An Eastbourne mum gave birth in the back of a car this morning (Friday May 10) as her frantic husband raced to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.
Kirsty Peyton-Lander delivered baby Archie just days after the changes to maternity services at the DGH were introduced, which has seen the DGH become a stand alone midwifery-led maternity unit.
The 31-year-old began having contractions this morning so her spouse Leigh Lander called the Conquest Hospital - where she was planning to give birth because of having complications in her pregnancy - when they were eight minutes apart.
The pair from Sovereign Harbour, who have a six-year-old daughter Lexie Peyton-Lander, were told to make their way over to the hospital when they were five minutes apart. The gap between contractions soon became quicker and he called the hospital back. When he was able to get through shortly before they left at 7am the contractions were four minutes apart.
On the journey Leigh was able to flag down an ambulance and they were able to help deliver her baby Archie at 7.44am in the back of the car.
Mr Lander said, “In hindsight I wished I’d driven straight to Eastbourne but because of complications throughout the pregnancy we had to go to Hastings, Pembury or Brighton.
“I think the infrastructure can’t support the demand.”
Speaking of the changes to maternity services at the DGH he added, “It’s unsafe I think. They’re talking about a new generation coming through and it’s potentially putting mothers and babies at risk.”
Both mother and baby are doing well.
A spokesperson for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust added, “We would like to congratulate Mr Lander and Mrs Peyton-Lander on the birth of their son this morning.
“The average length of labour for a woman is 12 hours, however there are occasions when labour is much quicker. Over the last three years in East Sussex, an average of three mothers per month delivered their baby without support from a midwife because their labour was too quick, the majority of these happened at home but some do occur whilst travelling to the planned place of birth.
“In the vast majority of these quick labours, the baby is healthy and suffers no ill effects from its speedy arrival.
“The changes to maternity services have been made purely on the grounds of safety and we firmly believe that they will ensure we can provide a safer and higher quality service to mothers and babies across East Sussex.”