Quick-thinking dad delivered his own baby - using a shoelace to clamp the umbilical cord
A quick-thinking dad saved his wife and safely delivered his newborn baby at home after he used a SHOELACE to clamp the umbilical cord.
Dan Sparrow, 38, leaped into action when wife Vicki, 28, went into labour early in their living room, and gave birth before paramedics arrived.
She had been booked in for a c-section due to a suspected placenta infection, and call handlers warned Dan on the phone he had to act quickly following the birth.
After unravelling the cord which was TWICE wrapped around baby Kayden's neck, he lay the newborn on his mum's tummy, and ran into the hallway in search of a tool.
Half-dressed Dan grabbed his work trainers, pulled out a lace, and used it to clamp the umbilical cord.
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 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. "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. "He cried for a few seconds but then he was quiet.
"He was still breathing but I was so scared.
"I didn't want to see him die in my arms and for it to be something I did or didn't do.
"Turns out I managed to do the right thing.
"When we got to the hospital I had the doctors and the nurses patting me on the back.
"I've always been told I'm a fast learner but this is up there with one of the most impressive things I've taken to!"
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."
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 entire 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 sent 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 with a suspected placenta infection, so was booked in for a planned c-section in 38 weeks, due to doctors fears over a natural labour.
But Kayden had other ideas - and 12 days early Vicki woke up in the middle of the night with shooting stomach pains which she mistook for Braxton hicks.
Vicki, who also has son Castiel, two, said: "I've had another baby so I know what labour feels like.
"But when Kayden was on the way I just shrugged them off as fake contractions.
"I don't really remember too much.
"I just went into shock.
"This just wasn't meant to be happening."
Dan added: "We had been in and out of hospital every other day for the past however many months so the pregnancy was closely monitored. "If he didn't have all the complications I would have jumped at the chance at delivering him.
"But I suppose you've got to be careful what you wish for.
"It was the middle of the night when Vicki woke up one morning and said she had pains. "I was saying, 'right, I'm taking you to the hospital now' but she was brushing it off as trapped wind or braxton hicks. "We went back to sleep but she woke up again and that's when we started rushing around.
"I carried her downstairs and put her on the sofa. "Then her waters broke there. "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.
"But I was genuinely worried I was going to see my son dead."
He phoned 999 and a call handler gave him advice, and 45 minutes their baby was born - with paramedics still to arrive.
"The woman on the end of the phone was amazing and she did help steer me in the right direction," she said.
"When he came out the umbilical cord had wrapped itself around his neck twice.
"Not only did I not know what I was doing, I didn't want to unravel it because he was so tiny.
"I literally had his life in my hands.
"Then the woman was saying I had to find something to cut the cord.
"The thing is I was still in my boxers. I was in the middle of getting dressed when Vicki's waters broke. "So it wasn't as if I just bent down and pulled the lace out of my shoes.
"The umbilical cord wasn't long enough to pass Kayden to Vicki. "She was just silent and I was scared I would see my son die in my arms. "I looked to my side and saw my work boots in the hallway. "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.
"But I just made sure I was tying the knot as tight as I could. "The operator said the paramedics were on their way."
Some 17 minutes later paramedics arrived and cut the cord, and took the family 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 more happy."