A stunned dad has revealed how his partner gave birth in the footwell of his car as he was doing 70pmh down the fast lane of the motorway.
Lee Reynolds, 34, thought he had “plenty of time” when Natalie Whitton, 31, went into labour in the early hours of Wednesday morning with their second child.
As the pair were blasting along the M65 in Burnley, Lancashire, the dad-to-be watched in utter shock as his new baby ‘shot out’ into his Ford Fiesta estate.
Lee, who was on the phone to a midwife throughout most of the journey, said he remembered thinking: “Oh, s**t! We ain’t going to make it.”
Following the sudden arrival of his 7lb, 11oz baby, he immediately stopped into the hard shoulder to wait for an ambulance crew.
But as the minutes ticked by with no sign of a medic, the concerned dad decided to make a dash for the nearest hospital, where Natalie got immediate assistance.
Transport manager Lee said: “We were in the fast lane going 70mph, and I just looked on the floor and went’There’s a baby in the footwell!’ to my partner.
“She quickly picked up the baby, and then the midwife on the phone was telling us what to do.
“We needed to make sure the baby was breathing, and once she was sure the baby was breathing, she said to carry on.”
Natalie added: “Lee kept asking me if I wanted to pull over. I could feel a little bit of an urge to push, but I said: ‘keep going!’
“Then all of a sudden, the baby came out, and it went into the footwell of the car on the floor.
“I remember feeling relieved that this pressure had gone. I had a water birth before, and that helped a lot, but I had nothing this time.”
Lee said his partner began experiencing contractions around 3.30am on Wednesday, but the pair didn’t rush to Burnley Hospital as they’d been previously been turned away before the birth of their first daughter, Sienna, now 4, for arriving too early.
The new dad, who lives with kitchen worker Natalie, said: “Natalie rang Burnley Hospital at about 3.30 in the morning to speak to the midwife, but when she stood up, her water had gone.
“She had these pains but said ‘I’ll hold off for a bit’, just thinking there’s no point going all the way to Burnley just to get turned away again.”
The pair then said they’d spent the next few hours organising childcare for their daughter, before setting off in their car for the 30-minute journey around 5.30 am.
But as they sped along the motorway, he began frantically calling nearby birthing units and the emergency services, worried they had left things too late, adding: “But when we called the midwife and said, ‘Can we come to you’, she said, ‘No, we’re full’, so we just carried on.”
Upon receiving a second call from the midwife to check on their progress, all of a sudden his partner gave birth to their tiny baby boy.
Lee helped Natalie perform some basic health checks on their new child – who was born at 5.57 am – under the guidance of 999 emergency call handlers.
But after waiting on the side of the motorway, agitated Lee drove himself, his partner and their newborn child to Burnley Hospital, adding: “I could actually see the sign on junction 12 of the M65 for Burnley hospital – and that’s the junction I needed. I was ten minutes away.
“So I ended speaking to the midwife, saying “Am I better just going? What do you advise?” And she said, “If you think you’ll be alright, and you’ll be quicker, just go for it.”
“We went straight into the hospital, into the emergency out-of-hours unit, and two midwives and a healthcare assistant came running out to Natalie to help her.”
Lee said Natalie spent roughly six hours with doctors before the pair finally returned home with their healthy new baby boy the same day.