A MOTHER gave birth on her bathroom floor 18 minutes after being sent home from Helme Chase Maternity Unit.
Pippa Hayton, 31, and her husband Simon safely delivered 6lb 14oz baby girl Lily Rose at their home on Valley Drive, Kendal.
The couple, who run Theo’s Taxis, say they are angry that mother and baby were put ‘at great risk’ and that the unit failed in its ‘duty of care’.
Mrs Hayton told the Gazette the initial joy of their longed-for second child’s birth was overshadowed by the ordeal.
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Lily Rose was born on Friday, July 18, after Mrs Hayton had been taken to Helme Chase by her husband at around 7pm with ‘quite bad’ contractions.
The couple were told to ‘keep active’ so they walked around the hospital grounds until the contractions became ‘really painful’.
Mrs Hayton said that at 10.55pm they requested gas-and-air pain relief.
“I was told that I couldn’t have it and needed to go home and have a bath and take paracetamol, because as far as the midwife was concerned we weren’t in established labour.”
Mrs Hayton said she was surprised to be sent home without an internal examination as she was in such pain.
“I felt I was being ignored and undermined.”
The couple were discharged around 11.10pm and drove back home, just two minutes away.
While her husband was running a bath, Mrs Hayton realised her waters were about to break. She made it to the toilet, where the baby’s head appeared.
With no time to return to Helme Chase, Mr Hayton called an ambulance and was on the phone when Lily Rose was born on the bathroom floor.
“It was extremely fast,” said Mrs Hayton. “I knew it was going to be because Cooper (the couple’s four-year-old son) was born quickly. That’s another reason why we weren’t expecting to be coming home. Literally within two or three minutes of my waters breaking she was born.
“It’s difficult to say how I felt because you just get on with doing what you have to do – you have no choice. But when you think back, it was very scary.”
The ambulance arrived quickly, as did community midwife Jane Tomlinson-Wightman, who stayed with the Haytons at home for three to four hours although it was her night off. Mrs Hayton praised her as ‘just brilliant’.
Mr Hayton cut the umbilical cord, but the ordeal of the home delivery took its toll.
“My husband was very angry and in shock for those precious first few days,” said Mrs Hayton.
“A two-minute check from a midwife or a little bit more care would have made a nicer experience.
“If I’d been a first-time mum I would have been absolutely petrified.”
Mrs Hayton had complications after Cooper’s birth and said ‘the scary bit’ was not knowing if the same difficulties would arise.
The mum-of-two described Lily Rose as a ‘very contented baby’ who was doted on by her brother.
“She’s just perfect. It took four years to conceive her, so she’s a miracle.”
The couple are to send a letter of formal complaint to the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.
In a statement, Sascha Wells, deputy director of midwifery for the trust, said: “We are pleased that mother and baby are doing well and send our congratulations to the family.
“We’re sorry this lady has concerns regarding the care she received at Helme Chase and would welcome the opportunity to talk to her about her experience with us and the issues she has raised.
“We are always keen to work directly with patients to discuss and resolve any concerns they may have.”