War-veteran EMAS ambulance crew deliver baby at emergency call in Stamford
The Mackrill family, from left to right: Tim Mackrill, three-year-old Harry and Samantha Mackrill holding baby Laurie.
The parents of a baby born unexpectedly at home in Stamford spoke to the Rutland and Stamford Mercury to thank the hero ambulance crew who helped them with the delivery – comprising two war-veterans and a student paramedic.
In the early hours of the morning on Monday 11 January, heavily-pregnant 41-year-old Louise Mackrill, a Pilates instructor from Stamford in Lincolnshire, was woken up by heavy contractions - a week before her due date.
Louise and her husband, 39-year-old nature conservationist Tim Mackrill, realised that there was no way they were going to make it to the hospital in time.
A midwife advised Tim to call an ambulance.
Tim said: “The 999 call-taker was absolutely brilliant and told me exactly what I needed to do to be fully prepared for the birth.
“He calmed me down, so I was level-headed and ready to help my wife.”
999 Call Taker Roy Gray spoke to Tim over the phone.
999 Call Taker Roy Gray, who spoke to Tim on the phone said: “I am so proud of how they both handled themselves that morning, by staying calm and listening to my instructions in order to safely bring their baby into the world.”
The ambulance crew who responded to the 999 calls was Paramedic Kirsty Large, Technician David Harley and Student Paramedic Emily Copson, who is currently doing her degree at the University of Northampton.
The call came through via the control room just as the ambulance crew were logging on to begin their shift, saying that Louise’s contractions were getting stronger and that she was feeling a strong urge to push.
The patient was about to be in very good hands as the crew comprised two war veterans - former Army Driver Kirsty who served for nine years including in Bosnia and Iraq and Technician David who served in the RAF Regiment for 33 years including in Iraq and Afghanistan.
EMAS Paramedic Kirsty Large and Technician David Harley, who are both war veterans, responded to the 999 call.
Kirsty explained that since joining EMAS two and half years ago, she has already helped to deliver six other babies, so she was confident they would be able to help their patient.
Kirsty said: “One of these seven babies was delivered in a layby in the back of an ambulance by myself and my crewmate David. So, my experiences at EMAS and from the Army mean I can handle pressure quite well.
“When we received the details from control we quickly got into the ambulance and put on the blue lights and sirens.
“It was our mission to get to Louise as quickly as possible, so we could help her to deliver her baby safely into the world.”
Before Kirsty, Dave and Emily could enter the property, they ensured they were wearing the correct PPE, putting on their gloves, face masks and aprons.
The crew were greeted on arrival by dad, Tim and eldest son Harry, aged 3, who took them to Louise.
Kirsty said: “We sprang into action, providing Louise with reassurance and encouragement, telling her to push when she felt the urge to do so, as well as providing her with pain relief.
“I acted as a human stirrup for Louise, holding her foot up and allowing her to push her foot against my hand to act as a resistance to aid her.
“Within minutes baby Laurie was born and it was a lovely time getting to witness both mum, dad, Laurie’s older brother, and his gran, meeting him for the first time.”
Baby Laurie was born at 6.45am on 11 January 2021, weighing in at 7 pounds 9 ounces.
The next priority for the team was getting both Louise and Laurie to the hospital to get checked over.
Kirsty said: “We made sure Laurie stayed warm by wrapping him up and putting on his little hat before navigating getting Louise and Laurie out of the house and into the back of the ambulance.”
This was Emily’s first birth as a student paramedic and Kirsty has nothing but praise with how she handled the situation.
Kirsty added: “Emily was behind me every step of the way doing a fantastic job of encouraging mum, supplying her with gas and air and offering her water.
“Emily was excited and keen to learn what was in the best interests for both Louise and baby Laurie from the onset and she will continue to grow and develop as she gains more experience.
“This was very much a team effort and I am grateful that I was working with Dave and Emily throughout.”
Kirsty, Dave and Emily are all delighted to hear from Tim and Louise and wish them all the best of luck for the future as a family.
They said: “Louise and Laurie were our first patients of the day and they made the rest of our shift an amazing one as we knew we made a difference to the start of Laurie’s incredible journey into this world.
“Thank you so much for the flowers, chocolates and handmade card, they are such lovely gestures.
“We thought the name of the baby was beautiful, Tim and Louise had a few name ideas for their son but was still undecided until after he was born, and Laurie is such a lovely choice.
“It was a joy to meet the family and they were all so lovely.”