My regular crew mate and I have had a rough time recently. We appear to be busier than ever as a trust and the two of us have been to some horrific jobs of late. So our second night shift revealed a welcome change.
We had just attended the second patient in a row that didn’t need to attend hospital, and had just arranged for an out of hours doctor to visit as soon as possible for a possible UTI (water infection). I radio’d control to confirm our availability. They confirmed with…
“Roger [callsign], I’ve got you clear on scene, I’ll add those notes to the log ‘out of hours doctor arranged’. Uuuummmm….”
Uuuumm. When they say uummmm over the radio, it means there’s a job outstanding. Not a problem, the night goes faster when we’re busy.
“Yeah [callsign], I’ve got an emergency in (18 miles away) for a 24 year old female ’38 weeks pregnant, waters broken, in labour’, is that received? Over.”
“Roger all received, are we the nearest unit? Over.”
“Negative, there’s an RRV (rapid response vehicle) that will be on scene in approximately 4 minutes. Over.”
“Roger, en-route. Over.”
“Thank you. 22:12 Red base, out.”
My crew mate was driving, so on went the blue lights and off we go.
It’s never nice to know that one of your colleges, whether you know them or not, it alone at a potentially difficult job, so we drove pretty quickly to get there.
When we arrived, ‘dad’ was outside smoking.
“Are we all good inside?” I ask.
“Yeah, she’s off her face on gas and air!”
So, in I stroll as my crew mate parks up, to find and screaming lady, bare below the waist and legs akimbo. Our colleague with gloves on and his maternity kit out and ready.
He looks at me with wide eyes and says with some urgency: “Ready to go then?”
“Right you are” I quickly reply as I walked back out the door I came in.
My crew mate, who has an odd sixth sense about this sort of thing, was already unloading the stretcher on the tail lift. Before I knew it, the lady was shuffling out wrapped in a towel, and plonked herself on the stretcher as another contraction gripped her.
“WHERE’S THE FUCKING GAS?!?!” She asked. We thrust it into her hand and loaded the stretcher into the ambulance.
As my crew mate gained IV access, the RRV took a blood pressure and some information for the paperwork.
While they did this, I set up a resus’ station (I saw an experience colleague of mine do this at a horrendous double-miscarriage we attended. In that case she was 24 weeks along so there was every chance they would’ve been viable so he set up resus’ equipment just in case). I do this every time now, because if you have to resus a baby, you don’t want to be fumbling around with packaging and alike.
It was decided that the RRV would travel in with us just in case anything went wrong – we’re an optimistic bunch!!
I took the helm and drove in – two para’s in the back would be better for the patient rather than a para’ and a student, I figured.
It was almost a 40 minute drive to the waiting maternity unit. The drive needed to be quick, but smooth. Not easy in an ambulance with 300,000 miles on the clock!
The whole time, I could hear her screaming and puffing on the gas and air and my colleagues telling her not to push! She joked with them that she would make a pact that she wouldn’t deliver in the ambulance. We all knew that she probably would!
Then, a nightmare happened! Around 11 miles from the hospital, I reached a ‘Road Closed’ sign. “Shit!” I slow almost to a stop and scan the map for an alternative route. I find one, but it adds 8-10 minutes to the journey time. No choice. I shout through to the back to let them know, and they look helplessly frustrated.
We carry on until I hear the dreaded instruction…….. “Pull over, PULL OVER!!”
I do so, quickly, grab some gloves and slip onto my clammy hands. I run round and open the door just in time to see my crew mate holding a baby being freshly delivered.
He places little one straight onto mum’s chest as I dry its back to stimulate breathing.
An eternity passes and then we hear it, the first little cry of a newborn miracle!
It was an incredible moment to be a part of. We had some quick health checks to perform on mum and baby. All was in order so I continued the (much smoother and calmer) blue light drive to hospital.
The midwives were expecting us and they welcomed us with smiles and coo’d over the baby.
A quick weigh revealed 5 lb 12 oz. A very happy family and very happy Paramedics that nothing went wrong!
We cleaned the resulting mess from the ambulance and had a well earned brew. Then headed back out for whatever the night threw at us. Whatever it was, we didn’t care. We were elated! My crew mate revealed that he had never delivered a baby before, so it was a first for both of us!
Sometimes this job is EXTRA amazing!