DEBBIE Willocks had been expecting to give birth to her second child this month, but what she wasn’t expecting was to have it delivered on her sitting room floor in the early hours of Sunday by her sister.
Baby girl Caidee arrived just before 4am, weighing in at 6lb 5oz. There were no complications and mother and daughter are now doing well.
Debbie and partner, Chris Weston, who is the new pastry chef at Floors Castle, Kelso, live in a cottage at Floors Home Farm on the estate and Caidee is a sister for two-year-old Josh, the couple’s other child.
But Caidee was not expected for another 10 days, as Debbie, 24, explained to TheSouthern this week: “I had gone to bed on Saturday, quite early. But I couldn’t get comfortable.
“I didn’t think it was the start of labour pains, so just got up to watch some telly,” she said.
“But I was soon in a bit of pain and woke Chris.”
That’s when big sister, Laura Willocks, 27, was phoned.
“Debbie had already asked me if I had wanted to be at the birth,” said Laura, “but like everyone else I was expecting that to be in the Borders General Hospital next week.”
“I got the call at about 3.20am, so I threw on some clothes and jumped in the car,” explained Laura, who also lives in Kelso with her partner and their two children. “When I got there we tried to get Debbie to the car to take her to the BGH but it soon became clear there wasn’t going to be time for that.
“So I phoned the labour ward at the BGH to arrange for an ambulance. But Debbie started to get the urge to start pushing and the midwife I was speaking to was saying it sounded like I was going to have to deliver the baby myself.”
With towels and hot water at the ready and a space cleared on the floor, the baby’s head soon appeared and it was at this moment that the paramedics arrived and took over.
“I don’t think either of us has ever been so glad to see some paramedics as we were then,” laughed Laura.
The medical team took over and Caidee finished making her entrance into the world. However, Laura’s role was not over yet.
“Once we were at the hospital, the midwife kept me involved. It wasn’t a case of ‘you’ve done your bit, now out of the way’. The midwife gave me a cuddle and told me I’d done really well and they kept me involved as the placenta had still to be delivered – so there was a bit to help with and that was fantastic being allowed to do that.
“The whole team from the paramedics to the hospital staff were amazing.”
Chris, 28, says the whole thing happened so fast it was pretty much over before he realised what was happening.
“I am still in a bit of shock. One minute Debbie was going into labour and an hour later we have a new baby. It was great Laura was able to come over and help.”
Debbie admits the whole experience was a bit frightening.
“Yeah, it was a little bit scary simply because at home you don’t have the back-up of hospital staff if there are complications or something goes wrong.
“I am so relieved everything went OK. Laura was brilliant!”
And Caidee’s arrival also made a little bit of history for the Floors Castle estate, home to the Duke of Roxburghe, as Chris explained: “I was told by other people on the estate that it’s been many years since a baby was born on the estate.”
Estate staff were quick to offer their congraulations and a steady stream of cards and flowers have arrived since Sunday from wellwishers.
Laura added: “One of the paramedics said it is quite rare to have a home birth like this as accidental home births only happen about once every four years.
“Everyone’s just glad there was a really happy ending.”
Roxburghe Estates factor Roddy Jackson said he was delighted to hear the news.
“We’re all very happy to hear that mother and daughter are doing well and our congratulations go to the family.
“I guess it gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘home delivery’!”