Lucie Laycock, Services Manager at the Aizlewood Business Centre, in Aizlewood’s Mill on Sheffield’s Nursery Street, has more reason than most to have a strong sentimental attachment to her six-year-old Renault Scenic. She gave birth to her second child in it!
It was Tuesday 20th July 2010, 6.45am. I’d just waved my partner Jon off to work without bothering to tell him I thought my contractions had started.
I wasn’t nervous; this was our second child and I was quite blasé about what lay before me. Labour with Macie three years before had lasted over 13 hours: in my mind I had lots of time to prepare.
I had a grand plan of how the birth was going to be. I’d booked a birthing pool at the Jessops Wing of the Hallamshire Hospital. I’d expected to saunter in and it all to take a very long time.
By 7.45am, the contractions were getting a lot stronger but I still thought it would be fine to leave it a bit longer before summoning Jon. Just 15 minutes later, however, contractions were coming every three minutes. I was stunned at how quickly things had progressed. I phoned my sister and asked her to come over to Strabroke to collect Macie and decided it was definitely time to call Jon at the building site he was working on.
By 8.45am I was waddling over to my green Renault Scenic. I had to stop briefly while a contraction came and went, then managed to perch myself on the front seat. It was the morning rush-hour; we crawled down the Parkway at a snail’s pace in the heavy traffic.
Suddenly, my waters broke. Why I didn’t take a towel with me to put on the seat I’ll never know. I thought: oh my God, I’m going to give birth on the Parkway with loads of commuters looking on.
Jon was in a panic. It was obvious time was running out. He drove like a rally car driver, zig-zagging through the lanes of traffic right along the ring-road. I think we even ran a couple of red lights.
I was holding onto the assist handle above my door like my life depended on it. My body was an arc; my head was pushed against the headrest and my feet were jammed into the foot-well
But as we raced up to the road outside Sheffield Children’s Hospital I felt the overwhelming urge to push. I tried so hard not to, but my baby boy had other ideas and his head was already crowning. I remember a man in a mini looking at me in horror as we flew past him. My face must have been a picture of pain and anguish.
I think adrenaline blocked the pain out. I remember worrying that I’d still got my jogging bottoms on and the baby was going to end up down one leg.
Jon was beeping the horn and flashing the lights at traffic in our way as we raced on to the Jessops. We pulled into the hospital car park and as he leapt out of the car and ran in to alert a midwife I sprawled through the gap between the front seats, my head on the back seat.
It was 9.10am as three midwives tore across the car park to my aid. They opened the door and whipped my clothes off. My bare legs were dangling out of the passenger door but I was past caring if anyone could see me. They tried to put plastic sheets underneath me to protect the car but it was too late for that. Our son Frankie was born there and then, in the front seat of my car, weighing in at a healthy 8lb 2oz.
We were on our way home from hospital a couple of hours later - with me sitting in the back this time! My poor front seat has never recovered. When people get into the car and catch sight of what they think is a watermark, I daren’t tell them what it really is.
I’ve no plans to get rid of the car. It is so roomy and reliable. It’s taken us on many a family holiday in comfort. And of course, it has such sentimental value.
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