The baby is coming! | News

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The baby is coming!

When her waters broke at 6am on Monday 11 April, Brenda Magalhaes Arruda wasn’t too concerned. It was a week before her due date, so her bag was already packed.

“I was cleaning the toilet when it happened,” said Brenda, 22. “I thought I had plenty of time as I’d had an eight-hour labour with my son, Isaac, so I pottered around at home for a couple of hours.”

When she started to experience strong contractions, she said to her husband Pedro, 22, that they should probably make their way to hospital.

The couple, who live in Eltham, dropped two-year-old Isaac at Brenda’s mum’s and drove to University Hospital Lewisham. In the car, Brenda realised that she was already in full labour.

“I said to Pedro I could feel the baby coming but he just laughed and said, ‘No, she can’t be’.”

When they arrived at the hospital at around 9am, Pedro ran to get a wheelchair, leaving Brenda standing by the car alone. 

“I could feel the head coming and I was screaming with pain,” said Brenda. “There was a man on his phone nearby who looked at me and said: ‘Oh Jesus what do I do?’ I told him to get a nurse or someone and that’s when Donna came.”  

Healthcare Assistant Donna Doyle, 41, had been checking in patients at the nearby surgical pre-assessment suite when the man from the car park came rushing in, shouting:

“There’s a woman in the car park – I think she’s giving birth and needs some help!”

“I told him to go and get a wheelchair from A&E, while I ran out to see Brenda,” said Donna.

“She was standing in the middle of the car park and I could see she was in labour,” said Donna. “I asked her name and started rubbing her back but she couldn’t speak properly as she was in so much pain. She kept saying ‘the head, the head’ so I looked down and saw that the baby’s head was out.

“I didn’t really know what to do so I just kept saying ‘Don’t worry, we’re getting help. Don’t worry.’ I’ve never delivered a baby before and don’t have children myself, so I tried to remember what I’ve seen on TV.

Next thing, a big contraction came and Brenda screamed “The baby is coming!”.

“We both bent down and caught the baby at the same time,” said Donna. “The baby was really slippery and started to cry. Then a couple of women in the car park came running over. I asked one of them to get a towel from Brenda’s bag to wrap the baby in.”

The man from the car park arrived with a wheelchair, but Brenda was too uncomfortable to sit down. Then a porter came rushing over with a trolley and together they got Brenda and the baby, still attached to the umbilical cord, on to the trolley. At this point, Pedro returned.

“He’d only been gone for 10 minutes and his wife had already given birth,” said Donna. “He couldn’t believe it. He was in shock.”

A group of doctors and nurses arrived on the scene and took Brenda and the baby to the labour ward so that she could deliver the placenta.

Donna visited the maternity ward later that afternoon to see how Brenda and the baby were doing.

“At first I didn’t recognise her and then I said ‘Oh, it’s you!”, said Brenda. “I told her how thankful I was that she’d been with me during the birth and was there to catch the baby as she came out.”

For Donna, who lives in Forest Hill, the whole experience has been very emotional.

“It was lovely to see Brenda and the baby,” said Donna. “I was so glad to see them safe and well. One funny thing was that staff on the ward told me that Brenda and Pedro had named the baby Easter as she’d been born so close to the Easter weekend. But it turned out they’d misheard as they’d actually named her Esther!”

Baby Esther weighed in at 3.6 kg and mum and baby were able to go home the next day.

“It might sound strange, but it was a really great birth,” said Brenda. “It took just three hours, and I did most of it completely alone! I feel great – I can walk about and I’m looking forward to having a good rest.”

Lizzie Thomas, Sister on the Surgical Pre-Assessment Suite, said: “We’re all so proud of Donna. Her dedication, care and compassion shine through, and we’re just blown away by how she supported Brenda in her time of need.”




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