Vicki Sparrow was 38 weeks pregnant when she suddenly went into labour at home.
After a pregnancy with lots of complications, she was planning to have a c-section in hospital.
But just days before she was due to have the operation, her baby Kayden decided to make an appearance, on her living room floor.
Kayden’s cord was wrapped twice around his neck and doctors suspected Vicki’s placenta was infected, so they were both in danger.
But thanks to quick-thinking dad Dan, 38, who used a lace from his work trainers to tie off the placenta, both Vicki and Kayden were fine.
It took another 20 minutes for paramedics to arrive, and when the family got to hospital, nurses praised Dan for his actions.
Guidance around cord-cutting is varied, but it has long been believed delaying cutting the cord can increase birth complications, especially if there is a risk of infection.
Dan, a building and landscape company owner, from Pontypridd, South Wales, said: ‘At the time I hated it.
‘The doctors were all saying Kayden wouldn’t survive a natural birth in hospital as it would be too traumatic for him to go through.
‘So when I realised it was going to be a home birth I started to panic.
‘Then when I realised it was all down to me I was absolutely terrified.
‘When Vicki’s waters broke he just shot out. She was just silent and I was scared I would see my son die in my arms.’
Vicki and Dan found out they were expecting their second baby last October – just weeks after booking their wedding venue.
But at their 20-week scan the couple were told their baby was too small and would need to be monitored with weekly scans and regular doppler monitoring.
Vicki said: ‘He was a twin but unfortunately his twin didn’t make it.
‘The doctors ran some tests but they weren’t entirely sure what the problem was. Only that he wasn’t developing.
‘They said his lungs wouldn’t have developed properly so would have trouble breathing.’
The couple still went forward with the wedding – six days before the birth – and size eight Vicki’s bump was so little she didn’t even need to have her dress refitted.
She was suffering from a suspected placental infection, so was booked in for a planned c-section in 38 weeks, due to doctors fears over a natural labour.
But 12 days before he was due, Vicki woke up in the middle of the night with pains that she initially thought were fake Braxton hicks contractions.
Dan wanted to take her to hospital but Vicki assured him it was fine and they went back to sleep.
But in the morning, she was in more pain and when Dan carried her downstairs to the sofa, her waters broke.
Dan said: ‘That’s when I started to worry. The doctors said he wouldn’t survive a natural birth in hospital.
‘After I grabbed the towels and called 999 I could already see his head.
‘It was sheer panic but I couldn’t freak out as I had to be there for Vicki and Kayden.’
A call handler gave him advice, and 45 minutes later their baby was born – with paramedics still to arrive.
Kayden’s cord was wrapped twice around his neck and it wasn’t long enough to pass him to his mum.
Dan was only wearing his boxers as he had been in the middle of getting dressed when Vicki’s waters broke.
He adds: ‘The operator was telling me to grab anything I could cut the umbilical cord with.
‘That’s when I caught sight of my work shoes in the hallway.
‘I grabbed one them, balanced Kayden on Vicki’s stomach and pulled the lace out.
‘I was just making sure I had tied it up tight enough.
‘I knew if I didn’t cut it right I would have risked poisoning Vicki or Kayden or even both. I had no clue what I was doing.
‘He cried for a few seconds but then he was quiet. He was still breathing but I was so scared.
‘Turns out I managed to do the right thing.’
The paramedics arrived 17 minutes later and the family were rushed to Cardiff University hospital where he spent two-and-a-half weeks in the neonatal unit.
Now four-and-a-half months old baby Kayden routinely visits Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital, Wales, every two weeks where doctors say he is growing at a ‘healthy rate’.
Dan said: ‘When we tell people they always say just how special it is.
‘At the time you don’t think it, you’re just in survival mode.
‘I’m just glad he’s defied the odds and he’s here now.
‘He had a bit of a difficult time for the first weeks of his life being in intensive care.
‘But he’s here now and he’s doing great.
‘We couldn’t be happier.’
Vicki, a former hairdresser added: ‘I’m just such a proud mum and wife.
‘For Kayden to defy the odds and for Dan to step up and save the day was one of the happiest days of my life.’
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