Trauma of husband being hurt in crash sees woman give birth nine weeks early
A Plymouth woman went in Labour nine weeks early after finding out her husband had been involved in a horrific high-speed crash.
It took firefighters two hours to cut Adam Hambry free from the wreckage of the crash in Lipson Road, the medical staff worked for days to keep him alive.
The trauma of seeing Adam fighting for his life in hospital saw wife Jo go into Labour - and hospital staff wheeled Jo down from intensive care to maternity so he could be next to her while their daughter was born.
Proud father Adam has described the horror crash that nearly killed him – and the joy of holding his newborn daughter for the first time.
The 32-year-old almost lost his life when, as reported in The Herald, his car was involved in a head-on smash in Lipson Road two weeks ago.
Little Grace Hambly was born an extraordinary nine weeks early on Thursday.
Emotional Adam said: "The last two weeks have been the lowest and highest points of my life.
"I'm just so happy to be here at all."
The commercial line fisherman was returning from work with friends when the crash happened.
Amazingly, after dropping a pal, he had buckled his seatbelt just yards before his silver Subaru Impreza was in collision with a black Ford Focus.
The two men in that car escaped without serious injury, while Adam's passenger suffered a chest injury and a fractured sternum.
But the expectant dad shattered his right leg, damaged a finger, ripped muscles in his neck and fractured his hip.
"It was wearing seatbelts that saved us," he told The Herald from his hospital bed.
"The roof was one inch clear of my head. The police said if I was in a different car I would've died."
At Derriford Hospital, Adam was rushed into the first of four operations.
Surgeons fitted metal pins to re-attach 20 pieces of bone, stitching Adam's leg back together with dozens of thick staples.
"They said there was a 25 per cent chance of losing the limb," he said. "I accepted I was going to lose it to be honest – I was just happy to be alive.
"It's going to be six months before I can walk again and they've said I probably won't ever walk straight again.
"But the way I see it, you still get where you're going by walking sideways.
"It's unbelievable what they've done. They're a bunch of angels here."
Wife Jo, pregnant with the St Judes couple's first child, received a phone call from the scene of the crash telling her Adam was trapped in his car.
Although not due to give birth until January 24, the 35-year-old council worker began having contractions while visiting her husband in hospital.
Adam, keen to be present despite being bed-bound, put pals on 24-hour standby to whisk him to the maternity ward.
But it was another four days until nurses, in the early hours of Thursday morning, gave him the news that the baby was on its way.
"They couldn't get a porter," said Adam, whose leg was still open at the time following surgery.
"The nurses rushed me into the lift and got me to the maternity ward.
"A couple of Naval nurses got me down there like a bat out of hell.
"I was in the delivery room on one bed and Jo was on the bed next to me.
"It was amazing what they did for us; it's never happened before, apparently.
"We're convinced it was the stress of the crash that brought on the contractions."
Staff were unable to wheel Adam's bed into the operating theatre to witness the caesarian section, but just minutes later he came face-to-face with tiny Grace.
"As soon as the baby arrived I just forgot about everything," Adam said. "She's amazing.
"We couldn't have asked for a healthier baby. She's just beautiful."
Adam and Jo were each able to see the youngster for barely a minute before she was whisked off to an incubator in the intensive care ward.
But despite facing the next four weeks in hospital, the only help Grace needs is with feeding.
The youngster, who was not due until January 24, weighed just 4lbs 6oz when she was born at 3am on Thursday.
She is still on a drip in intensive care but, despite being as light as a two-litre bottle of water, is perfectly healthy.
Adam, who is now preparing for a family Christmas in hospital, faces six months of operations and rehabilitation before he is able to walk again.
After hospital staff tinkered with a wheelchair to give 6ft 4in Adam a way of leaving his bed for the first time since the crash, he was able to visit mother and baby himself yesterday, holding 'Gracie' for the first time.
"I was in massive discomfort," Adam said. "But when I got down there I didn't feel the pain.
"She's just amazing. Her whole hand is as big as my thumb.
"Every single thing that's happened to us, it's the mathematical equation of a miracle, really."
Jo, herself recovering in hospital and confined to a wheelchair, said she felt blessed that both baby and dad had survived. It's been a pretty horrific few weeks," she said. "But now we have a baby.
"I'm the luckiest person alive at the moment. I thank my lucky stars every day. It could have been a totally different Christmas."
Devon and Cornwall Police said its Serious Collisions Investigations Unit was working to establish the circumstances leading up to the crash.
It happened near the junction with Coleridge Road at around 7.30pm on Saturday, November 17. Officers, who returned to the scene this week, are keen to hear from witnesses.
Anyone with information should call the police on 101 quoting log number 653 of November 17.