Woman who gave birth in Harold Wood Polyclinic toilets had ‘no idea she was pregnant’

09:35 24 January 2014

Emma O'Doherty, age 24 with Gary Beechey, age 28, Louise O'Doherty, age 7,  George Beechey, age 3 and baby Harry Beechey,

Emma O'Doherty, age 24 with Gary Beechey, age 28, Louise O'Doherty, age 7, George Beechey, age 3 and baby Harry Beechey,


A woman who had no idea she was pregnant gave birth in the waiting room toilets at Harold Wood Polyclinic on Friday.

Doctors and nurses rushed to help Emma O’Doherty, 24, as she had her baby in a cubicle after a shock 10 minute labour.

Mum and little Harry, who weighed 7lb 13oz, were safe and well after the ordeal.

Not knowing she was pregnant, Emma had left work at Creative Kids Nursery in Gidea Park for a check-up because she felt under the weather.

Partner Gary Beechey, 28, said: “She’d not been feeling well for a few days and thought she had an infection so her friend took her to the polyclinic.

“She went to the toilet and she called me asking me to come because she had bad stomach pains. I got there just in time.”

Emma, who already has two children, could not have been in a better place for the surprise birth but it was a terrifying moment.

Gary, 28, said: “I will never forget the image of my partner’s face when I walked in the bathroom, she was so frightened.

“It was worrying for me but it was her body. You hear of things like this when the mum and baby don’t make it.”

Jake Portsmouth was waiting for an appointment with his GP as the drama unfolded.

He said: “It was so weird that it was happening in the room next to me and I didn’t hear a thing.

“I think it was a shock to everyone. It was one of the most surreal things.”

Polyclinic staff said they were “absolutely delighted” to help with the surprise arrival.

Members of the public, who had been cleared out of centre, cheered the family as they left.

Gary, who works as a roofer, said it was an “emotional moment”, although he had difficulty taking it all in.

He added: “I can’t praise the polyclinic enough – they were fantastic.”

An ambulance took them to Queen’s Hospital, in Romford, where Emma and Harry were kept under observation until Tuesday.

They are now back home in Collier Row.

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