July 19, 2024

Baby Born in Back of Car Reunites with Heroic Firefighters

Olive with Firefighters (and impromptu midwives) Rosie and Katie

A baby born in the back of a car has been reunited with the incredible firefighters who helped bring her into the world. Falmouth couple Alice Hearle and Josh Beardmore recall the dramatic arrival of their second child, Olive, as a story their daughter will share for a lifetime.

When Alice’s waters broke a couple of days before her due date, she went to Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske) for a check-up. “Everything was fine, so we came home to get some rest,” said Alice, a mobile hairdresser. “They booked us in for an induction at 4 pm the next day. In the morning, not much was happening. I just had the odd very sporadic mild contraction.”

Confident they knew what to expect with their second child, the couple remained calm. Josh said, “We chilled out, went for a walk along the seafront and got a grilled cheese. At about 1 pm, Alice phoned the midwives. Everything was fine, so they said to stick to the plan.”

However, Alice’s labour suddenly progressed minutes after her call with the midwives. “Five minutes after I got off the phone, I had this secondary water break,” she said. “I was getting contractions every minute. I couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk. In hindsight, we should have just stayed at home because we wouldn’t have made it anywhere.”

Josh added, “We were in the car and had just got down the road when Alice said, ‘I’ve got to push, the baby’s coming’.” Realizing they wouldn’t make it to Truro in time, Josh, experienced with emergencies from his RNLI lifeboat volunteer service, quickly thought of a plan B.

“I knew about the fire at Cockwells because the road had been closed and I had seen all the news reports. I had been keeping an eye on it in case we had to go a different way to the hospital. I knew the fire brigade would more than likely be down there. When the ambulance service told me to pull over, I thought ‘I know exactly where I can go.’ I waved over at the guys and said, ‘I think I need a bit of a hand here, my Mrs is having a baby.'”

The Falmouth Blue Watch and Fire Investigation teams, busy with the final stages of a fire, immediately sprang into action. “They were amazing,” Josh said. “They dropped everything. The two girls were straight in the car and said, ‘You look after Alice and we’ll deal with the baby.'”

The crew moved a fire engine in front of the car to block the view from the road while firefighter Katie Hoskins took charge of the delivery, and her colleague, Rosie Tonkin, stayed on the phone with the ambulance service. Alice said, “If they were nervous, they didn’t show it at all. They were so comforting and took control of the situation. I didn’t have time to be worried. I was just in the zone, I wasn’t really thinking. After about three pushes, the baby was out and she cried straight away, so I knew she was okay.”

In rather memorable circumstances, Baby Olive was born safe and well at 2:36 pm on Thursday, May 16. A few weeks later, Josh and Alice took the newborn and their two-year-old son, Teddy, to thank the crews. “It was nice to go back and say thank you and talk about it,” Alice added. “I wanted to say thank you to them for being so calm and jumping in like they did. One of the guys even noted the exact time that she was born. Little things like that mean a lot. It wasn’t the water birth I had planned, but I actually feel really proud and positive about the birth.”

Baby Olive meets the whole crew

Kath Billing, Chief Fire Officer at Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, said, “Every day our crews go above and beyond to serve the people of Cornwall. I am so pleased that Olive arrived safely and I am immensely proud of the crews that helped with her delivery. They are a testament to the service and their profession.”