Friday, 18 April 2008
True Story: I helped deliver a baby once.
Well, kind of.
I was on patrol with an older and much wiser colleague, John, and we were well into the night duty. It was the time of night when the pubs and clubs had shut, and on the roads were mainly night duty workers and naughty people.
Sensible people sleep at that time of night.
We were travelling along a dual carriageway on the edge of our district, when a car went past us travelling at speed. We did a quick turn at a gap in the central reservation and went after it, but it had long gone and after we'd passed a junction we knew we weren't going to find it, so my colleague killed the blue lights and settled down to a steady fifty miles per hour.
As we were wondering along listening to the radio chatter and talking shop gossip, we noticed a car parked on the side of the road with it's hazards going. John slowed the car down and we noticed the interior light was on, and two people in the back seat.
Spotting the chance to shout at a couple who had obviously let their romantic intentions overcome them, we parked in front of the car and walked back to it, giggling like schoolboys.
We have an area used for "dogging" in our division, and I've stumbled upon sex in strange places before, but I'd never seen it at the side of a dual carriageway.
As we arrived at the car we realised that all was not as it had seemed. The noises we had heard coming from the car were not in fact cries of passion, but the shouts of a woman in labour.
Having learnt from past situations involving stressful medical situations, I got straight on the radio asking for an ambo to attend, leaving my oppo to "assess" the situation.
There was a young woman on the back seat, a panic striken husband, and lots of messyness. I grabbed the Police car keys from my colleagues belt and ran back to the car, activated the strobes and rear reds, and reversed back to behind the couple's car, parking in a fend off position.
As I ran less enthusiastically back to John, my eyes took in the scene with increasing horror. I have no children, but I was sure that this was not someone who had plenty of time. The baby was obviously coming soon, but I had no idea what to do. John was muttering calming words at the woman, and I remembered he had two children. This was encouraging. They obviously taught methods for assisting labour to Dads.
I leant in to gain from his expertise, and whispered under the woman's shouts: "What do you want me to do John? LAS is on the way."
John: "Christ knows, I've got no idea. I was in Northern Ireland when my first was born, and on duty when the second one was."
Me: "Oh dear. Is it supposed to look like that?"
John: "I told you. I. Don't. Know."
Me: "Jesus John, that's disgusting. That can't be natural."
John: "Shut UP, Area."
I retired with my pride intact, and asked a few questions of the Dad, how far along the mum was, expected date, any allergies or complications - anything that might assist the ambo crew when they turned up.
As I did, John called up again: "I think it's coming now!"
I looked for the ambulance and realised that he was probably not referring to that, and crouched next to him. The Dad had clambered into the front seat and was having his hand crushed by his wife, and John was doing his best to monitor the situation, but aside from the joking we were both savagely aware that our medical knowledge in this area was sorely lacking.
I was unbelievably relieved to see an ambulance turn up, and John and myself stepped back sharpish as the crew set up and started treating the mother. Lots of painkillers I hoped.
The baby was born some minutes later, at the side of the road, after the arrival of an LAS Fast responder unit as well, lit by the flicker of blue and red strobe lights and the occasional headlights of passing cars. The baby screamed immediately, and as the ambulance pulled away the fast response lass explained they were taking them back on blues more for the mother than the baby, as she had lost some blood.
We locked up the car, and cleared the scene. We were both laughing and joking, a good result and an example of feeling like a real Policemanofficer, although no detection was forthcoming for it.
If this was a film, we'd have been instrumental in helping the child grow up, had the baby named after us, and made friends with the couple.
In reality, we left the keys in hospital, were told the baby and mum were fine, and went to the next call. I never even found out the sex of the baby. The next night the car was gone from the road, and so was the evidence of the medical gear and mess that was made.
It did acheive one thing though - it completely put me off the idea of childbirth, and all that miracle of life rubbish. It was bloody horrible.
I was right when I was speaking to John at the side of the road.
It's just not natural.