Dan Sparrow, whose wife Vicki unexpectedly went into labor at home, managed to save his wife and deliver his newborn baby by using a shoelace to clamp the umbilical cord. The 38-year-old took action after his wife went into labor early in their living room before paramedics had a chance to arrive.
The 28-year-old was scheduled for a C-section as a result of a suspected placental infection, therefore, when Dan called, dispatchers asked him to act quickly if the baby arrived before paramedics did. After unraveling the cord, which was twice wrapped around the baby’s neck, Dan laid the newborn on his mom’s belly and ran into the hallway. He found his work trainers, yanked out a shoelace, and used it to clamp the umbilical cord.
By the time the paramedics arrived, twenty minutes later, the baby was already born, and the family was transported to the hospital, where nurses praised the new dad for his quick response. Although there is some disagreement among caregivers, it is believed that the cord should be cut as soon as possible to prevent complications, especially if there is a risk of infection.
Dan, a Pontypridd, South Wales resident, who owns a building and landscape company, said: "At the time I hated it. The doctors were all saying Kayden wouldn't survive a natural birth in the hospital as it would be too traumatic for him to go through.”
When Dan realized he would have to deliver the baby, he panicked and feared his son would die in his arms. Meanwhile, his wife remained silent, while the dispatcher told him to grab anything he could cut the cord with. After grabbing his work shoes, he balanced his baby boy on Vicki's stomach and pulled the lace out. After tying the shoelace tightly around the cord, his baby cried for a few seconds but then grew quiet.
"He was still breathing but I was so scared,” Dan said. "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, says she’s proud of her husband. "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," she said. Vicki and Dan found out they were expecting their second baby last October, a few weeks after booking their wedding venue. At their 20-week scan, they were informed that their baby was too small and would need weekly scans and regular doppler monitoring.
"He was a twin but unfortunately his twin didn't make it,” Vicki said. "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."
What an amazing story from elsewhere in the UK!— Plymouth Live (@Plymouth_Live) November 7, 2019
Well done that man 👏 https://t.co/OVXynLvmEO
The couple still followed through with their wedding, which took place six days before the birth. Meanwhile, Vicki's bump was so slight she didn't even need to have her dress fitted. Twelve days before the expected due date, Vicki woke up in the middle of the night with stomach pains which she thought were Braxton Hicks. Vicki, who has another son, Castiel, now two, said, "I've had another baby so I know what labor feels like. But when Kayden was on the way I just shrugged them off as fake contractions.”
"We had been in and out of the hospital every other day for the past however many months so the pregnancy was closely monitored,” Dan said. “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.”
After the baby arrived and was taken to the hospital, he spent two-and-a-half weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit at Cardiff University Hospital. Now four-and-a-half months old, baby Kayden has regular visits to Noah's Ark Children's Hospital, Wales, where doctors say he is growing at a "healthy rate".
"He had a bit of a difficult time for the first weeks of his life being in intensive care,” Dan said. "But he's here now and he's doing great. We couldn't be happier."