A mum has given birth to her baby girl in the car park at University Hospital Lewisham.

Brenda Magalhaes Arruda’s waters broke at 6am on Monday, April 11 – one week before her due date.

She was cleaning the toilet at her Eltham home when it happened, and thought she had plenty of time after her eight-hour labour with son Isaac.

News Shopper: Isaac and baby EstherIsaac and baby Esther

Brenda, 22, “pottered around” at home for a couple of hours, and it wasn’t until she experienced strong contractions that her and her husband Pedro went to hospital.

The pair dropped two-year-old Isaac at Brenda’s mum’s and drove to University Hospital Lewisham.

In the car, Brenda realised she was already in full labour.

She explained: “I was cleaning the toilet when it happened.

“I thought I had plenty of time as I’d had an eight-hour labour with my son, Isaac, so I pottered around at home for a couple of hours.

“Then, I said to Pedro I could feel the baby coming but he just laughed and said, ‘no, she can’t be’”.

When the pair arrived at the hospital at around 9am, Pedro ran to get a wheelchair - leaving Brenda standing by the car alone.

News Shopper: Brenda, Pedro and baby EstherBrenda, Pedro and baby Esther

She added: “I could feel the head coming and I was screaming with pain.

“There was a man on his phone nearby who looked at me and said ‘oh Jesus what do I do?’

"I told him to get a nurse or someone and that’s when Donna came.”

Healthcare Assistant Donna Doyle, 41, had been checking in patients at the nearby surgical pre-assessment suite when the man from the car park came rushing in, shouting: “There’s a woman in the car park – I think she’s giving birth and needs some help.”

“I told him to go and get a wheelchair from A&E, while I ran out to see Brenda,” said Donna.

“She was standing in the middle of the car park and I could see she was in labour.

“I asked her name and started rubbing her back but she couldn’t speak properly as she was in so much pain.

“She kept saying ‘the head, the head’ so I looked down and saw that the baby’s head was out.

“I didn’t really know what to do so I just kept saying ‘don’t worry, we’re getting help, don’t worry.’

News Shopper: Brenda, Pedro, Isaac and EstherBrenda, Pedro, Isaac and Esther

“I’ve never delivered a baby before and don’t have children myself, so I tried to remember what I’ve seen on TV.”

A big contraction then came and Brenda screamed that the baby was coming.

Donna explained: “We both bent down and caught the baby at the same time.

“The baby was really slippery and started to cry.

“Then a couple of women in the car park came running over.

“I asked one of them to get a towel from Brenda’s bag to wrap the baby in.”

The man from the car park arrived with a wheelchair, but Brenda was too uncomfortable to sit down.

Then a porter came rushing over with a trolley and together they got Brenda and the baby, still attached to the umbilical cord, on to the trolley.

At this point, Pedro came back.

“He’d only been gone for 10 minutes and his wife had already given birth,” said Donna.

“He couldn’t believe it.

"He was in shock.”

A group of doctors and nurses arrived on the scene and took Brenda and the baby to the labour ward so that she could deliver the placenta.

Donna visited the maternity ward later that afternoon to see how Brenda and the baby were doing.

Brenda said: ““At first I didn’t recognise her and then I said ‘oh, it’s you.’

“I told her how thankful I was that she’d been with me during the birth and was there to catch the baby as she came out.”

For Donna, who lives in Forest Hill, the whole experience has been very emotional.

“It was lovely to see Brenda and the baby,” said Donna.

“I was so glad to see them safe and well.

"One funny thing was that staff on the ward told me that Brenda and Pedro had named the baby Easter as she’d been born so close to the Easter weekend.

“But it turned out they’d misheard as they’d actually named her Esther.”

Baby Esther weighed in at 3.6 kilogrammes and mum and baby were able to go home the next day.

Brenda added: “It might sound strange, but it was a really great birth.

“It took just three hours, and I did most of it completely alone.

“I feel great – I can walk about and I’m looking forward to having a good rest.”

Lizzie Thomas, Sister on the Surgical Pre-Assessment Suite, said: “We’re all so proud of Donna.

“Her dedication, care and compassion shine through, and we’re just blown away by how she supported Brenda in her time of need.”

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