Freebirthing — or unassisted home birth — may be a trend among certain thrill-seekers and reality-show participants. But for Sue and Daniel Hardinges, both 29, it was just a nerve-wracking accident, as their new baby arrived so suddenly they had no chance to leave home for the hospital.
“My wife said she could feel something between her legs, so I had a look and couldn’t really see anything at the time,” Daniel, of West London, England, told Get West London about what transpired early on Jan. 26. “I sort of saw something but didn’t realize at the time it was part of the head.” After Sue’s water broke at just past four in the morning, she had contractions for a couple of hours. That’s when Daniel called Sue’s hospital, Queen Charlotte’s Hospital in Acton, which advised her to labor at home for a bit longer, even though Sue’s contractions had been just three minutes apart since they were awakened at 4:20 that morning.
“About 15 minutes later, I decided we should go to the hospital — this definitely wasn’t normal,” said Daniel (pictured above with Sue and their new daughter).
So they got dressed in an attempt to leave, but then Sue had another contraction and said, once again, that she felt something in her pants. “I pulled her trousers down, and there was a baby’s face looking at me up to her nose,” Daniel, and audio-visual technician, said. “I dialed 999 as quickly as I could, but by that point the baby’s chin was out and one more contraction and the whole baby was out.” Sue, an accountant, had given birth as she stood hunched over their bathroom sink. The baby’s umbilical cord was still attached when paramedics and a midwife arrived.
Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, which the couple didn’t reach in time. (Photo: Wikicommons)
“When they turned up I was on my knees holding the baby, wrapped up, and my wife was still bent over the sink not able to move,” he said, recalling the moment of seeing the baby’s head poking out of his wife as “sheer horror.” He added, “Everybody who came in — the paramedics and the midwife — just couldn’t believe it.”
While Sue’s entire labor lasted around two hours and 20 minutes, the heart stopping length of time between when she first felt something between her legs and gave birth — to a girl, Sophie, weighing seven pounds — was less than five minutes. And though she didn’t plan on having a home birth, she said, she felt happy that it turned out that way.
“We were able to stay at home rather than being on a ward where I wouldn’t have got any sleep,” she said. “The next day we rested in peace and quiet and our family could come and go. Everything’s fine and we’re happy and healthy.”
(Top photo: Facebook)