Dream delivery for village neighbour

A TEACHER fulfilled her dream of delivering a baby when she came to the rescue of her neighbour who suddenly went into labour – despite assurances from the hospital that she wasn’t about to give birth.

Benita Whelan swapped her day job at York Road Nursery School in Hitchin for midwifery when she was told neighbour Emily Mowlem was about to give birth in her Whitwell home last Saturday.

Emily had visited Lister Hospital the day before while heavily pregnant with her first child but was told she was not in labour and that she may be getting mild contractions which could last for several days.

The 18-year-old returned to the hospital later that evening and saw a doctor who asked her to return if she began to have regular contractions, as well as continue with her antibiotics and pain relief for a water infection.

Emily’s grandmother, Coral Wallace, who lives next door to both Emily and her mum Wendy and Benita in St George’s Way, said: “Wendy came round saying ‘Emily wants to push and I think I can see the baby’s head’.

“As I have a chronic airways disease I sent for my neighbour Benita and she came round and successfully delivered a baby boy. It had always been a dream of hers!”

Mother of three Benita, 39, who has been neighbours with the family for the last three years, said: “I’ve always wanted to do midwifery. I love births and watch them all the time on the TV!

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“I could see the baby was crowning so I just told her to keep pushing. I can remember holding his head and saying ‘come on, that’s the worst bit over’.

“It was just amazing. She did everything I told her to do and she kept on pushing and out came this beautiful baby boy.

“She was an absolute star. It will be hard to keep me away now!”

New mother Emily and her boyfriend Callum Wilde have named their baby Riley, who weighed 6lb 14oz at the birth, and is doing well.

Emily said: “At the time I was in shock as I was told it would be days away. I thought my mum was joking and couldn’t believe it was happening!

Although she has had a few sleepless nights since, she added: “I love being a mother, it’s one of the best things.”

Wendy, who was relaying instructions given by a midwife over the phone, said: “Emily put all of us to shame – she was amazing. She had no gas or air or anything. She was so calm but I was a bag of nerves.

“They should have picked up on it but at the end of the day it was the best thing that could have happened to us.”

Sue Greenslade, East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust’s director of nursing, said: “Labour can sometimes onset extremely quickly and with very little notice, particularly with younger mothers.

“Indeed Emily’s experience underlines the fact that pregnancy is not a medical condition and sometimes nature intervenes! We wish both mother and baby all the very best for the future.”

The drama was followed four days later by another emergency when Emily had got locked in the toilet during the early hours of the morning.

“The lock was jammed and no one could open it,” said Wendy.

“We had to call the fire brigade round to knock down the door!”