Leah, 8, keeps cool head during surprise delivery


A brave young girl has been praised for how she handled her baby sister’s surprise lockdown home delivery —even briefing the ambulance crew as she escorted them to the new arrival.

Mum Emma Hartnett said she and her partner, Jonaah Gordon-Boyd, could not have done it without Leah, aged eight.

“We always knew she had a good head on her shoulders. She really stepped up,” Emma said.

Cool-headed Leah recalled the details of baby Allie’s surprise early-morning arrival in their apartment in Ballincollig, Cork.

“I felt different feelings at times — sometimes I was scared, sometimes I was crying, sometimes I was excited. But I’m proud and I’ve had to change a lot of nappies since,” she told Cork’s RedFM.

Speaking to the , Emma said while they had been preparing Leah for her role as a big sister, nobody realised the vital role she would play on the day of Allie’s birth.

Emma’s waters broke at home at around 7am on March 21, two weeks before her due date.

As she and Jonaah prepared to drive to Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH), Emma said it was clear within 30 minutes that the baby would not wait.

“The baby decides. There was nothing I could do about it,” she said.

Jonaah telephoned the Domino Midwives service who talked him through how to deliver the baby.

“They were fantastic. They did an incredible job calming him and he in turn calmed me,” Emma said.

Eight-year-old Leah helped deliver her baby sister Allie. The whole thing was a bit overwhelming for Leah but she was delighted once the baby was born.
Eight-year-old Leah helped deliver her baby sister Allie. The whole thing was a bit overwhelming for Leah but she was delighted once the baby was born.

Jonaah, who works with the Food Safety Company and who has no medical training, delivered the baby.

“He says his job really was to just catch the baby,” Emma said.

“While I was in labour, it was a bit overwhelming for Leah, but that’s to be expected.

“She would never before have seen her mum in pain like that.

“We were haunted that it was a straightforward delivery — four or five pushes and she was out, and the baby cried when she was born.

And once the baby arrived, Leah was over the moon and was delighted that it was a sister for her.

“She went downstairs, located the ambulance crew, keyed in the code to let them in to the complex, brought them up to the apartment, and briefed them on the way up.”

The paramedics whisked mother and baby to CUMH for a medical check but the family was reunited at home by 5pm.

“Our doors have been closed since and we are cocooning. It’s been such a lovely distraction,” Emma said.

“The negatives are that no one has met Allie yet — her grandparents, my parents Kevin and Jean, and Jonaah’s parents, Karla and Paddy, can’t wait to meet her when the time comes.

“The positives for us is that the four of us have been together since the minute Allie was born.

“It has allowed us time to sit back and enjoy her, to get to know her, and to process everything. She’s a very good, easy-going baby. We’re delighted.”

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