December 9 2013 Latest news:
Mum and Dad, Kimberley and Ashley Edwards with baby Toby at home in Beetley. Dad Ashley delivered Toby at home with help from ambulance call handler in Norwich - even saving Toby's life by removing the cord from around his neck. Picture: Matthew Usher.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
A shrill cry is often the first sign that a newborn baby has arrived safely into the world.
But when little Toby Edwards decided to put in a very speedy appearance at his birth, parents Ashley and Kimberley were more than a little anxious when there was complete silence from their newborn son.
With the umbilical cord around his neck Toby had stopped breathing and, unlike most babies in the same predicament, there was no experienced midwife on hand to untangle him.
Instead the tot had just his very inexperienced dad to rely on to save his life – and a voice at the end of the telephone.
The infant was born on the kitchen floor at the family’s home in Wood Drive, Beetley, near Dereham, after Mrs Edwards suddenly went into labour five weeks early and realised that she would not have time to get to hospital.
With minutes to spare before their baby’s arrival, 35-year-old Mr Edwards, a builder by trade, rang 999 and was put through to emergency call handler Megan Llewellyn who talked him through the delivery.
And as if the drama of delivering his own son wasn’t enough, he soon realised something was wrong.
“The cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck and he wasn’t crying at all,” he said.
“Thankfully Megan stayed calm and guided me through taking it off. It actually only took seconds but it felt like a lifetime before I heard him starting to breathe and cry – I’ve never been so relieved.”
Ms Llewellyn, who has worked at the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s (EEAST) Health and Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) in Norwich for five years, then stayed on the line until the ambulance arrived, telling Mr Edwards to make sure that the baby’s mouth and nose were wiped clean, and that both mum and baby were kept warm.
Five weeks after the traumatic July 20 birth, on the day Toby had originally been due, the happy parents, who also have a daughter Sophie, aged three, and son Harry, 18 months, got the chance to meet up with Ms Llewellyn at the Norwich HEOC and thank her for her help.
Mrs Edwards, 30, said: “I’m so proud of Ashley for staying so calm during the birth. It happened so quickly that there just wasn’t time to get to hospital, but he did very well and we wanted to say a huge thank you to Megan for the way in which she dealt with the call.”
She said they had joked about Mr Edwards having to deliver the baby as their two older children had arrived fairly swiftly, but they had managed to get to hospital in time.
“My waters had also broken the week before so the midwives said it might be quick when I went into labour,” she said. “There was nothing I could do to stop him. We did manage to ring my mother-in-law to look after the other two children and she helped Ashley by passing him towels. We also had someone in upstairs building a wardrobe but he stayed out of the way.
“It was awful when I didn’t hear him cry because I couldn’t really see what was going on. But once the cord was over his head and I could see him, the colour came back into his face and he cried and I knew he was OK. He’s seven weeks old now and a really healthy baby, putting on weight really well. My other children are great with him.”
Her husband added: “I certainly didn’t feel calm at the time but Megan really helped me keep my cool and talked me through step by step what to do. I couldn’t have done it without her.”
Ms Llewellyn said a happy result was the reason she did the job.
“It’s always nice to know you’ve made a difference to a family,” she said.
“It was great to actually meet the Edwards family and put faces to voices and, of course, meet baby Toby. It is part of our job to remain calm and professional even in tense moments. I gave a big sigh of relief when I heard the baby start to cry, I didn’t even realise I’d been holding it. I just wish the family all the best in the future.”o