BEAMING Andrew Hanlon is the “happiest man in the world” after a double celebration.
For in a matter of seconds, the 22-year-old scaffolder from Hartlepool became a dad and then a husband-to-be.
There was not a dry eye in the room as he proposed to his partner Kelly Webb, 28, just seconds after she had given birth to his first child, Angel.
Stunned Kelly said yes as she lay cradling her 6lb baby daughter on her bed, in the Birthing Centre of the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
Andrew, of Wynnstay Gardens, in Hartlepool, told the Mail: “This is the best day of my life.
“I have got a beautiful daughter and a beautiful fiancée.”
Emotions ran high when Angel arrived in the world at 8.37am yesterday after a one-hour labour.
Then came that moment of sheer romance as Andrew hatched a secret plan which worked a treat – and everyone was in on it apart from Kelly.
He persuaded midwife Anita Scott to secretly put the solitaire diamond engagement ring into Angel’s hand.
Then, Angel was passed to Kelly to hold for the first time.
Andrew took Angel’s hand and passed it over to Kelly to reveal the ring.
At the same time, he asked: “Will you marry me?”
Andrew admitted: “I was very nervous and I admit I was crying, but it was as much because Kelly was in pain.
“The birth was very emotional.”
Kelly, a mum-of-four to Kieran Webb, 10, twins Kadie and Toby Sewell, four, and new addition Angel Hanlon, said: “I was so shocked it took me a few seconds to reply, but I said yes.”
She added: “I think Andrew was more nervous at becoming a dad than he was at asking me to marry him.
“Everyone knew what he was going to do apart from me. Kadie has been talking about weddings and saying ‘mam, if you get married I want to have a fairytale princess dress.
“I can’t get the ring on at the moment, though, because my fingers are swollen.”
Proud grandmother Tracy Hanlon, 40 – Andrew’s mum – said: “This is the best thing ever and the hospital staff have been fantastic all the way.”
Midwife Anita Scott said: “Being present at a birth is always emotional, but having a proposal as well made it one of the most special births I have ever been to.
“All the staff were crying as well as the couple.”