A first-time mum turned away from the city maternity unit ended up almost giving birth in a hospital car park 20 miles away.
Suzie Gillings, 30, was told there was no room at Milton Keynes hospital when she called to say she was in labour.
She and her partner drove for 30 minutes to Bedford hospital, where Suzie promptly collapsed on the ground in agony.
Baby Rico was set to make his entrance in the world in the car park, before doctors whisked Suzie to the maternity ward.
Her contractions were coming less than two minutes apart when she and partner Chris Richards called to tell MK hospital they were coming in.
“We were shocked to hear there was no space. At that point I started panicking,” said Suzie, who lives at Newton Leys near Bletchley.
As the contractions became more frequent, her midwife made frantic neighbouring Stoke Mandeville and Luton and Dunstable maternity units - only to be told they were also full to the brim.
Suzie’s mum Bridget Pearce said: “Suzie was becoming more and more distressed and we thought that she would end up having the baby at home.”
Eventually Bedford hospital said they had room to spare, and Suzie arrived with Chris and Bridget just before midday.
While Chris went to find a wheelchair, Suzie tried to walk.
But she collapsed directly outside an office where Bedford’s medical director Colette Marshall was having a meeting with three other hospital chiefs.
They all ran out, tended to Suzie as she lay on the ground, and called the maternity unit for emergency assistance.
This week, happily at home with her new son, Suzie said: “I can’t thank them enough at Bedford Hospital.
“The care I received was fantastic, and everyone was incredible, from the doctors who came to my rescue in the car park to all the staff in the maternity unit.”