North Walsham mum gives birth in family car by the roadside

Paul and Laura Cowell pictured with their new born baby, Katie, who was born in their car on the A14

Paul and Laura Cowell pictured with their new born baby, Katie, who was born in their car on the A149 at North Walsham. Also pictured is their older son, Jack, 10, and grandma, Gill Williams, who helped deliver Katie. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

When Katie Cowell is asked in years to come where she was born, she will have to say 'somewhere along the A149, near North Walsham.'

Baby Katie Cowell. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Baby Katie Cowell. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

For baby Katie decided to make her entrance into the world in an MG estate car as her anxious mum, dad and grandma were heading for hospital in the early hours of July 30.

The happy occasion then turned into a dawn roadside family gathering as Katie's big brother Jack, 10, and granddad arrived on the scene with the medical notes her mum Laura had left at home in the rush.

The drama began at about 2am when Mrs Cowell, 31, of Gooch Close, North Walsham, started having sharp pains, three days after her due date.

She and husband Paul, 22, timed her contractions at just over four minutes apart. Mrs Cowell's parents, Gill and Peter Williams, headed over from their home in Trunch so that Mr Williams could look after Jack while his wife accompanied their daughter and son-in-law to hospital.


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Before the hospital party left, Mrs Cowell said she felt the urge to push and, as they headed out of North Walsham on the A149, en route for the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, the pains became even more intense.

'I screamed 'stop the car' and Paul pulled up beside the signpost to the Scarborough Hill Hotel which, funnily enough, was where we had our wedding reception last February!' said Mrs Cowell.

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As the frantic dad-to-be rang 999, Mrs Williams rushed round to the front of the car to help her daughter who, not realising the security lock was on, broke the door handle in her desperation to let in her mum.

Katie Claire arrived in the front seat at 3.30am, weighing 8lbs 6oz. 'Mum and me raised her up and put her on my belly and we wrapped her in my pyjama trousers and a cardigan to keep her warm.

'She gave one great squawk as she was being lifted up and looked at us as if to say 'what on earth is happening?'' said Mrs Cowell. 'She was pink and breathing and I knew she was in no serious danger.'

All the while Mr Cowell and Mrs Williams were taking it in turns to talk on the phone to an emergency call handler who guided them until an ambulance arrived.

'As I laid on the stretcher I knew it was going to be all right and I remember saying to Katie: 'look at the moon,'' Mrs Cowell added.

'Some people might think it was a horror story - but it wasn't. It was nice and it's lovely being a family of four. Jack really loves her. The only sad part was that it was all such a blur I didn't get the chance to thank everyone - the operator, the ambulance staff and the midwives at the hospital - who helped. Thank you all.'

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