Page last updated at 18:53 GMT, Monday, 9 June 2008 19:53 UK

Bumble-bee woman in shock birth

Ally Ashwell
Ally Ashwell with her son Owen (Pic courtesy Blackpool Gazette)

A Tyneside woman who gave birth during a friend's hen night in Blackpool said she did not know she was pregnant.

Ally Ashwell, from Newcastle, was touring the seaside town's pubs and clubs in a bumble-bee outfit, when she began to feel unwell.

She returned to her hotel room, where the shocked 30-year-old found herself delivering her own baby.

The fragile 2lb boy - named Owen - is being cared for in the intensive care unit of Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

A shortage of available special care baby beds in Newcastle has meant Ms Ashwell remaining in Lancashire for three weeks since the birth.

It is hoped she will be able to travel to Tyneside soon.

'Little fighter'

A spokesman for the Blackpool Victoria Hospital said: "It is very unusual for a baby to be born in this situation, I think Owen has surprised us all by the progress he has made.

"At 26 weeks, the chance for survival is probably about 50 to 60 per cent and the fact he was born outside hospital will have reduced that survival rate.

"So it's a tribute to the paramedics for their work and to him for being a little fighter."

A spokesman for Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary added: "We would always make it a priority to repatriate local babies who are unexpectedly born elsewhere.

"However we are the largest neonatal intensive care unit in the region and have to give priority to emergencies and to babies who are very sick and in need of specialist care that only we can provide.

"We sympathise with the family for this unfortunate delay and as soon as a bed becomes available this baby will be first priority."

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