A couple who are both RSPCA specialist rescue inspectors faced their own dramatic emergency when they delivered their baby girl in a car.
Jason Finch and Nicky Thorne, of Rickinghall, were driving to West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, on December 12 as her contractions had started.
They thought they had ‘plenty of time’ but when it became clear their newborn’s arrival was imminent they were forced to pull into a lay-by near Stanton.
Jason rushed to help Nicky who was kneeling on the passenger seat and within minutes baby Peggy was born at 9.17am.
Nicky, who was two days overdue, said: “She was born so quickly, I hardly had to push.
“Jason caught her, and she wriggled about and cried instantly, which was such a relief to hear. Giving birth without any medical professionals nearby was a really scary thought, but I had no choice.”
After calling the midwife for advice and with only a couple of towels to hand, the pair checked Peggy over and popped her under Nicky’s t-shirt to keep her warm, and waited for an ambulance to arrive.
Jason said: “When I look back, having that time together in the car while we waited for the ambulance was so incredibly special. It was a really bright, sunny morning, and we just watched Peggy together, took a few photos, and it was so peaceful.
“I was in complete awe of Nicky and how she took it all in her stride, she was amazing.
“It wasn’t until the ambulance arrived and whizzed the girls off to hospital that I got a moment in my car to reflect, and I have to admit I had a little cry.”
When they reached the hospital Nicky and Pegy were checked over before Jason cut the umbilical cord.
Peggy was then weighed at 7lbs 9oz.
A few hours later they left to collect Jason’s children Maisie, aged 11, and Harrison, nine, from school and they were surprised to find their new baby sister in the playground. The couple’s two-year-old son Noah was at home with his grandparents also eager to meet the new arrival.
As animal enthusiasts, the family share their home with springer spaniel Teifi who is named after the river in Wales where the couple met and a tortoise named Phyllis.
After her maternity leave, Nicky will join Jason back on the frontline of the RSPCA’s inspectorate team.
The pair work in a 15-strong team of officers covering an almost 100 mile radius around Norfolk and Suffolk - each dealing with numerous complaints of animal abuse every day.
Jason added: “As an RSPCA inspector, it takes a lot to shock me, both Nicky and I are on the special water rescue team, so we’re used to working in extreme circumstances.
“I’m sure that our extensive training helped us in coping and approaching the situation as calmly as possible.
“I’m just grateful I wasn’t on an early shift that day, as I could have been miles away and wouldn’t have made it back in time to be with Nicky.
“I spent a lot of time helping sheep farmers during the lambing season in 2001, when the foot and mouth outbreak prevented animals from being moved around, so I’ve delivered a lot of lambs in my time in some very muddy fields.
“Delivering my daughter was a slightly different experience though.”