Delight of train birth baby's dad
The father of a baby girl born on a train packed full of commuters during rush hour has said: "It feels like I'm on cloud nine."
Allan Stanley, 21, was travelling back to his mother's home with her and his partner Sonia Banks, 22, when the contractions started.
Moments later, on Thursday evening's 18:18 London Victoria to Maidstone East service, Miss Banks gave birth to a "perfectly healthy" 6lb 13oz baby called Phoebe.
Luckily a midwife, a nurse and a police officer, who were all off-duty, were on board the Southeastern service to help with the birth.
Mr Stanley, from Kent, said: "I felt like, 'Oh my God'. It feels like I'm on cloud nine. It's mad. I was present at the birth and witnessed everything. Everything's fine, they are just waiting for the doctor to do some tests and hopefully mother and baby will be released later."
Mr Stanley's mother, Mari-anne Stanley, said the birth, which came a week early, was greeted with cheers from other passengers. Explaining how it began, she said: "The train was stopped at West Malling to let passengers off and I ran off to the driver telling him we needed to not go any further and call an ambulance because she was giving birth."
Ms Stanley added: "Mum and child are doing very well. They are expected to be released from hospital today. We would like to thank everybody involved yesterday. We'd also like to apologise to all the passengers who were delayed but the circumstances were such that we simply could not go any further."
Ms Stanley was beside Miss Banks as she gave birth and joked that she was having her "fingers broken gently" during the labour. "When we were taken off to go to the ambulance there were people on the platform who gave us a rapturous round of applause and cheered. Passengers were lining the platform. It was a fantastic reception. The guard and the driver were extremely helpful. The driver was making announcements, keeping the passengers updated. The guard called the ambulance and was extremely helpful, and there was an off-duty nurse, off-duty midwife and an off-duty police officer on board the train, thank God."
Ms Stanley said it was a "pain-free labour" which lasted 15 minutes from around 7.15pm, and the baby was a second child for Miss Banks. A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokesman said: "We would like to thank the midwife for everything she did at the scene and also to everyone else on the train, but also we would like to wish mother and baby well."
It emerged Miss Banks had earlier been seen at Tunbridge Wells Hospital but was sent away as she was not in labour and contractions had not started. A spokesman for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust said: "Ms Banks was appropriately assessed at Tunbridge Wells Hospital, was not in labour and no contractions had started. As is standard practice, she was told to return home and re-attend the hospital once labour had begun. We would always encourage women to return to their home and not to travel further afield than is strictly necessary. The trust is pleased that a member of its staff, who was in the vicinity at the time, safely delivered baby Phoebe and we would like to pass on our congratulations to the couple." A trust spokesman later added: "We understand that Ms Banks had already returned home following her hospital assessment and was making a subsequent journey by train when she went into labour. We have spoken to Ms Banks and she has raised no care concerns with us."