26th May 2018
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‘Air born’ baby Steven an isles’ first

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Iona Williamson and Luke Rees safely home with baby Steven Robert Rees-Polden.

This is the baby boy who made history this week by being the first to be born in a Shetland Coastguard helicopter.

Baby Steven, weighing in at just over seven pounds, was born 1,000 feet above Lunna Holm near Vidlin at 6.30am on Tuesday to parents Iona Williamson and Luke Rees from Unst. He was a “text book” delivery, according to the winchman who brought him into the world.

Events unfolded early on Tuesday when the Sumburgh-based helicop­ter was called.

Iona was in labour when her doctor phoned Shetland Coastguard at 4.30am to find out ferry times to the Mainland. After speaking with the Scottish Ambulance Service, the Sumburgh-based helicopter R102 was dispatched. It was airborne at 5.40am and landed in Unst at 6am, taking on board the expectant mother and father.

Minutes into the flight to Lerwick it became clear the birth was more imminent than envisaged.

Baby Steven could not wait and was delivered by winchman para­medic Marcus Wigfull, assisted by Friedie Manson, the winch operator and paramedic, about 20 minutes into the flight.

Iona and Luke found it an in­credible experience, with their emo­tions veering between fear and elation.

Iona said: “We are really thankful to all the emergency services who came out that night and morning, especially Doctor Emma Ramsay in Unst, ambulance crews at both ends and a huge thank you to the para­medics on the helicopter who did an amazing job. They were so polite and did everything so professionally. Everything happened so quickly, we were frightened and excited at the same time.”

After the birth Iona and Steven, whose full name is Steven Robert Rees-Polden, were taken into the Gilbert Bain Hospital. They were discharged the next day and went back home to Unst to join Steven’s big brother Alex.

Iona said: “We are relieved it’s all over and have been overwhelmed by all the attention we’ve received especially from the media. We are glad to be home again, everything is good and we are all really happy.”

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About Rosalind Griffiths

I am a Shetland Times reporter covering news, including health stories, and features. I have been in Shetland for more than 30 years.

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