Cowplain mum, 41, delivers baby in ‘rare birth’ without medical assistance after waiting for induction


Without gas, air or pain relief, Angharad Woolley, who needed to be induced, gave birth to a healthy baby girl at home on August 20.

Late, at 40 weeks and four days pregnant, the 41-year-old from Cowplain was waiting for a call from Queen Alexandra Hospital to take her for an induction.

But the mother-of-two was told full maternity meant there were no beds to accommodate her.

Angharad, his mother-in-law and his little Esmae.

Instead, she gave birth without the help of midwives or doctors with her partner, Paul, and her mother-in-law on hand to liaise with a midwife over the phone in extremely rare circumstances. – qualified as “birth without assistance on arrival”.

Labor lasted just over two hours after Angharad began having contractions at 2:37 a.m.

“I was scared,” Angharad explained.

“We couldn’t get an induction. We were waiting another week until 42 weeks. We had to wait for it to come naturally.

Baby Esmae arrived without medical assistance

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Angharad woke up in the middle of the night in discomfort because she thought she had to go to the bathroom.

But after realizing they were in fact contractions, which were progressing rapidly, Paul called the NHS Labor Line who asked Angharad to come to QA Hospital.

At that time, it was 3:37 a.m.

Mum Angharad Woolley and baby Esmae who was born at home without medical assistance. Photo: Mike Cooter (270822)

Angharad’s partner Paul said: “We took him down. We started to walk out the door. At that moment, she walked through the door and two seconds later, she turns around saying: “it’s too late, it’s happening”.

“She’s coming back and my parents came because they were taking care of my son.

“We were going to get in the car as soon as they arrived.

“They said they would send an ambulance as soon as they could get one for free.”

Angharad Woolley, 41, who unexpectedly gave birth to baby Esmae at home, helped by husband Paul Woolley, 49 Photo: Mike Cooter (270822)

Angharad added: “I thought the baby was going to come and fall on the concrete outside as we got in the car. I came straight back.

As Paul was on the phone with the midwife, he saw baby Esmae’s head “pop out” while the family was in the living room.

The midwife on the phone, Vicky, then asked if the newborn was breathing or crying.

Paul said: ‘[Esmae] sort of fall into my hands on the pillow. My mom dove in and tried to grab it and give it to Aggie.

Eighteen minutes later the ambulance arrived, with the crew “incredulous” that the baby had already been delivered.

After paramedics carried out health checks on Esmae, the family was taken to the postnatal ward of QA Hospital.

Paramedics with baby Esmae and Angharad Photo submitted by family

“When she was brought in with the baby, the midwives couldn’t believe it,” Paul said.

“We told them what had happened.

“The senior midwife who was there that night said she had been there for 22 years and had never experienced this.

“We want to write a letter to the South Central Ambulance Service to say thank you so much for what they have done.”

Angharad spoke of his “relief” to have Esmae in his arms after not knowing what was going to happen and when staff would be there.

‘I was so relieved. I just wanted her to get out there and breathe because as you get older you read about the risks.

“I knew in my head that I had to do what I had to do to get this little person out safely.”

Additionally, little Esmae, weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces, arrived on what would have been Angie’s brother’s 70th birthday after he died during the pandemic.

Thirty-eight weeks pregnant with her son, Max, now two, the couple were unable to attend his funeral.

“It’s like fate,” Angharad said.

“Forever more we are going to celebrate his birthday because Esmae shares his birthday with him.”

Following the rare birth, a spokesperson for the NHS Trust at the University of Portsmouth Hospitals commented on its care of pregnant patients.

They said: ‘Pregnant people are urged to contact the labor line when they think they are in labour.

“The labor line covers the Hampshire area and will direct people to the nearest hospital with a maternity bed. Pregnant people will always be treated at the nearest hospital where possible, but when a hospital is full, treatment may be provided at another hospital in the area and additional travel may be required.

“While we try to accommodate home births where possible, it still depends on our ability to provide safe care at home and also in hospital.

“No pregnant woman is denied maternity care.”


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