A COUPLE whose daughter arrived three months early are planning to lodge a complaint against the hospital which insisted the baby’s birth was not imminent.

Marie Spooner was just 25 weeks and three days into her pregnancy when she gave birth to Alison Isabel Marie Eleanor Marshall, weighing a tiny 1lb 12oz, hours after repeatedly being told she was not in labour.

Two days before giving birth, a specialist scan in Newcastle, due to complications in the pregnancy, showed low fluid levels around the unborn baby, indicating that Miss Spooner’s waters may have broken.

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On Saturday, November 2, Miss Spooner, of Barnard Castle, County Durham - who also has a son, Karl, with partner Gary Marshall - realised she was experiencing labour pains and attended the maternity unit at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

She said: “They put me in a side room and left me.

“The first nurse, who put me in there, said all the doctors were busy but she was going to get another nurse to see me in five minutes. But 90 minutes later I had to call for them. I was horrified.

“Everyone kept telling me that I wasn’t in labour, even the consultant.

“I said to the nurse ‘I have got a five-year-old son at home, I know what contractions feel like’.

“The hospital was going to send me home but then a doctor decided to keep me in to find out what the pain was .

“I was given steroids to help the baby’s lungs because they weren’t developing as they should.”

Less than an hour later, she started to deliver the baby in a hospital bathroom.

She said: “I called for the midwife and said ‘I’ve got my hand on my baby’s head’. I just made it back to bed and Alison was born.”

The tiny infant was transferred to the neo-natal unit, at James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, where she remains.

Mr Marshall and Miss Spooner are so unhappy with their treatment at Darlington Memorial Hospital they are planning to lodge an official complaint with the hospital about their experience.

Miss Spooner said: “It was so frustrating.

“It was only because I’d had a baby before that I knew I was in labour.

“If I had been a first time mother, I wouldn’t have known what was going on.”

A spokesman for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: "We are very sorry to hear that Miss Spooner was unhappy with the care she received at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

"We would ask her to contact our patient experience team so that we can investigate her treatment further.”