Consett mum gives birth on petrol station forecourt in back of a Nissan pick-up

The difficulties in getting fuel deliveries through to petrol stations has been well-documented over the past week – but one County Durham garage had a delivery with a difference on Friday, when a baby was born on the forecourt. Stephanie Richardson, from Medomsley near Consett, gave birth to her third child Lucy Varley in the early hours of Friday morning at the Jet petrol station in Lanchester. The 29-year-old had been due to be induced just four hours later – but baby Lucy decided to make a dramatic appearance in the back of a Nissan Navara pick-up truck.

:Go here for more County Durham news and updates from County Durham Live Fortunately for Stephanie and partner Matthew Varley, also 29, their friend and midwife was on hand to ensure Lucy arrived safely weighing a healthy 6lb 15oz. Speaking to ChronicleLive, Stephanie reflected on a dramatic night for her family.

She 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.

But 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 for their part in bringing Lucy into the world. She 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 half three in the morning and she was born just after 4.30. 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!”

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