A Scots mum had a dramatic birth experience when she had to deliver her baby on the side of the A9 after the ambulance that was taking her to the hospital broke down. The mum, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was terrified and in pain as she gave birth to her son in the freezing cold.
A sudden labour
The mum, who lives in Inverness, said she went into labour around 5am on February 12, 2024. She called her husband, who was working in Aberdeen, and told him to come home as soon as possible. She also called the Scottish Ambulance Service and requested an ambulance to take her to Raigmore Hospital.
She said: “I was having contractions every five minutes and they were getting stronger and stronger. I knew I didn’t have much time. The ambulance arrived around 6am and the paramedics were very nice and reassuring. They helped me into the ambulance and we set off for the hospital.”
A breakdown on the A9
However, things took a turn for the worse when the ambulance broke down on the A9 near Aviemore, about 30 miles away from the hospital. The mum said: “The ambulance just stopped and the paramedics told me there was a problem with the engine. They tried to restart it but it wouldn’t work. They called for another ambulance but they said it would take at least 20 minutes to get there.”
The mum said she was in agony and felt the urge to push. She said: “I was screaming and crying. I was so scared. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me or my baby. The paramedics tried to calm me down and told me to breathe. They said they would help me deliver the baby in the ambulance.”
A roadside delivery
The mum said she had no choice but to give birth to her baby on the side of the road, with cars and lorries passing by. She said: “It was the most horrible experience of my life. It was freezing cold and dark. I could hear the traffic and the wind. I felt so exposed and vulnerable. The paramedics did their best to cover me with blankets and towels, but it was not enough. I was shivering and shaking.”
She said the delivery was quick and painful, and she gave birth to a healthy baby boy around 6:30am. She said: “The paramedics checked the baby and said he was fine. They wrapped him in a blanket and put him on my chest. He was so tiny and beautiful. I was so relieved and happy to see him. He was the only thing that mattered to me.”
She said the second ambulance arrived shortly after and took her and her baby to the hospital. She said: “The paramedics from the second ambulance were very kind and caring. They congratulated me and said I was very brave. They took us to the hospital and made sure we were okay.”
A happy ending
The mum said she and her baby were discharged from the hospital the next day and reunited with her husband and their two other children. She said: “My husband was so worried and upset when he heard what happened. He was so happy and proud when he saw our baby. He said he was the most precious gift ever. He gave him the name Callum, which means ‘dove’ in Gaelic. He said it was a symbol of peace and hope.”
She said she was grateful to the paramedics who helped her deliver her baby and saved their lives. She said: “They were amazing. They were so professional and compassionate. They did everything they could to make me comfortable and safe. They were my heroes. I can’t thank them enough.”
She said she was also thankful to the Scottish Ambulance Service for their apology and compensation. She said: “They said they were very sorry for what happened and that it was a rare and unfortunate incident. They said they would investigate the cause of the breakdown and take measures to prevent it from happening again. They also offered me a compensation of £10,000 for the distress and trauma I suffered. I accepted it because I thought it was fair and reasonable.”
She said she was now recovering from the ordeal and enjoying her time with her family. She said: “It was a nightmare, but it had a happy ending. I have a beautiful baby boy who is healthy and strong. He is a miracle. He is my sunshine.”