A mother who gave birth to her son on a National Express coach after unexpectedly going into labour has described the experience as “surreal but very good”.
Adepeju Opayemi, 30, from Hackney, cried for help from passengers as she experienced labour pains as her coach arrived at its scheduled stop at Heathrow Airport on its way from Swindon to London Victoria on May 24.
On board was a nurse who rushed to help Ms Opayemi to keep her calm, and lent her sweater for the mother-to-be to rest her head.
“One particular passenger who sat in front of me was a great help,” she said.
“I can’t recall her name, but I believe she is a nurse and was travelling with her two children.
“She kept me calm and stayed with me until the paramedics arrived. She even gave me her sweater to use as a pillow and I hope we can be reunited so I can personally thank her – and return her sweater.”
Paramedics were called to the coach, but Ms Opayemi gave birth within five minutes of them arriving.
Ms Opayemi, who gave birth to her son, Samuel, said she could not believe what was happening, but she is grateful to those who helped her safely deliver her baby.
“I just thought to myself this cannot be happening,” she said.
“The driver was absolutely amazing and kept reassuring me, he even went as far as getting a first-aider from the airport to assist while we were waiting for the paramedics.
“It was a surreal but very good experience I must say, I had people around me offering their support and words of encouragement.
“Afterwards I even got a call from National Express asking how the baby and I were doing which was really lovely. I’m so grateful Samuel arrived safely.”
Ms Opayemi was due to meet her aunt in London before she went into labour at her expected stop.
The driver, Tony Boswell, who drove his usual National Express 401 service from Swindon to London Victoria on May 24, was made aware of the surprise pregnancy and called for assistance from Heathrow Airport.
Mr Boswell the unexpected arrival is an experience that will “stay with me for a very long time” and enjoyed sharing a special moment with baby Samuel.
“My passengers are more important to me than anything else, once they get on board they are my first priority,” the 70-year-old coach driver from Melksham, Wiltshire said.
“It was such a heart-warming moment and I’m very grateful I was able to be a part of it.
“It was a team effort, with a wonderful nurse stepping up and the staff at Heathrow doing an amazing job.
“The other passengers were completely bemused by the whole thing, it’s not often I can say that I helped deliver a baby on a coach!”
He added: “It was so lovely to be reunited with the family and to have a cuddle with baby Samuel. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, this will stay with me for a very long time.”
Ed Rickard, service delivery director at National Express, said he was “immensely proud” of Mr Boswell’s response and initiative in the situation.
“We are immensely proud of Tony for his exceptional response in this situation,” he said.
“His professionalism, calmness and compassion is a testament to our unwavering commitment to passenger safety and well-being.
“We are delighted to welcome the newest member to the National Express family and everyone here extends their warmest congratulations to Mr and Mrs Opayemi.”