A mother was forced to give birth on her driveway after being turned away from hospital by maternity staff who she said 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 midwifery staff on a quiet ward sent her and her partner Phil Bryan on their way after telling her she wasn’t ready to give birth.
Hannah and Phil had their bags to be hauled back to the car to make the four-mile trip back to Aldridge, Walsall. 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 to talk through the delivery with call-handlers, before he delivered Ruby-Lu at their Vauxhall Mocha.
At 2.22 AM, emergency responders arrived on the scene. Mother and baby were then taken back to Walsall House for medical treatment.
Hannah now questions why Hannah and her partner were rejected despite Hannah showing signs of labor, intense pain, and the desire to push.
Hannah, a specialist dental nurse at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “The whole experience was very traumatic. Phil and me are doing fine, but I believe we are still both in shock from what happened.
“I don’t think has properly sunk in yet. My umbilical cord was cut when I gave birth. I might have had hemorhage.
“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 29 December. Hannah was told to stay home as her contractions weren’t 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 get to the 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. Because the contractions were getting closer, I had to stop at least every two minutes on the way back.
“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 dialed 999 and followed the instructions of an operator to bring Ruby Lu into the world minutes later.
Phil, a project manager for a roofing company, said: “We were both terrified. She gave birth to Ruby within minutes after her waters burst. 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. Ruby-Lu was in my right hand while I held the cord in my left. She went blue at one point, but the paramedics were quick to help her.
“Four paramedics and two ambulances arrived with eight minutes.
“They were all amazing and looked after Ruby-Lu and her mum. I felt terrible about the way we were treated in the past and they provided excellent aftercare.
“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’.”
Mother 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 is a miracle. She truly is flawless.
“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.”
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