‘Learn first aid’ says supergran who delivered own grandchild

supergran delivers grandchild

A grandmother delivered her own granddaughter after a swift and dramatic labour, thanks to her first aid training with St John Ambulance.

On Tuesday 14 August at 6am Janet Corbett was fast asleep after a long shift at Sainsbury’s when her daughter called to say that her contractions had started.

Daughter Sarah-Alice, 23, who lives just yards away from her mother in Cobham, Surrey, was a week shy of her due date. Sarah-Alice was able to walk the few minutes to her mother’s house where the pair prepared to go to hospital. They were chatting and relaxed but Janet soon realised something was wrong.

First aid training helped me stay calm. Calling for an ambulance is scary but everything kicked in when I needed it to. I’d urge everyone to learn first aid. Don’t leave it ‘til you need it.

Janet Corbett
Grandmother who delivered own grandchild

‘Within a very short time the contractions got closer together until there was virtually no time between them. It could have been worrying but I know first aid and my training kicked in,’ said Janet, who learned first aid with St John Ambulance.

‘I phoned for an ambulance. I also called my husband and asked him to come over urgently. I then made sure Sarah-Alice was comfortable.’

Janet took Sarah-Alice up to the bedroom and her waters quickly broke. ‘I called for my husband to get clean towels and then he went to wait for the ambulance. But before the paramedics could get there the baby appeared. There was a moment of panic when the cord was wrapped around her neck but I quickly unwrapped it and the rest of the birth was luckily very straight forward.’

The paramedics arrived soon after and they let Janet wrap up the baby – little Abigail Alice - and massage her gently. Then her proud granddad cut the cord.

Sarah-Alice’s partner, Russell, was called and the paramedics took the young family to hospital where they had a check-up and left the same day. ‘Mother and baby are both fit and well,’ said Janet. ‘We were out and shopping the next day!’

‘It all happened so quickly. It is still sinking in but I do feel an extra-special bond with my new grand-daughter.’

Sarah-Alice thanks her lucky stars her mother knew first aid: ‘It was such a relief knowing I was in safe hands. Abigail was very keen to come into the world and I’m delighted my mother could help in making sure she arrived safely.’

The whole family – mother, father, granddad and grandmother - are members of St John Ambulance. Janet is superintendent at the Cobham branch and Sarah-Alice looks after a Badger sett – a group of members aged five to10 – although she will be taking things easy for a little while.

Janet has been part of St John Ambulance since she was seven: ‘Although I know first aid and have treated people at events I certainly never thought I’d deliver my own granddaughter.

‘First aid training helped me stay calm. Calling for an ambulance is scary but everything kicked in when I needed it to. I’d urge everyone to learn first aid. Don’t leave it ‘til you need it.’

St John Ambulance has a range of courses for everyone, from only £16, including:

  • Basic first aid (three hours) which teaches the essentials of first aid and is ideal for people who don’t want to learn resuscitation
  • Emergency life support for those that want to learn CPR techniques for adults (three hours), children and infants (three hours) or all ages (four hours)
  • Family first aid (six hours) is perfect for families of any size who want to learn first aid together as there is set pricing for adults and children
  • Activity first aid (16 hours) was developed for leaders of activity groups and teaches scenario management in remote areas.