London bus makes special delivery

27 October 2009
"This is the first time in our history that we have helped someone welcome their child into the world on one of our buses"

This is the first time in our history that we have helped someone welcome their child into the world on one of our buses

The little boy's mother, Emiloju Fatimah Lawal, was travelling to Homerton Hospital after she went into Labour, but didn't quite make it to the hospital.

Her fourth child, Olacidebe Dennis Agbwla, was born at 9am on a single-deck-bus.

The bus driver, Pauline Jacobs and fellow passenger Carole Allen were on hand to provide assistance. 

Baby on board

Although Pauline contacted emergency services for assistance it soon became clear the baby was not going to wait so she pulled the bus over on Amhurst Road where Olacidebe was born just minutes later. 

The ambulance arrived shortly afterwards to find mother and baby both doing well.

Emiloju said: 'I had noticed something was not right in the night and had called the hospital who had advised me to come in. I wasn't in any pain and the baby wasn't due for another five days so I thought I would be fine, I certainly didn't expect to be giving birth on the bus.

'I am so glad and grateful Pauline and Carole were there to help me out.'

Pauline, who works for HCT Group who operate the 394, has been driving buses in London for the last six years, said: 'It was all a little bit overwhelming. 

Emergency training

'I was told by a passenger a heavily pregnant woman was in distress and to try and get to the hospital and the next thing I knew I was told to pull over as the baby was being born. 

'I'm just pleased I was able to help a bit and that everything turned out so well. It was a very tense situation, but my training covered emergencies so I knew to follow that - although I never expected a live birth on the 394!'

Carole Allen, who was also heading to Homerton Hospital where she works as a switchboard supervisor, said: 'It certainly wasn't like my normal Thursday morning journey to work! 

'It all happened so quickly, one minute the mother was complaining of pain and the next her baby boy was there. 

'I was so relieved to hear him cry. I picked him up, wrapped him in his mother's headscarf and laid him on her chest and then the ambulance arrived.'

Having been advised the single deck 394 bus is manufactured by Alexander Dennis, Emiloju thought it would be quite fitting to give her third son Dennis as a middle name. 

She said: 'I really want to show my appreciation and think it is quite nice for him to have a link with where he was born!'

Calm under pressure

David Brown, Managing Director, London Buses said:  'Just six months ago a baby boy was born on the Tube and I'm delighted that a London Bus has now offered a safe haven for Emiloju and Olacidebe. 

'Pauline did a great job, well above and beyond the call of duty and she deserves praise for being so calm under pressure.'

Staff at Ash Grove bus depot, based on Mare Street, were all delighted to hear of the new arrival on one of their buses and did a collection for mother and baby presenting them with a card and Mothercare vouchers.

Dai Powel, HCT Group Chief Executive, said 'This is the first time in our history that we have helped someone welcome their child into the world on one of our buses - and so we are all celebrating the new arrival. We are very proud of Pauline, who showed great presence of mind when helping with the birth.'

Notes to editors:

  • Picture available on request
  • HCT Group currently operate four bus routes in London; 153, 388, 394 and W12