Dad's desperate 4,000-mile dash to see the birth of his son
A FATHER flew more than 4,000 miles in a desperate dash to see the birth of his son – and made it to his wife's bedside in the nick of time.
Patrick Lyons had flown to the USA on a business trip, leaving his pregnant wife, Leah, at home in Littleover.
But, just 30 minutes after he boarded the plane, his wife went into labour, four weeks early. When Mr Lyons landed in Miami he switched on his mobile phone and found a text message with the news.
Ninety minutes later, Virgin airline staff had put him on a return flight to the UK.
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Mr Lyons, 35, was desperate not to miss the birth of their second child.
Amazingly, despite the one-hour wait at the airport, nine-hour flight and two-hour car journey back to Derby, he made it to the Royal Derby Hospital in time to see son Cassius being born. He said: "It was amazing to be there at the end and to cut the cord.
"When I spoke to Leah from the airport in Miami, I said 'all the best' because I thought she would have it when I was on the flight and I would not even know as my phone was turned off.
"I was absolutely gutted."
Mrs Lyons, who runs a wedding planning business, said: "He was distraught. I just had to get on with it but he had nine hours to sit and think about it.
"I was in labour for a long time – I guess Cassius was just waiting for his dad."
Mrs Lyons said just as nurses told her to start pushing, her husband walked through the door.
"It was like a movie," said the mother-of-two. "For him to make it was just unbelievable. It was the talk of the ward."
The couple, who also have a two-year-old son, Isaac, had discussed whether Mr Lyons should go on the business trip to America but had decided there was little chance of the baby arriving a month early.
Mrs Lyons started having contractions at about noon on Sunday, October 7 – just 30 minutes after her husband boarded his flight.
Her sister, Becky Tarry, took her to hospital at 7pm that day and she sent her husband a text. The message Mr Lyons picked up as soon as he landed read: "Ring me ASAP. I'm in hospital, 4cm dilated."
He said: "I showed the message to my colleagues and thought 'Oh my God, I'm stuck on the other side of the world'. I was just thinking I needed to get back."
He was told that a flight was heading back to the UK in 90 minutes so he rushed to the check-in desk. Staff swapped his return ticket for free.
Mr Lyons then left a voice message on the phone of a driver at the company where he works, asking if he would pick him up from Heathrow, and boarded the plane.
When he landed in the UK he was shocked to discover the baby had still not arrived and was about to pay for a hire car when he got a voicemail saying the driver was on his way.
On the drive back to Derby, Mr Lyons kept in constant contact with Ms Tarry.
He said: "When I arrived and ran into the hospital all the staff on the reception said 'Here's the Miami boy'. Everyone was laughing. It was just great to be there."