A SHEEP-FARMER’s son saw his lambing experience come flooding back as his wife gave birth on their bathroom floor.
In a late-night drama, land agent James Brown, 40, found spouse Esther in the late stages of labour ... and an hour away from the nearest hospital.
So, remembering his time birthing animals on his family’s Northumberland farm he swung into action, only calling for help after son Charlie was born.
Esther, 39, said: “I’ve never had a baby before so I didn’t know what a contraction was meant to feel like, but because we didn’t have time to think and it all happened so quickly it actually felt quite natural.
“I’d only been into the midwife on Tuesday afternoon, as I was five days overdue, and she’d examined me and just said she’d see me the next day for another appointment.”
Esther said medics think she may have experienced what is known as a ‘silent’ labour, a condition that usually affects first-time mothers where the women do not feel the pain of their contractions.
“Good job I’d had a nesting instinct and made a pile of towels,” she said. “And thankfully I had what everyone wants, a fast labour and a supportive husband ... who knows about lambing.”
Two weeks ago the couple became only the fourth family to take up residence in the Old School House in Wark, Northumberland, which was built in 1693, after an exhaustive search for a new home.
“We must have spent hours going through The Journal’s Saturday Homemaker supplement,” said James, who runs land and property management firm James Robson Brown.
Their move, from Whickham in Gateshead, was so they could be only five minutes rather than an hour from James’s office, at his parents’ farm in nearby Simonburn and so that he would be able to spend more time with the new baby once it was born.
Despite being an hour from the city the couple had planned, once Esther’s contractions started, to take a leisurely drive to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, in good time for her labour to start in earnest.
“Esther was overdue but there was no sign anything was happening,” said James. He and Esther, who works for recycling firm SITA UK, married at Blackfriars in Newcastle city centre in May.
“On Tuesday night she’d had a few cramps, but was sure she wasn’t having contractions, and went to bed about 10.30pm.
“At about 1am she got up and went to the bathroom and was making lots of noise, so I thought maybe it was time to get in the car.
“I went in to check on her and she said she didn’t think she was going to make it to hospital as she could feel her body wanting to push. I’d joked at the anti-natal classes that we’d be fine because I’d lambed a lot of sheep ... you just pull them out, shake them and stick a bit of straw under their nose.
“The other mums found it amusing but the teachers said actually that’s kind of what to do.
“I went to get towels and when I came back he was in her arms screaming. It was no long labour, he just popped out. I rang the RVI and told them what happened. A paramedic arrived from Bellingham a few minutes later and he clamped the cord and I cut it.”
After just 15 hours in hospital, mother and 6lb 11oz Oswald Charles “Charlie” Brown returned home and were surrounded by family and friends.