Snowmageddon 2010: Armed response unit had to get pregnant woman to hospital

A Hamilton woman who had a mad dash to hospital in the back of a police car during the extreme whiteout of 2010 has recalled that day a decade on.

Susanne Clark, of Windermere Gardens, was 40 weeks pregnant with her daughter when she went into labour during the worst snowfall to hit Lanarkshire in years.

Mum-of-two Susanne remembers being rushed to University Hospital Wishaw in the back of a police armed response unit jeep after getting stuck in gridlocked traffic in Hamilton town centre.

The 40-year-old recalls being absolutely terrified as her contractions got quicker and heavier while in the back of her neighbour’s 4×4.

Eventually, Susanne and husband John had to admit defeat and head for Hamilton police station for help.

Susanne Clark with baby Nieve in 2010.
(Image: Hamilton Advertiser)

Susanne, who owns her own cleaning business, said: “I remember that day very well.

“My son Callum was at nursery and we received news that the schools were closing due to the weather, so I went along and picked him up, but had been feeling some tinges and tightness that morning.

“When I got home the contractions really started to come on and our neighbour at the time, Neil, drove a 4×4 car so he offered to take us to hospital in his car.

“We got from Silvertonhill to the top of Quarry Street and realised that no one was going anywhere quickly that day. It took us over an hour to get to the back of the New Cross Centre, but we realised everything from there on was at a standstill.

“I remember a man walking up the hill and telling us that nothing was moving on the roads and that he had to walk from Motherwell. We had no option but to go into the police station.”

Upon arrival at Hamilton Police Station a sergeant greeted the couple and quickly made a call to a local midwife who determined that Susanne did indeed need to get to the hospital and fast.

Susanne Clark with baby Nieve in 2020.
(Image: Hamilton Advertiser)

Susanne added: “The police officer was explaining that he been on a midwifery course but had never delivered a baby so he had called for a midwife from a local surgery to pop down, but after a quick examination she said we needed to be in the hospital.

“The officer said there was no option but to take me in the armed response unit vehicle as that would be able to get through all the snow. But, because of the guns in the car they wouldn’t allow John to come with me, so he had to follow behind in another police car.

“The car journey up the dual carriageway was very surreal. It was so eerie, yet chaotic at the same time.

“There were cars abandoned and people trudging through the snow with babies in their arms and pushing prams.

“I was really starting to panic at that point.”

Thankfully, the armed response vehicle did indeed cope with the snowfall and the police safely delivered Susanne to the hospital with minutes to spare – but husband John was nowhere to be found.

Susanne continued: “It turned out John’s police car stopped to help an elderly person who had fallen in the snow but he was en route. Thankfully he made it with 10 minutes to spare before our baby girl made her arrival.”

The couple called their healthy new addition Nieve and later discovered via an internet search that her name meant ‘snow’.

Susanne added: “It was December 6 and Nieve arrived at 7.31pm. She was very healthy and we were over the moon to have made it to the hospital just in time.

“Then when we announced her name my dad Googled it and found out that Nieve actually means snow. We had no idea at the time and it couldn’t have fallen into place any better really.”

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