South West News Service
Most dads get a pat on the back if they just hold their partner's hand while she's in the middle of giving birth to their child. But Tom Dudman, 26, got more involved than most after his wife, Lisa, 23, went into labor — in the middle of a traffic jam.
After Lisa began to experience contractions, he did what any normal person would do and rushed her to hospital. The English family, who already have two children — Millie-Jayne, 5, and 2-year-old Harley-Pace — went to Penrice Hospital after Lisa's waters broke at 11 p.m.; she then started having contractions at 4 a.m.
Hospital staff confirmed that everything was all happening, but they turned the family away and sent them back home until Lisa's labor had progressed further. But by 4 p.m. Tom had decided enough was enough, and drove them all to hospital.
Unfortunately for them, it was the exact moment that seemingly the entirety of Cornwall decided to take to the highway — and they got stuck in the holiday traffic. After nearly two hours stuck in gridlock, Lisa had to tell Tom to pull over. The baby was coming.
Tom explained: "The traffic was getting bad along the A30 as we were driving, and then Lisa said, 'This is it, the baby is coming.' I said, 'Try to hold on,' because we were nearly there. But as we were going through Shortlanesend trying to cut through the traffic, she told me to pull over."
Tom rang the emergency services, who gave him instructions on how to deliver his daughter over the phone — even down to tying a shoelace around the umbilical cord.
He said: "I immediately called 999, and they talked me through it — what I needed to do — and I delivered her right there in the car."
Despite the paramedics turning up only 10 minutes after Tom's call, the baby came before they could arrive: "Ella Rose was delivered in the front seat; we didn't have time to do anything."
"I had to get Lisa's trousers off and try to get her in a better position," he said. "Then, three contractions later, she was here. It was so quick. They thought she would still be pushing; they were shocked when they arrived. I was sat there with a shoelace, still on the phone to 999 — they told me I needed to tie it around the umbilical cord."
Tom said that it was unlike any other feeling: "It was a big shock. I was scared, but just over the moon really. We have two other children. Being in the delivery room and watching your child being born is amazing, but delivering your own baby is just a whole other feeling."
Tom added: "I think if the traffic on the A30 wasn't as bad, we would have made it. I tried to turn off to take the short cut, but we had been stuck in traffic so long, it was too late."
"The baby was born at 5:48 p.m., Lisa and Ella-Rose were then taken into the hospital, and we were out again by 10 p.m.," he continued. "Lisa is fine. She did really well; she's amazing. It was all quite a shock, but it makes a good story." It sure does!
This post was written by Emma Dodds. For more, check out our sister site Closer.