Leah hailed a hero for helping deliver new little princess

A brave young girl has been praised for her calm role during her baby sister's surprise lockdown home-delivery.
Leah hailed a hero for helping deliver new little princess
Leah with her new baby sister, Allie. Photo courtesy of Cork's RedFM

- With additional reporting from Olivia Kelleher and Cork's RedFM

A brave young girl has been praised for her calm role during her baby sister's surprise lockdown home-delivery.

Mum Emma Hartnett said she and her partner, Jonaah Gordon-Boyd, couldn't have done it without the help of her daughter, Leah, aged eight.

"We always knew she had a good head on her shoulders. She really stepped up," Emma said.

Cool-headed Leah recalled the details yesterday of baby Allie's surprise early-morning arrival in their apartment in Ballincollig, Cork.

"I felt different feelings at times - sometimes I was scared, sometimes I was crying, sometimes I was excited. But I'm proud and I've had to change a lot of nappies since," she told Cork's RedFM.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner later, Emma said while they had been preparing Leah for her role as a big sister, nobody realised the vital role she would play on the day of Allie's birth.

Emma's waters broke at home at around 7am on March 21, two weeks before her due date.

As she and Jonaah prepared to drive to Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH), Emma said it was clear within 30-minutes that the baby wouldn't wait.

"The baby decides. There was nothing I could do about it," she said.

Jonaah telephoned the Domino Midwives service who talked him through how to deliver the baby.

"They were fantastic. They did an incredible job calming him and he in turn calmed me," Emma said.

Jonaah, a food safety consultant with no medical background, delivered the baby.

"He says his job really was to just catch the baby," Emma joked.

"While I was in labour, it was a bit overwhelming for Leah, but that's to be expected.

"She would never before have seen her mum in pain like that.

"We were haunted that it was a straightforward delivery - four or five pushes and she was out, and the baby cried when she was born.

And once the baby arrived, Leah was over the moon and was delighted that it was a sister for her.

"She went downstairs, located the ambulance crew, keyed in the code to let them in to the complex, brought them up to the apartment and briefed them on the way up."

The paramedics whisked mum and baby to CUMH for a medical check but the family was reunited at home by 5pm.

"Our doors have been closed since and we are cocooning. It's been such a lovely distraction," Emma said.

"The negatives are that no one has met Allie yet - her grandparents are just dying to meet her when the time comes.

"The positives for us is that the four of us have been together since the minute Allie was born.

"It has allowed us to time sit back and enjoy her, to get to know her, and to process everything.

She's a very good, easy-going baby. We're delighted."

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