Quick-thinking dad ties baby's umbilical cord with his shoelace

Baby Saphia's dad used his shoelace to tie her umbilical cord after her unexpected roadside arrival.
Baby Saphia's dad used his shoelace to tie her umbilical cord after her unexpected roadside arrival. Photo: Facebook/Georgina Doherty

When his baby girl made her unexpected arrival in the back of the family car, a quick-thinking father tied her umbilical cord with the only thing he could find: his shoelace.

Paul Doherty and his wife Georgina were making their way to Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, when their bub decided she simply couldn't wait a minute longer.

Mr Doherty pulled over to the side of the road and phoned emergency services, who coached the couple through their little one's - very speedy - delivery.

"The next minute the baby was out, so I had to throw the phone down and catch her," Mr Doherty told BBC News.

"I gave her to Georgina and she started crying. Then they just said keep them both warm, we're going to get you to tie something round the umbilical cord."

The only thing Mr Doherty had in the car was his shoelace - which he promptly removed to complete a job well done.

Their little girl, Saphia, was 13 days overdue, and is the couple's fourth child. 

Of her three-hour labour, Ms Doherty told BBC news that as they drove towards the hospital she had a feeling she wasn't going to make it in time.


The mother-of-four asked her husband to pull over by the side of the road, telling him, "I think the baby's coming, I can feel the head coming."

And she was right.

By the time Mr Doherty had stopped the car and jumped out of his seat, Saphia's head "was actually out to view".

The couple were grateful they found a quiet spot in which to welcome their eager bub.

"The road was private and was that quiet that the ambulance passed us and couldn't find us," Ms Doherty said.

The pair told BBC Radio Foyle that their latest addition is settling in well, alongside siblings, Jake, Teigan and Shay.

"She's a wee local celebrity," Ms Doherty said.