A beauty therapist has revealed how she delivered her newborn in the front seat of her car after she and her husband got caught in rush hour traffic.
Roisin McNeill, 33 – whose daughter, Grace, simply has ‘Castlereagh Place, Belfast,’ recorded on her birth certificate, showing where she was born – was on the way to hospital, when she gave birth.
The mother-of-three from Belfast revealed that she chose to surprise her husband, not warning him when the baby came.
Roisin McNeill delivered her daughter Grace in the front seat of her car while her husband Thomas drove unaware
She said: ‘When I sat down in the front seat of the car, I could feel her head, but I didn’t tell my husband, Thomas, because I knew he wouldn’t drive us, if he knew.
‘I didn’t want to give birth in my house, in front of our boys, Ronan, five, and Declan, three, so I just told him to drive. I really thought we would at least get to the doors of the hospital.
‘But, when I realised she was about to be born, I pulled my trousers down. Thomas was saying ‘What are you doing!’ He didn’t have a clue what was happening and I was laughing.
‘He was still driving away and I said ‘There’s our baby’. I had to grab her to stop her falling on the car mat.’
The couple had been driving to the hospital when Roisin felt the need to push, delivering the baby in the front seat of the car
Roisin surprised Thomas with their daughter in the car, and he pulled over to the side of the road where he called an ambulance
The drama started the day before Roisin’s due date on June 14, when she woke up at 6.30am, with stomach cramps, just before Thomas, 35, left for his job as a gym manager.
After being induced with her two older children, she did not think it was labour, explaining: ‘My boys were both overdue and I just expected my third baby would be, too.
‘I woke up in the morning and started experiencing some pain, but it didn’t feel like labour, so I thought maybe I had just eaten something bad.’
Grace’s birth certificate simply has ‘Castlereagh Place, Belfast’ listed as her place of birth
Roisin (pictured with Thomas, Grace and their two sons Ronan and Declan) said she began to experience pains the day before her due date but hadn’t believed she was going into labour
Trying to amuse her children, within half an hour, her contractions intensified, and she called Thomas at work.
‘I told him I really didn’t think it was the baby, but I thought I was ill and might not be able to get the boys sorted,’ she continued. ‘He offered to come home, but I said I was fine.
‘Within 20 minutes, things had progressed. I couldn’t really move and the pains were getting worse.
‘I think I knew then it was labour, but I still thought we would have hours. I told Thomas to come home, but he cycles, so it was about half an hour before he got back.’
Putting her boys in her bed, Roisin had a bath, in a bid to soothe the pain.
She said: ‘I never thought in a million years that my baby was going to be coming so soon. I thought we had a bit of time, but I didn’t want the boys to see me in pain.
‘Anyway, I wasn’t finding it too painful, so I thought it was really early stages at most.’
Both mum and baby were perfectly healthy and were discharged quickly after their arrival
Thomas arrived home, followed shortly after by Roisin’s sister Jacqueline who was there to look after the older children.
‘Thomas said we needed to get to the hospital, but I thought it might to be too early and they would just send me home,’ she said.
‘He decided to phone the midwife and she asked to speak to me.
‘By that stage, I wasn’t physically able to speak to her and she said, “Get your wife up to this hospital”. She knew that it was much further along than we thought.’
Still, Roisin was convinced her pain was not bad enough for her to be dilated.
She added: ‘I struggled to get off the sofa, though, because I was having full-on contractions. I think I was in denial a little bit.’
Thomas started the 20 minute trip to the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, but they hit rush hour traffic and jams.
‘It was about 8.30am when we left, so everyone was heading to work,’ said Roisin. ‘We slowed down and stopped and I just said, “What are you doing? Go down the bus lane!”
‘I was trying to stay calm, but I knew we didn’t have much time.’
Then, about halfway between their house and the hospital, Roisin knew she had to push – removing her trousers and presenting her shocked husband with his new daughter.
Pulling up at the roadside, Thomas called an ambulance, as Rosin held their baby girl, weighing 8lb 1oz, for the first time.
‘We’d stopped the car at an angle outside someone’s house and she kept looking out to see what was going on,’ Roisin laughed.
‘Thomas was on the phone to the paramedics and they were there within six minutes. They were amazing – they said it wasn’t something they saw every day, but they were so calm.’
Roisin and her baby, who they called Grace, were taken to the Royal Victoria hospital, while dad Thomas followed in the car.
Both mum and baby were perfectly healthy and now, seven months old, Grace ‘rules the roost’ at home.
Roisin said: ‘She has us all wrapped around her little finger – probably because she’s our first girl after two boys.’
After Roisin and Grace were checked over, Ronan and Declan came to meet their baby sister and mother and daughter were discharged.
‘We were really lucky that we were both totally fine,’ said Roisin. ‘When I look back on it now, I do think about what could have happened if something had gone wrong but, luckily, we were both OK.’
Roisin is now convinced people will be telling the story of Grace’s dramatic birth until the day she dies.
She said: ‘Her birth certificate lists her place of birth as Castlereagh Place, so she’ll never be able to forget it her unusual arrival.
‘The story will probably be told on her wedding day – she’ll never live it down. The boys point out where she was born every time we drive past now and when we’re out at the shops, we get stopped by people who ask if she was the baby born in the car.’