Ashley Ward, 26, was scheduled for an induction Thursday because she was two weeks past her due date. But around midnight, on the day of her induction, contractions started. So she headed over to the hospital with her sister, Lauren, 20. Ashley made it safely into the hospital, but as she headed up to the maternity ward, the elevator jammed. Only she, Lauren, and the porter Ian Ramsbottom were in the elevator.
Ian shoved the doors to the elevator opened, but it was no use – all he could see were walls. So, he used the elevator intercom to contact the hospital staff. In turn, the staff called the fire department. In the end, the fire personnel wouldn’t be needed, but the trio that entered the elevator would be accompanied by one more before the ride was over.
“I was in agony when we got in the lift, so I knew the baby wasn’t far off,” said Ashley. “Then the lift shuddered and stopped, but I didn’t realize we were stuck until the porter told us – I felt like we were in a film.”
Ashley’s contractions started to intensify while waiting for the elevator to return to working order, and before long, her water broke. Lauren managed to help Ashley to the floor and found, within moments, that the baby’s head was crowning. It had now become apparent that the baby had no intentions of waiting, so Ian and Lauren took instructions from midwives from the elevator. And so, as it seems, little Thomas came into the world between the first and second floor of the North Manchester General Hospital around 2a.m.
“It was very painful, and I was so scared thinking what could go wrong, but it all happened very quickly. I just shut my eyes and pushed,” Ashley said.
Thomas didn’t breathe right away, so Lauren rubbed his back a few seconds. That prompted a cry from him. The hospital staff said this is fairly normal, but the few seconds were agonizing for the small delivery crew.
“They told me to rub him,” Lauren said. “I wasn’t breathing either, but I rubbed his back, his neck, his legs, and although it seemed to take ages, a few seconds later, he started crying and we were all so relieved.”
The relief felt in that little elevator was also felt on the other end of the intercom.
“When he cried, I knew he was alright,” Ashley said. “There were 20 or so people waiting as we got pushed out of the lift and they were all cheering, but I was dazed and I just wanted to rest.”
The exit from the elevator happened thirty minutes after the lift became stuck. Mother and baby were met in the maternity ward, and both were given a clean bill of health. Little Thomas weighed in at 7lbs 10ozs. They are both now recovering at home, and Ashley couldn’t be more grateful for the safe delivery of her son and the heroes that helped deliver him.
“He is perfect, and everyone has been amazing,” Ashley said. “Lauren was very calm and the porter was brilliant trying to keep us calm.”
Ian says he’s worked at the hospital since 2010, and he’s never had an experience quite like this. To be a part of it, he says, was an experience that he’ll never forget.
“I am really pleased that I was able to help deliver baby Thomas,” Ian stated. “I would never have believed that I could have done that. This is an experience that I will never forget.”
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