Business reporter Joe Lynam's son born in car

Riina, Joe and baby Sean Seán was born in a car at 2am on Friday

As a business reporter, Joe Lynam is used to chasing a story; he's less used to making the headlines himself.

On Friday morning, however, that all changed. His second son, Seán, was born in the car park of Chelsea and Westminster hospital in London after his partner Riina gave birth by herself in the front seat of the family car.

'The contractions started at midnight and they didn't have the frequency or intensity that would warrant a trip to the labour ward based on the previous experience with our first child born last year,' Joe tells Ariel.

But after they got stronger and more intense, hospital staff advised the couple to come in.

What followed was a dramatic drive from Joe's home in Ealing to the hospital on Fulham Road.

Riina's waters broke somewhere near Television Centre. As Joe drove through Earls Court at 55mph, he recalls that he was 'breaking every red light I could see because Riina said to me, "This baby is coming right now, I can see its head, this baby is crowning"'.

Too late

They arrived at Chelsea and Westminster at about 2am, but the doors to the hospital were shut. Joe banged on them, pleading for help. 'They didn't immediately let me in because I could have been a drunk out at 2 o'clock in the morning,' the journalist explains.

Once they established the emergency was real, nurses, doctors and midwives swung into action with stretchers and aid - but it was too late. Joe walked backed to the car 90 seconds later and 'there was Riina cradling my newborn son, the two of them just looking up at me'.

Joe was immediately thankful that it was a warm June night and not an icy February morning.

'We quickly wrapped up the baby, Riina got on the stretcher, I parked the car and I came up [to the ward] and there she was on the bed. She's absolutely amazing, how she stayed completely calm, collected and delivered this baby with absolutely no fuss and honestly no medical experience either.'

Both mother and baby are healthy and well - and Joe has had a short time to reflect on his son's entrance into the world during a coffee break.

'Pretty useless'

'I'm used to breaking stories and running studios and trying to get my thoughts together and stay calm on air, but this was one story I had never anticipated nor could deal with. All I could do was drive; I couldn't contribute anything towards the medical situation and I felt pretty useless, to be honest with you.'

The 42-year-old reporter, who works for the business and economics unit, adds: 'I presume that's how children were born hundreds of years ago. In this day and age it's very rare, but I am in absolute awe of my own partner.'

It's completely different to his first son's delivery. Eduard, now 16 months old, was delivered with forceps after a 40-hour labour. 'It was a long, drawn-out process and awfully painful for poor Riina. Whereas this one was painful and intense for 15 minutes and then she gave birth herself.'

The Vauxhall Astra didn't fare as well as the mother and baby. Joe guesses it will need some 'serious valet work'.

'It's funny, I had a look at [Riina's] medical sheet and it says, baby delivered safely in the car park,' the business reporter laughs.


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