VALENTINE’S day held a little more significance this year for a Clitheroe couple and Carolyn Mashiter certainly had a special surprise for her husband Michael – she gave birth to baby Joshua in the back of their car.
The Mayfied Avenue couple, who are also parents to two-year-old Lucy, were on their way to the Lancashire Women and Newborn Unit at Burnley General Hospital, when the drama unfolded.
Carolyn (32) explained: “I had started with pains early on in the day and from my last experience, was keen to stay at home for as long as possible as I didn’t want to be turned away from the hospital if we arrived too early.
“I went about my jobs and the pains were quite mild, so I knew labour would be a while off.”
Later in the afternoon, after having had a bath, Carolyn’s waters broke and she decided it was time to ring the hospital, who told the couple to come in.
Carolyn continued: “I know that labour still didn’t feel imminent as I made a lasagne for Michael’s tea around 2 p.m., thinking he would have something to eat when he got back from the hospital if it was late at night!”
The couple left Clitheroe with the pains becoming stronger at around 4-15 p.m. and were en-route in Read when Carolyn started shouting to Michael that she could feel the baby’s head.
Michael explained: “Carolyn’s cries were getting increasingly louder and I knew that the baby was close as she was really shouting and saying she needed to push. I asked her if she wanted us to stop the car to call an ambulance, but she told me in no uncertain terms to carry on and just get to the hospital!”
And so, on the Fence bypass at approximately 4-39 p.m., Joshua Edward Stephan made his entrance into the world Michael continued: “I heard a funny noise and said to Carolyn ‘Is it coming out?’ and then I heard her say ‘What are you doing getting here so quickly?’ I heard a cry and realised the baby was here. It’s not often you double the number of passengers in the car without stopping! It was an amazing moment.”
Keen golfer Michael (35) and Carolyn, who works in Haslingden as a primary school teacher, are full of praise for their care on arrival at hospital some 10 minutes later. Carolyn continued: “We pulled up in the ambulance bay and four midwives came out to us immediately. They cut the cord and made sure the baby was warm enough. I’d had him wrapped up in a towel and cuddled up to me, so he was fine.
The midwives were so reassuring and the whole thing ironically felt so calm and unpanicked. I just felt that he had to be OK if he wanted to be with us so quickly and there wasn’t a moment where I felt vulnerable or scared. It was actually really empowering and lovely to know that I’d done it all by myself.”
Fortunately, Carolyn had written Michael’s Valentine’s card before Joshua, who weighed in at 8lb. 7oz., decided to make his appearance: “It was so strange as I wrote that I promised to make this Valentine’s day one to remember – I don’t even know what made me write it!”
It certainly was.