A young dad in North London is thanking a London Ambulance Service call handler at 999 for what has been described as ‘clear and calm’ instructions which allowed him to help deliver his baby safely at his home.
The man, who confessed he ‘freaked out’ made the call to 999 after his wife,Fatima Mohammed, was a week overdue with her third baby.
Ahmed, 26, said: “We had been to hospital earlier but had come back home to wait. Soon after, we realised the baby was definitely coming and I just freaked out.
“I was panicking so much when I called 999 but the call handler was just so good. She kept me calm, she gave me clear instructions and kept reassuring me. She was very kind, even though I was understandably really worried and upset.”
Ahmed estimates that Baby Aria was born just five minutes into the call and the call handler continued to give instructions throughout, including wrapping the baby in a towel and finding something to tie the umbilical cord with.
Two ambulance crews and a paramedic in a fast response car arrived at Ahmed and Fatima’s home in north London a few minutes after Aria was born, weighing a healthy 7lbs 4oz.
Ahmed said: “All the crews were brilliant. They took such good care of us, making sure we were alright and the baby was well, and they took us to hospital so the baby could be checked over.”
Because staff working in our 999 control rooms need to be ready for anything, they are given expert training from midwives on how to handle similar situations.
London Ambulance Service midwife Camella Main said: “Needing 999 services during a labour or birth can be a really frightening thing to experience, but our staff and volunteers are here to help, whenever you need us. Call handlers take a wide range of maternity-related calls and they are trained to calmly and professionally inform the parents of what to do whilst they wait for paramedics to attend.
“When a call handler helps in the delivery of a baby they receive a stork badge as a small sign of appreciation for the impact they have had on a safe arrival.”
Ahmed, a care outreach worker, came to Britain alone as a teenage refugee after being separated from his parents when they were fleeing violence in Nigeria. But he says delivering his own child on 27 March this year has been one of the most profound experiences of his life.
He said: “It has been such a great experience for all of us, and for me personally to have done this – a young black man, a refugee, a Muslim. It’s changed my frame of reference, it’s such a positive, knowing what I can do for my family.”
Chief Medical Officer Dr Fenella Wrigley said: “Everyone at London Ambulance Service is well trained to face the unexpected, but a call from a worried parent-to-be can still be a bit nerve-wrecking! I would like to say a thank you to the teams who supported the family, and a huge well done to Ahmed for helping his wife Fatima safely deliver their child.
“It means a great deal for our call handlers to get recognition for the incredible work they do for our patients in medical emergencies. Wishing baby Aria a very warm welcome to the world, and Ahmed a very Happy Father’s Day.”
Dr Wrigley continued: “I would also like to say a big thank you to all the dads at London Ambulance Service who will be working this Father’s Day and unable to spend the day with their families, and to all those staff and volunteers who won’t get the chance to spoil their own dads while they work to help Londoners in need.”