Stowmarket: Proud father delivers baby on bathroom floor

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- Credit: Archant

These days most fathers take pride in their role at the birth of their children.

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- Credit: Archant

But usually it involves nothing more than looking-on concerned and being a target for their wife or partner’s outbursts during labour.

But one young Suffolk father was forced to take on a somewhat more important role when his firstborn decided to make an unscheduled and rather swift entry into the world.

Zoe Chaplin was 40 weeks pregnant when she started experiencing contractions at her home in Thurlow Court, Stowmarket, at around 4pm last Monday.

But the 19-year-old returned home from Ipswich Hospital after being told her firstborn was not coming because her waters had not yet broken.


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Then, at around 9.30pm, she told her partner of three years Callum Spall, 20, that she thought she needed to use the bathroom.

Mr Spall followed her up the stairs out of concern. He said: “We were both staying calm but I was saying ‘are you sure you don’t want to go back to hospital?’

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“She was in a lot of pain and I asked her to lie down. That’s when I saw the baby’s head starting to show.”

He immediately made a 999 call and fetched some towels and blankets.

“I was in a lot of pain and it was scary, but we didn’t have time to panic,” Miss Chaplin said.

It soon became clear Mr Spall would have to deliver the couple’s first baby alone – but for some vital help on the end of the phone.

The East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) emergency call handler Danielle Cobley did far more than just order an ambulance, she talked a nervous and shocked Mr Spall through the process.

“She was brilliant,” Mr Spall said. I thought I would just ring up and ask for an ambulance – I didn’t know she was going to stay on the line and help me.

“She calmed me down and talked me through it. I don’t know what I would have done without her.”

Fighting fit and perfectly formed, baby Archie was resting on his mother’s stomach five minutes later – as per Mrs Cobley’s instructions.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening,” Mr Spall, a warehouse worker at commercial wood chip manufacturers Timberwolf in Stowmarket. added.

“I never expected it to happen in our bathroom. But that’s what happened and I was really proud of both Zoe and myself. It was my proudest moment.”

Paramedics arrived within 10 minutes, as did their midwife and both their parents.

Archie was given a full health check and slept in his mother’s bed that night.

“I’m very proud of Callum,” Miss Chaplin said. “It was really comforting him telling me when to push. He seemed like he knew what he was doing. He kept the whole situation very calm.”

Mrs Cobley said: “It feels great to have played a part in giving birth to life. It is always an amazing experience to go through. I will never forget it. I wish Zoe, Callum and Archie the very best in the future.”

The couple said they both wished to thank Mrs Cobley for her “tremendous help”.

Brett Norton, assistant general manager for the Norwich control room of the EEAST, said: “Danielle’s calmness, professionalism and caring approach has no doubt contributed to the safe delivery of baby Archie before the arrival of the ambulance crew and we wish Zoe and Callum all the very best for the future.

“Our team of call handlers, dispatchers and dispatch managers are a highly skilled and well-oiled team and hearing about Danielle’s action on Monday is very rewarding.”

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