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Manager helps deliver baby boy at Belfast shopping centre


Connswater Retail Park in east Belfast / Credit: Google Maps

Connswater Retail Park in east Belfast / Credit: Google Maps

Connswater Retail Park in east Belfast / Credit: Google Maps

An assistant manager at an east Belfast shopping centre has told of her "amazing" experience helping to deliver a baby boy after a shopper went into labour.

Josephine Coulter, who works at Connswater, jumped into action after the mother said the baby was coming as she sat on the steps of the shopping centre on Monday.

Speaking on Good Morning Ulster, she said the work day had started like any other before a call came in over the radio.

"I heard that a young girl was sitting on the front steps who thought she was in labour and that they [security] had tasked the ambulance service," she said.

"So I made my way downstairs and one of our security guards, he was on the phone to ambulance control and they were giving him some instructions.

"The girl's name was Nicole and she was Slovakian and had no English, which didn't help matters."

Ambulance control told the Connswater staff to put Nicole into a wheelchair, take her somewhere private, and place her on the floor and strip off her bottom half.

Ms Coulter said: "It is not something I would do on a daily basis, I was a bit shaken to be honest but I think fight or flight kicked in.

"It was evident that she was not going to give birth right there and then but obviously nature was taking its course.

"She was in quite a bit of pain and there was another girl there, I think she was a neighbour or a friend. She was Polish, so she was able to interpret a bit for us.

"We didn't know whether the baby was due, whether she was full-term. Things kept progressing."

Ms Coulter said ambulance control told the staff to get towels and a shoe string to help tie the umbilical cord as the baby was coming.

Much to the relief of Ms Coulter, a rapid response paramedic arrived at the scene.

Ms Coulter said: "He said to me 'we are going nowhere, the baby is coming'.

"It was all a bit surreal, I don't know how long it was until the actual baby arrived. There was one last big push, her waters broke and out came the little baby. It was beautiful, talk about the miracle of life. It was absolutely amazing. I was a bit emotional."

The paramedic wrapped the baby in towels before handing the little boy to his mother.

Ms Coulter said: "It was a little boy. By this time some of her relatives had gathered outside so we could hear everybody yo hoing and having a big celebration, shouting 'Connswater baby' outside, so that brought a bit of lightness to it.

"It was such a lovely experience."

The assistant manger said she hoped to see Nicole and her baby boy come back to the centre to visit staff.

She added: "I got to cuddle the baby before the ambulance took the baby and mother away."

Belfast Telegraph