A first-time dad delivered his wife’s baby by the roadside – after they got stuck in traffic on the way to hospital.
Newborn Henry Fowler surprised his parents Jenny and Thom as they got caught in a jam just minutes from the maternity ward.
The couple had already been back and forth from the hospital twice that day after Jenny’s waters broke at 3.20am.
But nurses told her she “wasn’t in established labour”, and sent her home.
Jenny and Thom were told “nothing would happen anytime soon” – but Henry had other ideas, and by 12.50pm dad Thom had delivered his son in the back of their Citroen C3.
Thom, 25, a shop manager at wine merchant Oxford Wine Company, described it as “the most stressful journey of my life”.
He said: “Up to the last few minutes I was in denial thinking there was no way the baby was coming.
“After everything we had been told, we couldn’t believe our baby was on its way.
“It wasn’t until Jenny was screaming ‘it’s coming’ and I turned round and could see the head that everything went instantly into autopilot.”
The couple had already made the 30-mile round-trip from their home in Abingdon, Oxon., to John Radcliffe Hospital, twice that day.
But Jenny was told to go home and rest, as she was not in “established labour” and the hospital did not have the bed space.
Jenny, 26, a John Lewis sales assistant, said: “We ended up coming home and got back about 11am. By 12.50pm Henry was born in the back of our car.
“We left about home about 12.15pm but traffic on the A34 was at a standstill and by the time we realised there was no way to turn round – all we could do was carry on.”
With a congested A34 and roadworks through Oxford making it difficult to pass, Thom was forced to mount the kerb at the junction of Headington Road and Headley Way – the road the hospital is on.
Just 0.7 miles from the hospital, Jenny called 999 as Thom leapt into action, throwing open the back door and preparing himself to deliver his son.
He said: “Like any adrenaline-filled situation it is a bit of a blur, but also felt like it was happening in slow motion.
“Love just takes over and you do what you need to do. All you are thinking about is this is your baby you’ve been waiting to meet for nine months.
“You are already infatuated with him, you are never going to let any harm come to him.”
Thom added that he was just in time to hold Henry’s head before one push from Jenny left him holding his newborn son, whom he wrapped in a hoodie.
Minuter later, paramedics arrived and assured the pair Henry was okay.
Jenny said: “We were lucky because another ambulance was passing at the time.
“Although they had another patient they were flagged down [by a passer-by] and could check everything was okay.
“The police also came and stopped the traffic and moved everyone to the other side of the road.
“We couldn’t believe how close we were to the hospital – literally just round the corner.”
Jenny added that she was ‘very surprised’ to have given birth so quickly and on Henry’s actual due date, after being told that rarely happens with the first-born.
She said: “The midwives said ‘even if the baby starts coming you will have a good hour of pushing before’. Everything was an exception to the rules.
“Although I wouldn’t choose to have a baby that way again, everybody is fine and the help we had from so many people was amazing.”
And Thom praised his brave wife, saying: “Jenny did amazing with her part and I had my part to play. The biggest thing is we did it as a team.
“I wouldn’t have had it any other way, I am incredibly proud.”
He added: “The paramedics and everyone that helped us I can’t thank enough, the whole medical team were absolutely fantastic.
“Without them it would have been a lot scarier experience.”
Henry George Stuart Fowler was born at 7lbs 9oz and was back home with mum and dad that evening, and all are doing well and settling into family life.