St Albans couple's baby born in Chinese restaurant car park

PUBLISHED: 12:40 02 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:30 06 May 2010

Baby Arnold with proud parents Peter and Debs and his brother and sister, Daisy and Herbie

Baby Arnold with proud parents Peter and Debs and his brother and sister, Daisy and Herbie

WHEN Peter and Debs Willson stopped off at a Chinese restaurant on Saturday night, it was for a completely unexpected takeaway – a brand-new baby. Peter, 42, and pregnant wife Debs, 37, from Bury Green, Wheathampstead, were on their way to Welwyn Garden C

WHEN Peter and Debs Willson stopped off at a Chinese restaurant on Saturday night, it was for a completely unexpected takeaway - a brand-new baby.

Peter, 42, and pregnant wife Debs, 37, from Bury Green, Wheathampstead, were on their way to Welwyn Garden City's QEII after she started having contractions - but baby Arnold arrived before they could get there.

He was born in the car park of the restaurant at Stanborough Lake where Peter had pulled in so he could ask someone to ring for help while he was looking after his wife.

And within minutes of a paramedic coming on the other end of the phone, Arnold popped out at a healthy 7lbs 13oz.

The couple had visited QEII earlier in the day for a procedure to encourage their tardy baby - nine days overdue - to arrive.

They went home and around 5pm Debs was experiencing contractions.

Peter said: "We were not worried because they were not frequent enough to give concern but by 9pm they had gotten stronger, then her waters broke.

"I phoned the hospital en route to let them know we were coming but I feared we wouldn't make it by the shape Debs was in."

Peter, who runs a property maintenance company called Admiral Facilities Management, and his wife already have two children Daisy, four and Herbie, two, whom they left with a neighbour.

He said: "Debs told me to pull over because the baby's coming but I kept going a bit further until we got to The East Chinese restaurant at Stanborough Lake. I knew I would need help in speaking to the medics over the phone and looking after Debs so I kept going to the nearest place with people around.

"I pulled up in the car park where there were a man and a woman whom I asked to ring 999 as my wife was having a baby."

Frightening

They got a paramedic on the phone who talked Peter through the birth which happened within minutes in the back of Peter's Vauxhall Vivara van - and less than 10 minutes after they left home.

The paramedic advised him to check Arnold's airways, wipe him down with a cloth and make sure the cord was not snagged around anything.

Then a paramedic arrived, checked mum and baby over and gave Peter a special pair of scissors with which to cut the umbilical cord.

Peter took the baby into the restaurant to keep him warm until an ambulance arrived to take mum and baby to hospital.

He said: "The staff were really nice. No-one made a fuss. They just brought me a fan heater because it was cold outside and a bowl of water and a flannel."

Peter then drove home, changed and cleaned out his van and returned to QEII where he stayed until 1.30am.

Mum and baby were released from hospital at midday on Sunday - none the worse for Arnold's speedy entry into the world.

Peter added: "it was a bit frightening but it's amazing how you cope when you have to just get on with it. Luckily, Arnold was not as big as our previous son who caused Debs to suffer a broken artery. That would have been very dangerous if that had happened but luckily it was a smooth, easy birth for Debs who said it was almost painless.

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CountryPhile

Recently we, as a family (minus two of the kids), visited The Lodge RSPB reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. I had never been before, which is perhaps amiss of me as a birdwatcher as it is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB and only 45 minutes drive from home.

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