Miracle baby preparing to celebrate first birthday, four years after being born

A leap year baby who was born suddenly on the M1 motorway will celebrate her first 'official' birthday when she turns four this February 29.

Miracle baby preparing to celebrate first birthday, four years after being born

A leap year baby who was born suddenly on the M1 motorway will celebrate her first 'official' birthday when she turns four this February 29.

Little Ellie McManus arrived in the passenger seat of her parents' car three weeks early as her then 14 month older brother Finn watched from the back while the family rushed to hospital in 2016.

Mum Sharon admits she didn't even know if she had a boy or girl as they fled to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry with the unresponsive tot cuddled to her chest.

"She wasn't due for three weeks when my waters broke but the nurses said to hold on at home until the contractions hit," said Sharon (36) who hails from Dundalk, Co. Louth but lives in Jonesborough, Co. Armagh.

"It was getting late so we decided we would leave Finn off at my parents in Dundalk and head into the hospital in Newry.

"I could feel movement but had no pain as we set off but just a few minutes later, the intense pain set in. My parents said they would meet me halfway but I knew I wouldn't make it.

"We headed back up towards Newry with a nurse on speakerphone telling me to breathe through the contractions. I was trying to keep from pushing, but about 30 seconds later, the baby was born in the passenger seat of the car while my husband Barry was driving on the motorway, near the Carrickdale hotel."

However, the initial joy turned to panic as the baby seemed unresponsive.

"The baby didn't move or cry and I took off my hoodie and put the baby to my chest. The umbilical cord was still attached and I didn't even know if I had a boy or a girl. I was trying to stroke the baby's foot to get a reaction but there was none so we were panicked.

"We arrived at the hospital where staff were waiting with a wheelchair and a foil blanket. They whisked me away and a nurse took Finn out of the back of the car until my parents arrived.

"We tried to do skin to skin contact to boost the baby's temperature as they worried her organs would crash but it didn't work. We only had a short window of time before things got critical so they put Ellie into an incubator and thankfully her temperature increased.

"It was all so sudden and so fast that it was only afterwards that I realised we were so lucky that she was ok."

The mum of three has celebrated Ellie's first three birthdays on February 28th and is looking forward to having a party for her official fourth party with her friends and cousins on Saturday.

"I know she is a miracle baby but she is looking for a real-life unicorn with a striped horn - and I don't think we can pull off that size of a miracle," laughed Sharon.

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