A mum was forced to give birth at home on her own – after midwives failed to show up.
Emily Hunt and her husband Simon had planned to welcome their child into the world at their home and had spoken to midwives about their plan months before.
When Mrs Hunt woke up at 2am on Tuesday morning (16 May) with strong contractions, Mr Hunt immediately called the hospital so the community midwife could arrive to assist with their home delivery.
However, the couple were left shocked when the hospital rang back to say no community midwife could attend and they should instead come into the hospital for the birth.
Already a mum-of-two, Mrs Hunt had told midwives she had ‘quick labours’ and, with her contractions coming increasingly frequently, the 33-year-old didn’t want to risk giving birth in the car.
Mrs Hunt, from Elloughton, East Yorks., said: “It was like they were pressuring us into a forced birthing situation which I hadn’t agreed.
“Birthing a baby at home unattended would have been a lot less dangerous than giving birth to my child on the A63 unattended.
“I thought it was bad enough that the midwives didn’t attend but then they kept him on the phone by badgering him into taking me to hospital.
“He was trying to advise me and care for me but he couldn’t be there making sure things were alright and checking on me and the baby.
“They offered no support or guidance and I was left completely on my own.”
Staff told Mr Hunt his wife needed to come into hospital or risk endangering the child and, despite his pleads, Mrs Hunt gave birth alone just 50 minutes after waking up with contractions.
After giving birth, Mrs Hunt noticed that her newborn son, Jamie, who weighted a hefty 10lb 5.5oz, wasn’t breathing properly.
However, fortunately, she had read in a book what to do in such situations and managed to get her baby’s shoulder out, which allowed him to start breathing.
She said: “Luckily everything was fine but if I hadn’t have known what I was doing it could have been very different.”
Paramedics arrived at the couple’s home 40 minutes after Mrs Hunt had given birth. and checked over mother and baby to ensure they were both fit and healthy.
However, it wasn’t until 11:30am – almost nine hours after the birth – that community midwives arrived at the couple’s home.
She said: “When midwives came they were absolutely lovely and they said how much they would have loved to have supported me during the birth but we were completely abandoned.”
The new mother-of-three has since registered the baby’s birth and the couple are looking forward to enjoying family life with newborn Jamie, Charlie, 6, and Oliver, 4.
However, Mrs Hunt is planning to put in a complaint to the National Midwifery Council and has called on the Trust to reassess its community midwifery options after she was left alone during her birth.
She believes the mother should be able to do things her way and said: “We all have a right to a choice when it comes to medical care and they are stopping a lot of women from doing what makes them comfortable.
“Anything could have gone wrong with me and any other woman.
“It’s ridiculous that we’ve got a system where there just aren’t enough community midwives to support people going into labour.”
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has since issued an apology to the couple and confirmed the community midwifery team who were on-call for home births were busy attending to other women at the time when Mrs Hunt went into labour.
A spokesperson for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We are sorry that we were unable to support Ms Hunt in her chosen place of birth, as the community midwifery team who were on-call for home births were busy attending to other women at the time.
“In situations such as this, women are invited to come into hospital in order that they can still birth their baby safely, with the support of a midwife, and Mrs Hunt was offered this option.
“This is always recommended as the safest alternative if home birth cannot be accommodated, and we do have the facility of the midwife-led birth centre for a home from home experience. However, there is no obligation on a woman to do this if she wishes to remain at home to give birth.”