Seaton man delivers baby at home

Cool-headed Dominic delivers baby Mia with help from a 999 operator

A SEATON man was forced to deliver his own baby just hours after being assured by midwives its arrival was not imminent.

Aided by a woman 999 operator, cool-headed Dominic Russell went into action as partner Janine Rowley started giving birth to her first child at their Bunts Lane home.

And just minutes later, despite the complication of a twisted cord, the proud dad safely delivered baby Mia - weighing in at a healthy 6lbs 3ozs.

This week Mr Russell, 30, an IT technician at Colyton Grammar School, told how he had been determined to keep calm as the drama unfolded in the couple’s bedroom.

With the baby’s head suddenly emerging and no time to get to hospital he called for an ambulance and then began the delivery.

He said: “The 999 operator stayed on the line while the baby was coming – she was really good, giving advice and making sure I got all the things we needed, like towels.

Most Read

“I tried to keep calm and deal with what I was faced with, while the ambulance was on its way from Sidmouth. I thought the only way is to keep calm because if I stressed out and could not deal with it, things would be worse for Janine. If I had got hysterical it would have had a knock-on effect. I was concerned for Mia and Janine because it was just us here alone – it is the fear of the unknown.

“Then I saw the cord was wrapped around Mia’s neck so I hooked it over her head and then a few pushes more and she was fully out.

“Janine was amazing – the only pain relief she had was two paracetemols and a codeine tablet.

“A couple of minutes after she was born the ambulance crew arrived and wrapped Mia in towels, then clamped the cord and let me cut it. They were really good - it was nice to see them!”

Janine, who works at Pecorama in Beer, said: “It was scary – but it happened so quick it did not hit me until that night. Dominic did so well.”

Despite the happy ending the couple say they should never have been faced with having to deliver Mia at home alone.

Mr Russell said that when Janine’s contraction began the previous day they had gone to the Honiton birthing centre where they planned to have the baby.

He said: “Because they were short staffed they told us the unit would be closed that night so there was no point in us waiting there. They said we would need to go to Tiverton or Exeter.

“When we got home again the contractions continued and at 7pm we decided to go to Exeter.

“When we got there they seemed fairly keen for us not to stay. The midwife suggested we would be better at home because, being the first pregnancy, it could take quite a long time and she gave the impression we would be in the way.

“They did say Janine could stay but without me, which is not what we wanted, so we chose to come back even though it was an hour’s drive and a misty night.”

Mr Russell added that their own midwife had now lodged an incident report.

Tracey Reeves, Associate Director of Midwifery and Patient Services at the Royal Devon and Exeter, said: “As with all births, it can be very difficult to predict exactly when the birth will occur. Following an assessment, midwives discuss with women who are not in established labour the options of going home or staying on the antenatal ward, which is standard procedure. The evidence is that women do much better in their own surroundings when in the early stages of labour.

“Mrs Rowley chose to go home to wait for her contractions to get stronger and was advised to ring back if there were any changes or she had any concerns. The hospital received a phone call seven hours after her discharge and advised her to call an ambulance as it was obvious at that stage that the birth was imminent. I am very sorry if Ms Rowley felt that the midwives did not listen to her or she felt she had to go home. We are really pleased that mother and baby are doing well.”