A Garda, a shoelace and a baby born at traffic lights in Galway
Parents were rushing to hospital but had to stop when baby girl would wait no longer
Emma Miskell with her baby Darcy Mae, pictured with Garda Claire Grenham who helped deliver the baby on the side of the road near Galway city. Also pictured is father of the baby Shaun Flynn (right), daughter Megan and Garda Brendan Owens. Photograph: Ray Ryan
A Garda has been praised after using a shoelace to tie the umbilical cord of a baby born during rush-hour at traffic lights near Galway city.
Parents Emma Miskell and Shaun Flynn – from Cloondahamper, Lavally, Tuam – were speeding to Galway University Hospital, along with a Garda escort, but had to stop on the side of the road, 4km from the destination, when baby Darcy Mae could wait no longer.
Garda Claire Grenham, who was in the squad car driven by colleague Garda Brendan Owens, jumped out and used her shoelace to tie the baby’s umbilical cord while waiting for the arrival of an ambulance.
Garda Grenham, a mother of an 18-month-old baby, said this emergency roadside midwife task was something she never thought she would have to do as a Garda. “I was in phone contact with a paramedic in the ambulance on its way from the hospital and he told me to tie the umbilical cord once the baby was three minutes born and use a shoelace if I had one.
“I took the lace off my boot and tied the cord while we waited for the ambulance to arrive five minutes later. Once we saw the baby’s tiny hands move and she let out a little cry we were happy that she, and her mum, were okay.”
Ms Miskell said, “we had the baby at the traffic lights just as we were pulling in and while Shaun was still driving. He was brilliant in the situation.
“He had to push down my pants and then out she came straight away with a little cry. Shaun cut the cord and the Garda tied it with her shoelace as once a baby is born more than three minutes you have to clamp the cord.”
She said that when doing a “birth plan” she wanted their teenage daughter Megan to be in the labour ward for the first part of the birth and to be Godmother for the baby. But she never anticipated Megan would “get a bird’s eye view of all the birth from the back seat of the car”.
It was the happy ending to a high-speed drama that unfolded when Emma’s contractions started at home at 7.20am and Shaun, Emma and Megan tried to make the 25 miles journey to the Galway hospital.
“We knew when we reached Claregalway village that we were not going to make it without a bit of help. I rang the Mill Street Garda Station and the squad car rushed to meet us at the road leading to Ballybrit Racecourse,” said Mr Flynn.
“They drove in front of us and when we got to the traffic lights at Bothair na dTreabh out came the baby and we flashed the lights and the two gardaí stopped and got out and helped us.”