Father ties baby's umbilical cord with shoelaces

Doherty Family Image copyright NWNewspix
Image caption Baby Saphia was nearly two weeks overdue

A father used his shoelaces to tie his daughter's umbilical cord after her surprise arrival in the back of the family car.

Paul Doherty and his wife Georgina were on their way to Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry when they had to pull in to the side of the road.

He called emergency services who talked the couple through the delivery.

"The next minute the baby was out, so I had to throw the phone down and catch her," he said.

"I gave her to Georgina and she started crying. Then they just said keep them both warm, we're going to get you to tie something round the umbilical cord.

"I had to take off my shoelace, it was the only thing I had in the car," added Mr Doherty.

Image caption Georgina Doherty at home with baby Saphia

Saphia was 13 days overdue when she started to announce herself to the world.

"It all started on Saturday morning when I started to get strong labour pains at about 11:30 and she arrived at 14:40, so it was a quick labour," said Georgina Doherty.

"We had just passed Bridgend, just over the Derry border, when I asked my husband to pull in to the side of the road. I just knew I wasn't going to make it.

"I said: 'I think the baby's coming, I can feel the head coming'.

"I just took her word for it, so I stopped," added Mr Doherty. "And by the time I got out of the driver's seat and got round to the passenger seat the head was actually out to view."

Image copyright NWNewspix
Image caption Paul Doherty said he was being told to consider a career as a midwife

The Donegal couple, who already have three children, said they had no time to think and were just glad to find a quiet spot.

"The road was private and was that quiet that the ambulance passed us and couldn't find us," laughed Mrs Doherty.

The happy couple told BBC Radio Foyle that their latest addition was already fitting in well.

"She's a wee local celebrity," said Mrs Doherty. "It's a great story to tell the weans (kids)."