It is the dramatic plot line of many an episode of Casualty or Call The Midwive – a woman starts giving birth prematurely at home in an emergency and those rushing to help realise the baby is breech.
But that is exactly what happened to Amy Cotterell in the middle of the night, and exactly what presented itself to an ambulance crew who arrived at her home in Patchway, Bristol.
And when the baby quickly came, he wasn’t breathing properly or crying, and was a worrying blue colour.
Amy’s baby was little Odin, and the lead paramedic who saved his life was Ralph Whitby got to meet him for a second time – in much more relaxed circumstances – when the family visited the ambulance station to say thank you.
Amy hailed Ralph ‘our hero’ after not only taking control, getting the baby born well, but then saving him when he did come out the wrong way.
Amy, her partner Aaron, Odin and big sister Gracie, visited the Bristol Ambulance Station on Friday to say ‘thank you’.
The birth was so traumatic that Amy suffered from PTSD, and kept having flashbacks to those moments. She said she was worried about meeting the ambulance crew again, but said she had to do it to say thank you.
The drama began to unfold after midnight and into the early hours of December 30, 2017.
Amy was 36 weeks into her pregnancy, but her waters broke and she suddenly began having strong and frequent contractions in her flat in Patchway.
A crew, led by Ralph and including paramedic Stuart Dando and emergency care assistant Agatha Child, arrived, realised Odin was breech and was coming out bottom first.
He did, and weighed a healthy 7lb 5oz, but was not in a good way.
“When Odin was born, he was very unwell, and needed urgent medical care,” Amy said.
“Odin wasn’t breathing properly or crying, and he had blue skin. So it was a bit of a panic. But Ralph saved him.”
“If it wasn’t for Ralph our son wouldn’t be here today. No words will ever be enough to express our thanks. Ralph is our hero,” she added.
They also praised the other ambulance crew for arriving so quickly, and for all they did to help with the complex delivery.
Babies are usually born head-first, and a breech presentation can be risky for mother and baby.
“Breech births usually take place in hospital as a c-section (caesarean delivery). But Odin had other ideas,” said Amy.
“It wasn’t a planned home birth, and I thought he had been born normally until Ralph said he was breech,” she added.
Amy and Odin were rushed to Southmead Hospital, where he was kept in intensive care for 12 days, before being allowed home with his mum.
It has been hard for Amy to put such a traumatic birth behind her. “I’ve been nervous but excited about meeting the paramedics, because of how the birth affected me.
“Thankfully Odin has settled down, and is doing really well now,” she added.
Reflecting on that night, Ralph said he had literally just been on a course so knew exactly what to do.
“Two weeks beforehand I did the PROMPT (Practical Obstetric Multi-Professional Training) maternity course, which meant the delivery went more smoothly than it could have done,” he said.