Sonia Banks was a week away from her due date, but her waters broke early. The 22-year-old knew that her baby wouldn’t wait, so she went to the hospital. After all, with her last baby she had required a blood transfusion, so she didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Then her heart sank as the hospital turned her away.
Sonia Banks and her partner Allan Stanley lived in Cuxton, Kent, about an hour’s travel south-east of London, England. Banks had been due to give birth in March 2013, and when her waters broke a week early, they jumped on a train to their hospital, 22 miles away. With the difficulties that had previously occurred during her four-year-old son’s birth, the couple wanted to be extra-sure that their baby was delivered safely.
However, at the hospital, Banks was told that her baby wouldn’t arrive for “a long while,” so they sent her home until labor started. But soon after the couple boarded the train with Stanley’s mom, Banks’ contractions began. As she described to newspaper the Daily Mirror in March 2013, “I kept thinking, ‘I don’t want to… [give] birth on a train in front of all those people’.”
When the train made a routine stop, Stanley’s mom ran to inform the driver what was happening. The driver then put a call out to passengers for medical staff to help. As luck had it, a police officer, a nurse and a midwife, all off-duty, stepped up to assist in Banks’ labor; the delivery actually only lasted about 15 minutes.
“I remember leaning over a seat, and it all happened so quickly,” Banks recalled to the Daily Mirror. Passengers were moved out of the busy commuter carriage to allow her some privacy. Stanley added, “[My] mom ran onto the platform shouting, ‘It’s a girl!’ and everybody cheered and clapped.” An ambulance arrived ten minutes later to take Banks and newborn daughter Phoebe to hospital for routine checks.