Edinburgh parents Yvonne and Ross McColm have told of their joy after baby daughter Freya was delivered – in a casino car park.
Gripped by waves of pain last Wednesday, primary school teacher Yvonne, 35, realised she was close to giving birth and embarked with her husband on a race against time to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
But finding themselves stranded in Maybury Road’s midday traffic only minutes into the dash, the East Craigs couple realised they weren’t going to make it and instead rolled the dice on an emergency detour to the comparative calm of the Maybury Casino car park.
The plan was to hang on in the couple’s red Volkswagen Polo until an ambulance arrived. Baby Freya, however, had other ideas.
Yvonne said: “We were actually being driven by a friend of mine as Ross doesn’t drive and we had our older daughter, Amy, with us. As soon as we got into the car park, I realised the birth was very close and I told my friend she would need to get Amy out the way.
“We got her out then Ross came round to my side of the car, put the seat back, and the ambulance woman Ross was speaking to on the phone was asking if I felt the need to push. I was just screaming, ‘I can’t do this’. The woman was saying to Ross, ‘just tell her to . . .’ and the next thing the baby just appeared. I think I only pushed about three times.”
The couple have calculated the delivery took place in minutes – a far cry from their older child, who arrived after an agonising 48-hour labour.
Amid serious health complications, what should have been one of the happiest days of Yvonne’s life turned into a nightmare – leaving her with memories that made last week’s events doubly frightening. We had a traumatic time with our first daughter,” she said. “She ended up having to spend time in a neo-natal unit and I was suffering from pre-eclampsia at the time, which is when you get high blood pressure and swelling.
“So I’d been seeing a midwife for weeks before Freya’s birth as a precaution. They had been monitoring me really closely and there were a whole lot of notes in my record for things that would need to be put in place to make sure I was going to be healthy.
“So all of that was going through my head as well – I was thinking, ‘what if I’m going to lose blood?’ and ‘I should be in hospital’.”
The quick arrival of her baby – shortly before 12.20pm and at a healthy 7lb 13oz – came as a huge relief, with a check confirming both mother and daughter were doing well.
“My first labour was 48 hours and this was probably about two,” said Yvonne. “The birth itself was maybe a matter of seconds. It’s actually quite nice because now we have a story for years to come – for when she’s 18 or on her wedding day. Something to look back on.”
For husband Ross, 33, it was a test of nerve unlike any other. The waiter, who works at Edinburgh’s Kyloe restaurant, said: “I was trying to reassure her but at the same time in my mind I was going, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’.
“But in a situation like that it was just a case of, right, this is what’s happening, I have to deal with it. Last time, I didn’t have time to be at home with my wife because of her having to stay in hospital so it’s fantastic to be home with them now.”