Tuesday 23 January 2018

Couple who battled through Storm Desmond floods as baby was about to be born name son 'Noah'

Undated handout photo issued by John Bibby with his son James Noah, after he battled through the floods to get his wife Katherine, who was in labour, to a hospital with minutes to spare.
Undated handout photo issued by John Bibby with his son James Noah, after he battled through the floods to get his wife Katherine, who was in labour, to a hospital with minutes to spare.

A couple who battled through Cumbria's biblical floods to hospital with minutes to spare before their new son arrived have given him the middle name Noah.

John Bibby, 36, feared he would not be able to get wife Katharine to hospital on time because the roads out of their village were flooded.

Mrs Bibby, also 36, was due to be induced at Lancaster Hospital on Sunday morning as she was two weeks overdue, but when her husband checked the roads around his house he realised there was no way out of Backbarrow.

"The Backbarrow bridge was completely gone and the only other road out was covered in about three foot of water," he said.

"The house itself was fine, we're about 20 yards from the river but it's quite wide where we are."

He called the hospital and was told to try to come in the following day instead.

"I joked with Katharine, 'You better not go into labour naturally' but at 2:30 that afternoon she did!" he said.

"We were told to try and get to Furness General in Barrow instead."

But that would still mean getting out of the village.

"It was a bit of a panic, but at the same time my only experience of birth was with our daughter, Alyssa, two, and Katharine was in labour for 24 hours that time, so we had no idea how long it would take this time."

Mr Bibby tweeted to try to get advice on which roads were open which proved vital in helping the family get out of the village.

There had been so much water flooding the back road out of Backbarrow that it had pushed over a drywall and spilled out into a field, he said.

"That was pretty lucky. If she had gone into labour at say 10am, or on Saturday night, it might have been a home birth and I'm not sure how I'd manage that!" Mr Bibby added.

"We got through the main flooded bit, luckily we have a Land Rover, I don't think a normal car would have done it.

"But I had to stop quite a few times when Katharine's contractions got really bad, and tried to speed up in between contractions as much as possible. It did cross my mind that I might have to deliver the baby in the car!

"Katharine was in a lot of pain in the car, but was still laughing and joking."

After a tense 40-minute journey, their two-year-old daughter Alyssa in the car too, they arrived at the hospital, and within just five minutes Ms Bibby gave birth.

"I was waiting outside the room trying to keep Alyssa entertained and a nurse came out and said, 'the baby is arriving now', I couldn't believe it. I thought we had plenty of time, I'd brought magazines, thought we might be here for days!" he said.

Their son, James Noah Bibby, was 8lb 11oz and completely healthy.

"The staff at the hospital were brilliant and Katharine was absolutely heroic. I had no idea she was so close to giving birth, she must have been in so much pain."

Mr Bibby took Alyssa home that night and waited as his sister tried to make it through the floods to pick her up, and on Monday night he was able to bring them both home.

Although the severe weather had left their home without power, the roads are now open and both mother and baby are doing well.

Mr Bibby said: "His first name was always going to be James because I'm a massive Bond fan - but we've just given him the middle name Noah, because of his journey through the floods!"

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