrhaged. I keep thinking about how the situation could have gone, but luckily me and Ruby-Lu are both healthy and safe.”
Hannah had phoned the hospital’s triage department three times after she began to experience intense contractions on the morning of December 29. However, she was told to stay at home because her contractions were not consistent enough
At 12:45am after experiencing a bleed, Hannah couldn’t wait any longer and began to make her way to the hospital. When they arrived at the maternity ward Hannah was examined by a midwife and then sent home after being told to ‘calm down’ as she was only 1cm dilated.
The mum-of-two added: “My pain was so intense. The lady we spoke to on the phone had been so condescending and by the third call I couldn’t wait anymore.
“I needed to go to hospital. When we got there, I was examined and left for a while, and then told to go home as I wasn’t dilated enough.
“The hospital was so quiet and there were spare beds so, I don’t understand why I couldn’t have waited on the ward. Instead, me and Phil had to lug our bags and the baby stuff back to the car.
“On the way back to the car, I had to stop every two minutes because the contractions were getting so painful and so close. The pain was so bad I thought I was going to die at one point, and I kept feeling the urge to push.”
Hannah’s situation rapidly changed on their journey home before Phil had to step in to help when her waters broke the moment they got home. Phil dialled 999 and followed instructions from a operators to bring Ruby-Lu into the world just minutes later.
Phil, a project manager for a roofing company, said: “We were both terrified. Her waters broke and within minutes Ruby was born. She barely had time to remove her leggings and I could already feel Ruby-Lu’s head coming.
“When I was delivering her, she was like a slippery bar of soap, and I was scared I was going to drop her. I had Ruby-Lu in one hand and was holding the cord in another.
“At one point she went blue but luckily the paramedics came swiftly to sort her out. Four paramedics and two ambulances arrived with eight minutes.
“They were all amazing and looked after Ruby-Lu and her mum. The aftercare at the hospital was great too because I think they felt bad at how we were treated before.
“When I went to clean our car the next morning it did look like something out of a CSI film and I am now being referred to around the village as ‘call the Phil Wife’.”
Mum and baby were discharged from hospital later that day and are back home with the couple’s other two children from previous relationships, Millie-Anne,14 and Mya, 10.
Hannah added: “Ruby-Lu is an absolute dream. She eats, sleeps and chills out and she really is a miracle. She really is perfect. I have a really big family and she is bringing so much happiness to everyone she meets. Me and Phil did it together and we will always have that special memory.”
Jo Wright, Deputy Director of Midwifery at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “ We are sorry to hear that this lady’s birth experience wasn’t the one she’d hoped for and have contacted her to offer our support while we investigate exactly what happened.
“Once we have a full understanding we will meet with her to share our findings and look at any areas that can be enhanced for our service users.“