A Debenham family has paid their thanks to a call handler after she calmly talked their way through a tricky breech birth.
34-year-old Heidi Allard went to hospital on January 3, but was told her labour was not yet at an advanced stage and was sent home.
However, on her arrival home, she and father-to-be Craig realised that their baby was not going to wait - so they called 999.
Julie Jaciuk, an East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) call handler for six years, took the call and talked the family through the delivery.
Despite having dealt with deliveries in the past, it was the first time Julie had been faced with a breech birth - where the baby comes out feet first.
Craig said: ”Heidi was starting to push so I rang 999. Julie was brilliant and calmly talked me through what I should do if the baby started to deliver. Fortunately my mother-in-law Val arrived and took over the phone relaying instructions to me while I helped Heidi.”
Julie added: “Val told me that the baby was coming feet first, something I’d never had to deal with before. A breech birth can be dangerous so the best place for the mother to be is in hospital, but unfortunately the baby wasn’t going to wait that long.
“Fortunately both Craig and Val were brilliant. They listened to my instructions and followed them perfectly. Understandably in these situations people can panic, but the family were brilliant and ensured the delivery went smoothly.”
Heidi gave birth to a healthy girl, named Hetty, 14 minutes after the emergency call was made.
Last Tuesday, the family introduced call handler Julie to baby Hetty - marking the first time she had met a patient that she had helped.
“I knew how dangerous a breech birth could be and if it hadn’t been for Julie on the phone we would have had no idea what to do. We all wanted to meet her to thank her, as we really couldn’t have done it without her and nothing we can say or do would ever thank her enough,” explained Val.
Julie added: “It is calls like this that make the job I do worthwhile and it was brilliant to meet Hetty.
“Calls where the baby is delivering in a breech position are very rare, and although I was calm on the surface, I was naturally nervous. I was so relieved when the baby was born safely.
“A lot of people think our job is just a case of sending an ambulance, but it’s a lot more than that, we can give advice on every type of situation available, as this call showed!”