Sarah Yates, 36, is mum to Charlotte, five, and six-week-old-Benjamin. She lives in North Yorkshire with her partner Dave. Her labour was so fast that Benjamin arrived within half-an-hour of her first contraction, falling out onto the kitchen floor as she unlocked the door ready for the ambulance crew. The 8lb 8oz bouncing – literally – baby, was unharmed by his dramatic delivery...
Did you have a fast birth with your first baby, Charlotte?
I was in hospital all day before I had Charlotte because my waters had already broken. They told Dave to leave at 10pm as I wasn't in labour. When they examined me at 11pm I was five centimetres dilated so they said he could come back, then I had pains from about midnight and she was born at 2.30am after about three pushes, so it was fast. But because my waters had broken before the pain started I suppose I assumed it would be the same second time around.
Did you plan to have Benjamin in hospital?
Yes. I had thought about a home birth but we live too far away from hospital. If anything went wrong, I thought it was better to be close to theatre. In the event though, even if I had opted for a home birth, the midwife wouldn't have got to my house in time.
Had you had any signs of labour before it all happened?
None at all. I'd been on the beach with my mum and Charlotte and some friends during the day – looking back now it could have happened there and then and I would have had to dive into a sun tent to give birth!
I brought Charlotte home and put her to bed at 7pm and came downstairs at about 7.30pm. I was sitting watching television and got some really mild, period-like pain. I texted Dave, who is a chef, at work, and said "Tonight could be the night".
But then I got a bad pain, so I texted him: "You'd better come home".
I got another pain, so I rang an ambulance and while I was on the phone to them my waters broke. They said: "We'll be there in five minutes, we're two miles up the road, take your trousers off and unlock the back door."
Did you manage to follow the paramedics' instructions?
I went into the kitchen and unlocked the back door and I was just about to step out to un-bolt the gate to the back yard when I felt the baby's head come out.
I was still on the phone to the ambulance. I pulled my trousers down and he fell out and skidded across the kitchen tiles. I had crouched down so it wasn't a big fall but because it was tiles he did kind of skid.
I'd only had three contractions, quite long ones, I didn't push or anything, he just fell out, the cord snapped when he fell. Over the phone, the paramedics told me to wrap him in something, I managed to reach for Charlotte's cardigan.
What happened then?
I was sat in the darkness, I'd not even put a light on. I sat in the blood on the kitchen floor holding him. Luckily he came out crying and pink, so all good signs he was well. I saw he was a boy, because I hadn't known what I was having. I just talked to him and cuddled him while I wanted for the paramedics, which only took a few moments, and then I shouted to them that the gate was bolted.
Was it a frightening experience having such a fast birth all on your own?
I wasn't really scared, I think you go into auto pilot. Luckily I'd had Charlotte so I recognised the pain and your body just takes over. Because Charlotte was asleep I didn't want to wake her up and frighten her so I was holding all the pain in because of that too.
It was good Dave wasn't in because he probably would have panicked and got me panicked. I think you're better on your own when it's that quick because someone else would have got upset and that would have made it more scary.
If it had been my first I wouldn't have rung the ambulance but I recognised the mild period pains from having Charlotte. The fact that he was crying made it alright.
What was the experience like for Dave?
The ambulance crew got here about two minutes after he was born and Dave arrived two minutes after that. He looked quite white and in shock. He'd been trying to get in touch after my text and couldn't so he'd rung 999 and the ambulance crew had told him they were on their way, then they rang him while he was coming home to tell him he had a son.
So how long do you think the labour actually was?
Proper labour, from the first contraction, took about 20 to 25 minutes I think. I'd felt nothing at 7.30pm and he'd arrived by 8.45pm.
Did you go to hospital then?
We had to wait for Dave's parents to get here to look after Charlotte, but that was fine because Benjamin was alright. Dave and the baby and I went to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough in the ambulance, just at normal speed, not fast, and I delivered the placenta there, which was all fine, then we all slept there and came back the next morning, I just wanted to be out of there and get home.
Dave's parents had mopped up the blood and everything, so you wouldn't have known what had happened. It had been all on the floor and up the walls.
Is Benjamin OK after his dramatic birth?
Obviously they couldn't do the Apgar score test on him when he was born, but he had all the normal checks in hospital and yes, everything is fine.
Is he quite famous now?
Yes, I went to a local shop a few days after having him and a lady in there seemed to know all about it – even though I'd never met her before. It will be nice to tell him the story. It makes it a bit more exciting.
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