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Born on the M5: family thanks NHS staff for help with baby delivery

The Guardian logo The Guardian 6 days ago Steven Morris

© Handout / PA A new mother has thanked emergency staff for helping her as she gave birth to a baby boy in the front seat of a car parked on a motorway lane while traffic whizzed past.

Jayne Rowland, 36, a teaching assistant, was on her way to hospital when she went into the final stages of labour on the M5 in Somerset.

Her partner, Joshua Mogg, 29, called 999 asking for help and a call handler calmly advised the couple how to stay safe and deliver the child.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust have released a recording of the extraordinary call.

Mogg can be heard telling the call handler, Jonathan Leaton: “I think she’s almost about to pop … I’m in the roadworks at 50 miles an hour.”

Leaton instructed Mogg to put his hazard lights on and pull over. He told Rowland to take deep breaths and not to try to prevent the birth.

a highway filled with lots of traffic: Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA © Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Mogg is heard saying: “The baby’s coming out … the baby’s out” and Rowland comments: “Oh, that was quick.” She says “hello” to her son while Mogg adds: “Hello mister.”

The call handler asks the couple, from Street, Somerset, if they have a name for the child. They say “Harry” together and Leaton replies: “Excellent, congratulations.” Sirens can then be heard as ambulance staff arrive on the scene.

The couple had been travelling to Musgrove Park hospital in Taunton for Rowland to be induced at 9.30am on 1 November. Harry was born in the front passenger seat of the car at 7.57am, just 30 minutes after they had left home. He weighed 7lb 8oz at birth and his birth certificate has the place of birth recorded as “M5”.

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Rowland said: “I’d had discomfort for around three weeks, and didn’t feel anything different when I woke up that day. But the pain got worse and worse in the car, so I asked Josh to pull over.

“Everything seemed to happen very quickly. It wasn’t until afterwards that I realised how much danger we were in, because there was nowhere safe to stop in the roadworks.”

She praised a lorry driver who shielded the family from traffic by stopping and putting his hazard warning lights on.

Harry, his parents, and his brother Benjamin, eight, visited Taunton ambulance station on 13 February to thank the staff in person.

Mogg, a tree surgeon, said: “Delivering my baby son on a motorway is probably the best thing I’ve done in my life. I feel it’s given me a stronger bond with Harry.”

Leaton said: “They both did incredibly well throughout the entire call. They remained calm and followed every instruction which ensured the best possible outcome.”

The operations officer Dan Wilsher, who was first on the scene, said: “Josh and Jayne’s car was in a live traffic lane. When I approached the passenger door, I saw a tiny little face wrapped in blankets looking back at me.”

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