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Baby on board! This mum didn’t quite make it to the hospital

‘What do you think of Aiden?’ I asked my partner, Steven, 43, as I flicked through a book of baby names.

Crumpling up his face, he shook his head and said: ‘I’m not a big fan and what makes you so sure it’s going to be a boy?’

I sighed, just two months from giving birth, we still couldn’t decide what to call our little one.

‘Well, do you have any suggestions?’ I asked, giving up.

Steven smirked.

‘I’ve got a few up my sleeve,’ he teased. ‘What’s the hurry anyway? We’ve got plenty of time.’

‘Typical bloke,’ I thought to myself. He was so laid back, while I was flapping.

Vicki McAteer and her baby daughter Niamh.

Vicki McAteer and her baby daughter Niamh.

I wanted to make sure we were prepared for our new arrival.

I dug the old Moses basket, pram and clothes out of the loft and I started stocking up on nappies and baby wipes.

This pregnancy had come as a complete shock.

Having both been married before, Steven and I had children from previous relationships – Sophie, 20, Louise, 16, and Shauna, 14.

We added a little boy, James, two, to our family and thought it was complete.

But when I started to feel a bit queasy and missed my period, Steven suggested I take a test.

‘No, no, it’s fine,’ I assured him, in complete denial.

I put off taking it for two weeks before finally caving in.

As I gazed at the plastic stick in my hand, two blue lines appeared.

Stunned, it took a while for the news to sink in for us both.

But when we told the kids they were going to have a little brother or sister they were so excited.

We decided to keep the gender a surprise this time around.

Normally quite healthy, I craved sugary food while expecting.

‘I am eating for two now,’ I told people, using it as an excuse.

At my job, as a pharmacy technician, I would pick at the biscuits, cakes and chocolate my colleagues bought in.

I’d usually manage to avoid the sweet treats left on the kitchen side, but now I just couldn’t resist.

I even led the team at work astray by organising a bake off which gave me a reason to scoff more.

As my bump grew and I felt the baby kicking, I couldn’t wait for him or her to make an appearance.

In December, with just a few weeks to go, I caught Steven fiddling with the living room door frame, as I came downstairs.

‘What on earth are you doing?’ I laughed, as he fumbled around.

‘Nothing,’ he said, looking flustered.

But I knew he was up to something.

On Christmas day, I hadn’t noticed Steven hadn’t got me a present.

Later in the afternoon he asked: ‘Did you not think it was strange I didn’t give you anything?’

Shaking my head, I told him: ‘I just thought you might wait until we’ve had the baby.’

Vicki delivered their daughter Niamh in the leg of her jogging bottoms on a busy roundabout

Vicki delivered their daughter Niamh in the leg of her jogging bottoms on a busy roundabout

Smiling, he presented me with a little box.

As I opened it up, I spotted a sparkling diamond ring.

‘Oh, it’s lovely,’ I gasped, taken aback.

‘You know what it’s for,’ he said.

‘Are you having a laugh?’ I cried.

It was an engagement ring.

I had always protested, insisting I didn’t want to get hitched ever again.

But now that Steven had asked me to be his wife, in not so many words, I said ‘yes’ without hesitation.

He confessed he had tried to tape the box to the underside of the door, thinking I’d never spot it there.

But I had caught him in the act.

It was hardly the most romantic proposal, but it was perfect.

By the time my due date – 10th January – came and went, I was getting increasingly uncomfortable.

Our baby was supposed to arrive on my mum Francis’ birthday.

But when it passed with no sign of our little one, we thought he or she might come on my stepdad Brain’s birthday the week after.

Little did I know, I’d be waiting for a 10 whole days yet…

For a fortnight, I’d been experiencing twinges, but every time I thought I might be going into labour it stalled.

‘I’m getting so fed up,’ I moaned to Steven as I tossed and turned in bed one night.

‘Not long to go now,’ he soothed, rubbing my back.

Unable to sleep, I’d spend most of the night watching TV downstairs.

But on 20th January, Steven went off to work while I pottered about the house.

I went to visit the midwife, in the morning, and she offered me a sweep.

Later in the day, I’d been having a few sharp pains, but I didn’t want to say anything and get Steven to come home in case I jinxed it.

‘Is anything happening?’ he asked when he called on a break.

‘No, I’m afraid not,’ I sighed.

By 3pm I’d started to get agonising twinges every 20 minutes.

Vicki McAteer pictured with her daughter Niamh, son James, 2 and husband Steven McAteer

Vicki McAteer pictured with her daughter Niamh, son James, 2 and husband Steven McAteer

I sent Steven a message which read: ‘I don’t want to excite you in case I’m wrong, but I think I’m having contractions.’

He rushed back and while I was huffing and puffing he was jotting down the times of each burst of pain on his phone.

At 10pm nothing had happened, so I decided to try and get some sleep.

I drifted off, before waking up suddenly at 3am.

‘My waters have broken,’ I squealed as Steven shot out of bed.

We called the hospital and they told me to have a bath and try and relax.

But I couldn’t so we rang again, 20 minutes later, and they told us to come in.

Louise looked after James overnight and my mother-in-law said she would pop over in the morning if we weren’t back to take over while she went to school.

I managed to pull on some jogging bottoms and a t-shirt, but by the time I got to the bottom of the stairs I could feel the baby coming.

It was 4am when Steven bundled me into the car, but we only got two minutes down the road when I felt the urge to push.

Panicking, I told Steven.

Panicking, I told Steven.

‘Not yet,’ he cried, putting his foot down to get to the maternity unit at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth.

As we got to a roundabout, I screamed: ‘Oh my god, the head’s out.’

There was no stopping now.

Steven carried on driving as fast as he could and in two pushes our baby had arrived in the leg of my trousers and let out a cry.

‘The baby’s here, you’re going to have to stop,’ I told Steven, but we were so close to the hospital and he was desperate to make it so he kept going.

It was freezing so he didn’t want to pull over and for the baby to get cold.

‘We need to keep going,’ he said calmly.

Speeding in to the car park, Steven jumped out and rushed up to the doors and frantically banged on them.

Two midwives came dashing out and over to me with a car park delivery pack.

They told Steven to put the heating on in the car to keep our little one warm.

Then they whisked my jogging bottoms off, before scooping the baby up, cutting the cord and placing it on my chest.

Afterwards I was helped into a wheelchair and taken in to be checked over.

It was only when we got to the delivery suite that we realised we didn’t know if our new addition was a boy or girl.

‘Meet your new daughter,’ one of the midwives, as she wrapped her up and passed her gently back to us.

Tears welled in my eyes as I cradled her in my arms.

‘What an arrival,’ Steven whispered.

We were checked over and allowed back home by 9.30am.

Weighing a healthy 7lbs 6oz, our little girl’s place of birth was listed as ‘on the way to Derriford Hospital’.

We decided to name her Niamh.

Now back at home, she’s settled in well and it doted on by her big brother and sisters.

We’ll certainly have a story about her birth to tell her when she’s older.

Sue Stock, Head of Midwifery at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, said: “We would like to offer our congratulations to Steven and Vicki on the arrival of their daughter, Niamh.

“It is most unusual for babies to be born quite this quickly indeed, when Vicki called in she was advised to have a bath and wait for the contractions to get closer together.

“A very sensible plan in early labour as time passes much quicker in one’s own home.

“However, within minutes of that advice, the contractions picked up pace and the couple headed in.

“Having observed the rapid change in the frequency of the contractions, this was absolutely the right thing to do.

“With a crying baby in the car, Steven should be commended for his calm approach in continuing with his journey and getting baby Niamh and mum Vicki into the hospital without stopping.

“Members of the team had been arranged to meet them at the door to check all was well.”

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