An overjoyed young Harborough couple are celebrating their very own “Christmas miracle” – the beautiful baby boy they had to deliver themselves.
Ecstatic new mum and dad Jade Pountney, 24, and Sam Castledine, 25, are walking on cloud nine after making national headlines as their baby Freddie came into the world five days early.
Today Sam, of Kibworth Harcourt, told the Harborough Mail: “It’s just absolutely incredible that we’ve got little Freddie here with us now after all we went through.
“We were both hit by a bombardment of swirling emotions as our first baby was born in such a rush in our own flat – it was a whirlwind.
“It still hardly seems real.
“We had the worst possible scenario with the best possible outcome – and we wouldn’t change Freddie for the world.”
Cradling Freddie as she sat beside Sam, Jade said: “He really is our very own Christmas miracle.
“We couldn’t have had a better Christmas present – Freddie’s just so perfect and we love him to bits.”
The drama happened at the flat they share on Monday December 27.
Jade woke Sam up in the early hours suffering back pain as she suspected she might be starting her contractions.
"The pain got worse at about 6am so we went to the hospital for a check-up.
“But we were sent back home and told to return when the contractions were closer together,” recalled Sam, who works at the Battery Store on Market Harborough’s Welland Business Park.
"So Jade went into the bedroom to rest when we got back.
“I went into our living room and watched Lord of the Rings as I waited.
"But then she texted me to say she needed me.
“Jade was in the en-suite and her waters had broken.
"So we got our stuff together quickly.
“But then more of her waters broke just as she was about to get in the car,” said Sam.
"I went into panic as I got back of the car wondering what was going to happen.
“We knew we weren’t going to make it to hospital.
“So Jade hobbled back into the flat and I got her on the bed.
"She told me she could feel something between her legs.
“So I had a look and I was just amazed.
“Freddie was head down and was fully out with his eyes wide open and just staring at me.
“He was just looking straight at me.
“I thought to myself ‘This is it, I’ve seen our baby’.
“I knew fear, excitement, panic and great joy – all within about five minutes,” smiled Sam, who said Freddie was due on New Year’s Day.
“I’ve never been hit by such a rollercoaster of emotions before – and probably never will be again.”
Jade managed to deliver Freddie – who weighed in at a healthy 6lbs 12ozs – at about 1.40pm on Monday afternoon.
Sam was about to dash for help to his mum Rachel’s, who lives next door but one, when he was stopped in his tracks.
"Jade spotted that the umbilical cord was wrapped around Freddie's neck and back.
“We suddenly realised we hadn't heard him cry since he came out and we feared he couldn’t breathe,” said Sam.
“And his little hands and legs were purple – it was frightening.
“I had to be a bit rough to get the cord off from around his neck, it was caught under his chin, and he made a ghastly whimpering noise.
“I was thinking about cutting the cord but Jade told me that you need to tie it off first or it would bleed everywhere.”
Picking up the dramatic breaking story, Jade said: “I did child care at school and college and I knew that we couldn’t just cut the cord.
“I was rubbing Freddie and trying to stimulate his breathing.
“But I’m just so pleased that I had Sam there.
“He could easily have crumbled because both our heads were spinning there was so much coming at us.
“But he was as solid as a rock, he couldn’t have been any better,” said Jade, who works at The Willows Nursing Home on Coventry Road, Market Harborough.
Heart racing, Sam raced to his mum’s house amid fears that his precious newborn baby’s life hung in the balance.
“I was desperate to get help.
“While I was out I spotted a police car driving along the A6.
“I literally threw myself on to the road,” he said.
“I could see shocked drivers having to brake to avoid me.
“I threw myself at the police car and just told the policeman everything there and then.
“Looking back it’s all just a complete blur.
“Thank goodness he came straight up to our flat with me.”
Sam had flagged down PC Ryan Holden – and he immediately called for support as fellow Harborough officers PC Steve Winn and PC James Day rushed to their aid.
“The policemen spoke to the ambulance service controller on the phone.
“The officers passed on their expert advice and it was actually my mum’s partner Robbie who tied off Freddie’s cord with a shoelace.
“It was the only thing we had available at the time,” said the new dad.
“That was about the time the trauma kicked in for me and I had to leave the bedroom for five to 10 minutes.
“I was just overwhelmed – and I became a blubbering mess.
“We then had to wait about 40 minutes for the ambulance.
“It felt like a lifetime – it was the worst and longest 40 minutes of our lives.”
Jade was whisked off to Leicester General Hospital with Freddie while Sam drove in to see them later that afternoon.
“I couldn’t have gone with them at the time, I was so shattered I couldn’t drive,” admitted Sam.
Jade added: “We both got checked out and cared for at the General and we were back home by 10pm that night.
“It’s just an incredible drama.
“It’s just crazy how quickly it all happened.
“Looking back I think I was going into early labour on Christmas Day,” she said.
“I just expected it to be a lot more painful.
“But being my first baby it was all new to me anyway.
“It’s just so surreal.
“Talking about it now it’s as if it’s happened to someone else, like an out of body experience,” said Jade, who attended Kibworth High School and Market Harborough’s Robert Smyth Academy with Sam.
“It’s still all sinking in!
“It all happened in our bedroom – and we get a little shiver up and down our spines when we go in there now.”
Sam chipped in: “It was an incredible drama.
“Almost as if it had been scripted for a Hollywood romcom, Only Fools and Horses or Call the Midwife.
“Our emotions are still running so high.
“Freddie is so perfect.
“He made me cry the other day just because he yawned!
“And to top it all off Jade and I celebrate a year being together next week,” said Sam.
“We didn’t really meet up at school.
“But our mums are very good friends – so it was written in the stars that we should get together.
“And now that we’ve got our beautiful baby Freddie we couldn’t be happier or more overjoyed.”
Jade added: “We’d just like to thank everyone who went above and beyond to support us on our big day.
“Sam’s mum, her partner and the policemen and ambulance medics were all fantastic.
“I couldn’t be prouder of Sam for the way he stayed so strong with me all the way through.
“And we are just hoping that we never have to go through anything as dramatic or heart-stopping as this ever again!”
Reliving that astonishing afternoon, PC Ryan Holden said: “This was a career first for all three of us.
“It certainly wasn’t what we expected to be dealing with when we started the shift that day.
“But we were pleased we were able to help this young family with the arrival of their first child.”
He said they were so touched by Jade and Sam that they went back to see the delighted new mum and dad bearing gifts.
“We returned to the house to provide the new family with some flowers and a card and it’s brilliant to hear that Jade, Sam and baby Freddie are all doing well,” said PC Holden.