Staff at Derian House are celebrating the most joyous delivery in the hospice’s 24-year history.
Baby Charlie Christopher Greenwood was born at the Astley Village site at 10.30pm on Wednesday, with nurses standing in while a midwife arrived.
His parents, Lauren Doherty, 22, and Zak Greenwood, 26, from Rochdale, had been on a two-day respite stay with 18-month-old daughter Gracie, who has a terminal brain tumour.
Lauren, a full-time mum, was eight days overdue, and first started experiencing contractions on Tuesday night.
She was taken to Bolton Hospital on Wednesday, but sent back to Derian House with painkillers when the contractions stopped.
She said: “It had crossed my mind that I might go into labour and we’d brought all the baby stuff, but I didn’t really think I would happen.”
The contractions then re-started and Lauren’s waters broke at 8.30pm in the family’s respite flat. By then Lauren was in too much pain to make it to Chorley Hospital’s birthing centre, and paediatric palliative care nurse Louise Leach stepped in while a midwife arrived. Charlie was born two hours later weighing 9lb 3oz.
Lauren said: “I thought I was in for a long, slow labour, but I was wrong!
“Louise was brilliant, I couldn’t have done it without her. She was so chilled while I was panicking there was no midwife and Zak was on the phone trying to get in touch with her.”
Georgina Cox, chief executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “It was such a lovely surprise to welcome little Charlie into the world here at Derian House – the first birth in our 24-year history.
“Congratulations to Lauren, Zak and, of course, big sister Gracie who is a visitor here for respite care.
“Charlie’s arrival is a true symbol of hope in the darkest of times. The pure joy on the faces of his family – and especially Gracie, who loves to kiss and cuddle her brother – is a joy to see.
“His unexpected arrival proves that our wonderful nurses here at Derian House really are able to handle whatever unexpected emergency is thrown at them. Palliative care nurse Louse Leach certainly didn’t expect to be acting as a midwife when she arrived on duty last night!
“Derian staff are renowned nationwide for the very best care they offer families: nothing is too much trouble. This extra-special delivery shows how our staff can rise to any occasion and provide the support our families need – whatever the situation.
“The hospice prides itself on making extra special memories for the families that pass through our doors but this is certainly one memory that no one at Derian will forget in a hurry. All our staff here are over the moon at this unexpected arrival.”