Sarah Alder spent months planning for her home birth. But what she hadn’t planned for was four inches of snowfall just as she went into labour – making it impossible for her midwife to reach her in time.
First-time-dad, Steve Watson, called the midwife when his wife went into labour early on Sunday morning – just when the snow in Basildon, Essex, was at its thickest.
But when she explained that she would not be able to dig her car out in time, Steve stood in instead – with instructions over the phone from a 999 operator.
The 34-year-old teacher grabbed a few towels from the airing cupboard and delivered his 8lb 6oz daughter Megan on his own in the coupleâ€™s upstairs bedroom.
Steve said: ‘Sarah got out of bed as she was feeling a bit uncomfortable. Pretty quickly she realised she was in labour.
‘We were due to have a home birth anyway but we were going to have a midwife there for support.
But then we both looked out of the window and said “oh oh!”
‘We called the midwife but because of the snow she couldnâ€™t get her car out. I dialled for an ambulance but it was quite clear at that point that the baby wasnâ€™t going to wait.
‘The 999 operator told me to look at where the baby was. She told me, “get yourself down there and see what you can do!”
Steve, who is a step-father to Sarahâ€™s six-year-old daughter Abi, but a first-time dad himself, added: ‘It was so surreal but breathtaking. I canâ€™t put it into words. It all happened so quickly.
‘It was like “oh my God I can see the head” then “oh my God I can see her eyes!”
‘Sarah was so brave, she is an amazing woman. She didnâ€™t scream once she just got on with it.’
Paramedics also got stuck in the snow flurry as they rushed to the scene and had to be dug out by two hero neighbours.
When they did arrive at the house they let Steve cut the umbilical cord himself.
Steve said: ‘I think they thought Iâ€™d started the job so theyâ€™d let me finish!’
Megan and Sarah were eventually taken to Basildon Hospital where they were checked out and both deemed to be fit and healthy.
Steve, who teaches a public services pathway course at South Essex College, added: ‘It all went so well. The ironic thing was Iâ€™d told Sarah beforehand there was no way I was going to watch the birth.
‘I had planned to hold her hand and stroke her hair and stay “upside” of things.
‘But now I think it was a wonderful gift to be able to bring my own daughter into the world.’
Sarah added: ‘Although it was a bit of a drama it was wonderful that Steve got to deliver Megan. It will be a lovely story to tell her one day.’