Call handler helps 'panicking' London dad deliver baby as wife goes into labour at home

Tap above to watch video report by Carolyn Sim

A young dad who "freaked out" when he realised his overdue wife was giving birth at home successfully delivered his daughter thanks to the calm advice of a 999 call handler.

Ahmed Mohammed faced an intense five minutes on the phone as he was told to wrap the baby in a towel and find something to tie the umbilical cord.

The 26-year-old said it was one of the most "profound experiences of his life" and praised the skill of call handlers.

"We had been to hospital earlier but had come back home to wait," Ahmed said.

"Soon after, we realised the baby was definitely coming and I just freaked out.

"I was panicking so much when I called 999 but the call handler was just so good.

"She kept me calm, she gave me clear instructions and kept reassuring me.

"She was very kind, even though I was understandably really worried and upset," he added.

Baby Aria Credit: London Ambulance Service

Ahmed's wife, Fatima, was a week overdue with her third baby when she unexpectedly went into labour.

Two ambulance crews and a paramedic arrived at the couple's home a few minutes after baby Aria was born, weighing a healthy 7lbs 4oz.

"All the crews were brilliant. They took such good care of us, making sure we were alright and the baby was well, and they took us to hospital so the baby could be checked over," Ahmed said.

Staff working in 999 control rooms need to be ready for anything and are given expert training from midwives on how to handle such situations.

"Needing 999 services during a labour or birth can be a really frightening thing to experience, but our staff and volunteers are here to help, whenever you need us," said London Ambulance Service midwife Camella Main.

"Call handlers take a wide range of maternity-related calls and they are trained to calmly and professionally inform the parents of what to do whilst they wait for paramedics to attend.

Camella Main, London Ambulance Service midwife Credit: London Ambulance Service

"When a call handler helps in the delivery of a baby they receive a stork badge as a small sign of appreciation for the impact they have had on a safe arrival," she explained.

Ahmed, a care outreach worker, came to Britain alone as a teenage refugee after being separated from his parents when they were fleeing violence in Nigeria.

But he says delivering his own child has been one of the most profound experiences.

He said: "It has been such a great experience for all of us, and for me personally to have done this – a young black man, a refugee, a Muslim. It’s changed my frame of reference, it’s such a positive, knowing what I can do for my family."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...