Express & Star

Baby is delivered by her great-grandmother, 82

Great-grandmother Alma Parkes knows all about childbirth, having had five babies of her own.


And the 82-year-old has an extra special bond with her family's latest addition after turning midwife to welcome great-granddaughter Emily into the world – the second relative she has helped to deliver.

Mother-to-be Claire Stevens was at her grandmother Alma's Kinver home when she started giving birth to Emily in the lounge.

Cool as a cucumber, the great-gran took control of the situation. It was not the first time she had stepped into the breach, as she helped deliver her granddaughter Kelly 34 years ago.

Alma, who now has three great-grandchildren, said after her latest delivery: "It was a privilege. My family mean the world to me."

Today Claire and her husband John, from Albion Street in Wall Heath, said they were grateful for Alma's calmness under pressure.

"She was amazing. We don't know what we would have done without her," said Claire, who gave birth two days after her 29th birthday.

Claire was already a week overdue when she was getting ready for her regular catch-up at her grandmother's house. At about 10.15am she felt a slight pain while getting her eldest, Harry, ready at home but had dismissed it as nothing serious by the time Alma arrived to pick her up. That lunchtime, the twinges returned and she called John, who had been out on his work's Christmas lunch, and told him he should come back.

The pains were getting stronger and she called Dudley's Russells Hall Hospital at 5pm but was told it was the early stages of labour and there was no rush to come in. "I thought I'd wait for the traffic to die down a bit. John's mom Penny even called and I said I'd probably wait for Emmerdale before I went," said Claire. But minutes later she decided it was time to go.

Yet, in the time it took to start getting into the car, the family realised the baby was coming more quickly than they thought. That is when Alma took over and ordered them all back into the house, while John, aged 37, called 999. Claire was bought back into the lounge and Alma fetched towels, while John stayed on the phone talking to the operator.

"It was happening very quickly," said Alma. "She gave another push and just as the paramedics came through the door the baby delivered." Claire added: "I had the baby at 6.50pm, so Emmerdale went out of the window."

Emily was born weighing 9lb 9oz on December 19. John works for npower in Oldbury while his wife is a fraud investigator for an insurance firm. Alma was originally from Birmingham but settled in Kinver 21 years ago. She said she had seen many births while a nurse auxiliary at Mary Stevens maternity unit in Stourbridge and the former Wordsley Hospital.

Her daughter Denise had been living with her in her previous house in Iverley, near Stourbridge, some 34 years ago when Alma helped deliver her granddaughter Kelly, who weighed just 4lbs.

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