With our links to royalty, it was perhaps fitting that there was a rush of babies born at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital on the same day as the new prince.
About 2,500 babies are born at QEH each year (an average of around seven per day).
But on Monday (April 23), as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their third child into the world, we had 11 new arrivals here – and a 12th came into our care after being born in the back of a car while en route to QEH.
Watching the images of William and Kate presenting their newborn son to the world’s media on Monday evening were Zhi Wei Zheng and Darlene Suttle and their 18-month-old daughter Zhia.
Little did the Newmarket couple know how their world was about to change.
Sitting in their caravan at Manor Park in Hunstanton at about 9.30pm, Darlene suddenly began to get the feeling that their second child was not about to wait until his due date of May 13.
After getting advice from West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, where a scan was scheduled for Tuesday morning (April 24), contractions began and the couple set about getting themselves to a nearer hospital as soon as possible.
They knocked on the door of a fellow caravan owner, who they didn’t know, and he agreed to drive them to QEH. However, just a few miles down the road, near Snettisham, Darlene felt the overwhelming need to push and at the third attempt she delivered her son into her own arms, while sitting alongside her partner in the back of the moving car.
She said: “I was trying to be as quiet as possible because I didn’t want to worry the driver!
“It’s scary to read in the newspapers about people giving birth in vehicles and then it happens to me!
“We’d seen the images of Kate with her baby and who would think of our baby just coming like that so soon afterwards?
“After 9pm it started to feel a bit painful and I started to think ‘I’m in labour.’ When I was in the car I was thinking ‘please let me reach the hospital.’”
But the 7lb 1oz baby – as yet unnamed – was born at about 10.45pm, at 37 weeks and one day.
When the makeshift delivery suite arrived at QEH, Zhi Wei leapt out.
He said: “I ran into A&E and said ‘my wife’s had a baby in the car!”
The couple are fond of the Royal family and Darlene was amazed at how good Kate looked so soon after giving birth. Well, she didn’t have half the drama that Darlene endured!
Meanwhile, just seven minutes after Kate Middleton gave birth at 11.01am, Swaffham mum Louise Lamb had her second child at QEH – Rosie June, weighing 7lb.
Louise had an elective Caesarean section and arrived at 8am, roughly the same time that the world found out that the duchess was in labour.
“My sister texted me at 10am to say that I was in competition!” said Louise. “I didn’t find out until afterwards that Kate had beaten me.”
She added: “I saw the pictures of Kate on the hospital steps later. I couldn’t believe it – she just looked so fresh-faced. She looked better than I do when I’m not pregnant!”
Louise is a big fan of the Royal Family, and particularly Kate. She even claims to have seen the duchess (accompanied by a bodyguard) shopping in Waitrose in Swaffham.
Lesley Deacon, head of midwifery at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have fantastic maternity services at QEH including the midwifery-led pathway for women to have their babies at home or on the Waterlily Birth Centre.
“We’re delighted to have had so many babies safely delivered here on such a special day for the Royal family, which obviously has strong links with our hospital and the county. We want to send all our best wishes to the mothers, babies and families we care for.”
Featured image caption: Parents Zhi Wei Zheng and Darlene Suttle, with daughter Zhia and their newborn son.
Words and pictures: NIGEL CHAPMAN, QEH Media Relations Officer
To download the press release and images click here