Quick-thinking dad tied off tot’s umbilical cord with earphones

Richard Cox with daughter Emilie. Picture: Contributed
Richard Cox with daughter Emilie. Picture: Contributed
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A quick-thinking dad has told of the moment he had to deliver his baby daughter on the bathroom floor... using a pair of headphones.

Father-of-two Richard Cox helped his wife Hayley give birth to premature Emilie using his Apple headphones to tie off the tot’s umbilical cord.

The 31-year-old recalled his joy and fears for their daughter’s safety as he had to deliver their baby at home after his wife went into labour seven weeks before her due date: “It all happened so quickly – my wife went into labour late at night and before I had time to dial for an ambulance she’d [Emilie] been born.

“After Emilie arrived, I rang 999 and the call-handler said I needed to find a bit of string – like a shoelace – to tie up the umbilical cord,” said Richard, from Dunfermline.

“The only thing I could find was my iPhone earphones – I tied them to the cord and it worked fine. The call taker deserves all the credit.

“All while this happened, my wife was asking, is the baby breathing; is the baby OK? We had it in our mind that the child was not going to be breathing.”

Tiny Emilie was born on January 8 weighing in at just three pounds, 14 ounces.

Richard said everything he did was a “natural instinct”. He dialled 999 and calmed his two-year-old son Liam who had been asleep.

The couple were at their Rosyth home, near Dunfermline, in January when mum Hayley started to suffer intense pain.

Stay-at-home mum Hayley, 32, was in the bathroom when she called out for Richard.

Bank worker Richard, who has general first aid experience, said: “Within a few minutes, I had our baby in my hands. My wife said you need to phone 999!”

Scottish Ambulance Service student technician Scott Pimbert and Mark Crawford, Paramedic Team Leader at Dunfermline Station, supported Richard as he cut the chord.

Tying the umbilical cord is vital to ensuring a newborn’s survival, preventing mum and baby from developing a potentially deadly infection.

Richard cut the chord, despite being in shock.

“Everyone played their part, from the call taker to the paramedics. They asked if I wanted to cut the cord; they were all very reassuring. It happened so fast! The main priority was making sure she was breathing and wiping her face. I did not appreciate she was born until the ambulance arrived! At hospital, I still couldn’t believe it.”

Emilie came home after a few weeks at the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) in Kirkcaldy. The couple said the six-month-old is doing well, thanks to the ambulance crews who they have praised as heroes.

“The ambulance service are heroes. The call handler and paramedics were amazing. If we were in another country, if we didn’t have the NHS, our daughter might not be here today.”