Royal Marine Sergeant Matt Harness cradles his son Spencer in the car park of the Waggon and Horses public house in rural Lincolnshire – the very spot where the reservist delivered him.
The full-time firefighter and spare time Commando turned midwife when he ran out of time on a late-night dash to the maternity ward in Lincoln – and was forced to deliver the baby himself.
The drama began when he and his partner Kaylee visited the labour ward in Lincoln when her contractions started.
A midwife’s examination agreed, but decided the baby’s appearance probably wasn’t imminent; the couple’s first child, Austin, had only made his debut after a 28-hour labour.
So Matt and Kaylee returned home to the village of Tattershall, 16 miles away and awaited developments.
“Mistake,” said Matt bluntly. “No sooner were we home than Kaylee’s waters were all over the sofa and living room carpet, and we were back in the car heading back to hospital.”
As Matt raced down the Lincolnshire lanes in the dark, it quickly became apparent that the baby was going to appear before they reached hospital.
So, four miles from their destination, they pulled into the car park of the Waggon and Horses in the village of Branston where an ambulance would meet them, while midwives had warned the pub’s landlord to have towels at the ready.
“The plan was to help Kaylee out of the car and into the pub lounge – hopefully the ambulance would arrive soon after,” said Matt.
“Before we had chance to do this, Kaylee screamed: ‘He’s coming now!’
“I got myself quickly round to her side of the car, and sure enough there was a baby’s head! At this point there’s no time for worry, panic or anything else, time to switch on and do what you can.
“In I went, taking hold of baby’s head, when all of a sudden another contraction, and the rest of the baby came out in one go. All I needed to do was to catch him before he fell into the foot well! I’m no natural with a rugby ball, but on this occasion I’m pleased to say I held on!”
Before long, the ambulance arrived, Kaylee and Spencer were whisked off to the hospital, leaving Matt to thank the landlord and his rather stunned staff before following the ambulance and getting to hospital just in time to cut the cord.
Matt said: “A few weeks later and I’m happy to say that Spencer and Kaylee are both doing well.
“My three other children Austin, Luke and Lilli are chuffed to bits with their new little brother. And the car upholstery has been scrubbed – a lot!”