A 22-year-old mum who gave birth to her premature son in the back of an ambulance has been reunited with the crew who helped deliver him.
Steph Love was 30 weeks pregnant with her first child when she suddenly went into labour at home in Seaside, Eastbourne, in August.
Her partner Kenan called an ambulance and Nigel Langley, Paramedic and Clinical Team Leader at South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb), was first on the scene.
As he assessed her condition, a St John Ambulance crew – Alison Kaatze and Dave House, emergency transport attendants working on behalf of SECAmb – were called to take Steph to hospital.
Her waters had already broken three weeks before, but they didn’t know quite how quickly baby Zach was going to make an appearance.
“With my waters having broken I knew there was a chance I’d go into labour early, but it all happened so suddenly,” said Steph.
“The team carried me down two flights of stairs into the ambulance, at which point I was pushing involuntarily.
“Even then we didn’t think it was going to happen straight away.
“As all of this was happening a supermarket delivery arrived, so Kenan had to stay behind to sort that out! His plan was to meet me at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in time for the birth.”
But as the ambulance pulled away, Steph’s contractions became more frequent.
Alison said, “Baby Zach certainly had other plans that day.
“It was quite a traumatic position for Steph to be in and I could understand how worried she would be, so I focused on trying to keep her calm and telling her it was all going to be okay. As we changed our route to Eastbourne hospital, it was clear Zach was not going to wait and he crowned as we were driving along Lottbridge Drive.
“He then made a rather quick arrival into the world as we reversed into Bay 3 at Eastbourne DGH.”
Steph and Zach were taken into A&E, but were both later transferred to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, where Steph stayed for five days.
Zach was cared for at the Special Care Baby Unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath and was also in intensive care at the Trevor Mann baby unit in Brighton. After seven weeks he was allowed home.
Seven months later, Zach, who is happy and healthy, Steph, and her partner Kenan, were reunited with Alison and Dave, the St John Ambulance emergency transport attendants, on Monday.
Steph said, “It was a really traumatic birth – it was only 35 minutes from start to finish and I was extremely scared and honestly thought my baby may die.
“Throughout it all Alison was so calm and the sound of her voice really helped me to get through it all.
“To be able to meet them and thank them in person is amazing. I’m so grateful for everything they did for us.”
Nigel said, “I was delighted to hear how well Steph and Zach are doing after what was such a challenging incident.
“I wish the whole family a very happy future.”
To find out more about St John Ambulance visit www.sja.org.uk or call 0303 003 0101.
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