Mum gives birth in pitch-black petrol station hours before she was to be induced

A mum has given birth in the back of a pickup truck on a petrol station forecourt after her daughter decided to make a dramatic entrance into the world.

Stephanie Richardson, 29, gave birth to her third child, Lucy, in the early hours of Friday morning.

The birth came as Brits have faced hours of queues to fill up with fuel due to supply issues, with many petrol stations having to close as desperate drivers buy out their supply.

Stephanie, from Medomsley, County Durham, had been due to be induced just four hours later – but baby Lucy decided to make her appearance in the back of a Nissan Navara at the Jet petrol station on the A691 in Lanchester.

Fortunately for Stephanie and her partner Matthew Varley, their midwife – a close friend – was on hand to ensure Lucy arrived safely weighing a healthy 6lb 15oz.

Reflecting on a dramatic night for her family, Stephanie said: “I’m doing alright now after the drama of it all.

“It’s just crazy how something like that can happen at the side of the road. I woke up in the middle of the night with pain and I knew it was time.

“I phoned the midwife who was booked in to deliver my baby at 8am in the morning, and I said: ‘You need to come over, the baby’s here.’

“We were going to the hospital with my partner driving, the midwife in the front and me on all fours in the back of our pick-up. There’s no gas and air in the back of a truck!

“We got from Medomsley to St Bede’s School and had to stop at the petrol station. It actually closes so it was pitch black. The midwife said to ring 999 but within seconds the baby was on the forecourt of the garage.”

Stephanie’s 14-month-old son Jake was born during lockdown, but spent time in intensive care and almost died, meaning both Stephanie and Matthew were worried about any potential complications.

Thankfully, the midwife was able to deliver Lucy safely by torchlight, and the new arrival was taken to the University Hospital of North Durham.

Stephanie paid tribute to both her midwife and Matthew, also 29, for their part in bringing Lucy into the world.

Stephanie continued: “I’m just very lucky to have a friend who has a very experienced midwife. She is renowned in the area, she’s delivered everybody’s baby.

“I think we would have been a lot more scared – she was very calm. She’s delivered babies in the hospital car park before, but never in a petrol station!

“I’m just so lucky she was there. It was only about 40 minutes from start to finish – my other labours were about eight hours. It was a big shock.

“Matthew, you could see he was worried but he was just cool and calm. I couldn’t have got through it without him, he’s just amazing.

“Anything could’ve happened. Looking back I should have stayed at home, but it was 3.30am and she was born just after 4.30am. She quite literally shot into the world.”

Lucy is now at home with her brother Jake and five-year-old sister Alice.

Asked if she will have any more children, Stephanie added: “I think after that, I think three is enough – three is a nice number, you can fit three kids in a car.”