The mother of a young cancer patient has become the first woman to give birth at Great Ormond Street children’s hospital [in the Reuben Foundation Children’s Cancer Centre].
Nicola Tyler went into labour while she was staying with her daughter Kelly as the six-year-old had treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Nurses at the hospital, which does not have a maternity unit, called for help from the nearby University College Hospital but had to deliver Zac on the ward.
It is the first time in the hospital’s 157-year history that a baby has been born on the premises.
Today Ms Tyler, 32, who also has a daughter Chloe, nine, said Kelly had been nervous when her mother started to experience contractions and was taken into a side room. “I thought that she’s had enough trauma in her life,” Ms Tyler said.
But when Kelly, whose tumour was discovered when she went to have her tonsils out in June, was brought back in to see the baby, she was delighted.
“Her smile said everything,” said Ms Tyler. “She was really pleased, calling all the nurses in, saying, Come and see my brother’.”
Kelly, who has finished her treatment and is back home with her family in Canvey Island, Essex , was in hospital for nine days. Ms Tyler had chosen to stay with her while her partner Dave Abbott stayed at home.
She said she had been worried that she might go into labour but believed she would have plenty of time to get to another hospital. Four days into the stay on the Elephant ward she started to feel contractions.
Ward sister Sue Snaith called UCH — a 10-minute drive away — and was told that because the contractions were 30 minutes apart there would be plenty of time to transfer Ms Tyler.
Ms Tyler also called Mr Abbott, 38, and he set off for the hospital. She said: “I went and took a warm bath and lay on the bed in Kelly’s room, but within a matter of minutes my contractions had become stronger and more frequent.”
Great Ormond Street specialist registrar Sangeeta Mudaliar checked Ms Tyler. The mother-of-three said: “I then heard a voice saying I can see the head, you’re fully dilated Nicola but you can’t push yet, we need to wait for the paramedics’.”
Moments later Zac was delivered, with the help of a senior nurse, who is also a qualified midwife, and two other staff. Mr Abbott arrived 10 minutes later.
Ms Tyler said: “It is incredible that such a broad team of specialists helped me give birth to my beautiful baby boy and I cannot thank them enough, not just for the care they gave to Zac and I, but for what they have done for Kelly.”
Zac was born five days early on 4 September. He spent the first four days of his life with his mother and sister in Great Ormond Street while Kelly finished her treatment.