A teacher gave birth in a supermarket car park after a passing ambulance crew mistook her husband’s attempt to flag them down as a wave of gratitude for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hannah Howells, 33, and husband Andy, 37, from Hamble, Hampshire, were driving to the Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton on April 19 when the mum-to-be realised they weren’t going to arrive in time.
The couple pulled over in a Sainsbury’s Local car park, where Mr Howells attempted to wave down the emergency crew as they drove past.
“We were probably 10 minutes into our journey and I said to my husband, ‘The baby is coming right now’,” Hannah Howells explained.
“We saw an ambulance coming in the other direction. Andy was trying to wave, but they quite rightly thought we were clapping for the amazing work they’re doing.
“We parked up and called the Labour Line and then 999 and the amazing lady who took the call talked my husband through delivering our baby.
“Wilf was already halfway out on the front seat of the car and I still had my seat belt on.”
After contacting ambulance control, Mr Howells helped deliver baby Wilf, who weighed 6lbs 7oz.
In another twist of fate the same ambulance that had passed the couple earlier returned and the paramedics helped take mum and baby to hospital to be checked over.
The couple and their newborn were able to return home later that day same day to their other son, Theo, three, who was being looked after by his grandparents.
Commenting on her son’s dramatic arrival, Mrs Howells said: “It’s all been an absolute whirlwind and we feel like we’re in a bubble. It’s so surreal.”
She went on to describe the generosity of bystanders and health staff, Mrs Howells said: “People kindly offered help, the paramedics arrived, the store manager closed the car park and offered us anything we needed and I was even given a bunch of flowers meant for somebody else.
“I’ll never forget hearing ‘congratulations, your baby was born at 10.47am’ down the phone. It was magical and everyone was incredible. People really rallied and it was such a special moment for us.”
And it seems that baby Wilf was oblivious to the chaos his entrance into the world may have caused.
“Wilf is a trooper and incredibly calm. He’s chilled and super healthy.
“Theo has been an absolute star and is besotted with him. We’re all doing very well and we feel really lucky.”
Mr Howells was keen to praise those who helped the couple ensure Wilf’s safe arrival: “We want to say thank you to all those that helped us, including Kellie-Anne Blake, the 999 call handler who talked me through the delivery, the amazing paramedics, and Amber and her team at the Broadlands Birth Centre at Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton.
“We are in awe of those that are risking their own lives, and that of their families, to help people who need it. Thank you so much.”
Additional reporting PA.