Little Scarlet Cowlishaw’s birth was certainly one the whole family will remember – most of them were there.
The tiny tot was determined to make her leap year debut and came into the world at her Easington home before mum Louise could get to hospital.
When TRW worker Louise, 37, started feeling pains, she didn’t realise just how quickly her daughter was planning to arrive.
Louise started having strong pains at around 1pm last Monday, when she was alone in her John Street house, but thought she would have hours to go.
But, she said at around 1.45pm her sister, Barbara Barnes, 40, and niece, Megan Barnes, 13, called at the house following a dental appointment.
Louise, who is also mum to two-year-old Jacob, said: “When my sister timed the contractions she said they were only two minutes apart. I didn’t think it was going to be that quick, but at 2.20pm she came out.”
By this time, Louise’s husband, Joseph, 30, had arrived home from a training course and her brother, Thomas Barnes, 31, had arrived to take her to hospital.
Louise said everyone pitched in to help her, with Joseph holding her hand, Barbara delivering the baby, Thomas shouting instructions from medical experts on the phone and young Megan running around bringing towels, water and even a damp flannel for Louise’s forehead.
The new mum said: “It was an experience I don’t think any of us will ever forget. I had said I thought she would arrive on leap year day just to be different, but I didn’t think it would be in such a dramatic way.
“Most people have just one birthing partner, I had a house full.
“I am glad they were there because I would have been panicking if I had been on my own. I’m quite proud of myself giving birth without any pain relief whatsoever.”
Scarlet, who was ten days early and born inside the amniotic sac, which is why Louise didn’t experience her waters breaking, weighed in at a healthy 6lb 6oz.
The rapid response team arrived just minutes later and took mum and baby to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, to be checked over – and they were home the next day.
Louise joked that at least they will save a lot of money in presents with Scarlet only having a birthday every four years.
She said: “We have decided we will celebrate her birthday on February 28, because it is still the same month.”