For one dedicated tween, nothing could stop her from getting to school — not even delivering her baby sister first thing in the morning.
When Tara Knightley started having contractions last week, her partner, Daniel Burke, immediately left to take their youngest child to his sister’s house. But 10 minutes after he left, Knightley’s water broke. “Based on previous labors, I knew that as soon as that happened, it wouldn’t be long before the baby was born,” Knightley, a mother of five in the U.K., told the Birmingham Mail. So Knightley told her eldest daughter, Caitlin, 11, to call an ambulance. “They were telling her what to do over the phone.”
For the next two hours, Caitlin followed advice on how to help her mother through labor, and was right there when her baby sister, Elsa-Monet, was born, just after 7 a.m. “She got the towels, she then helped remove the cord because it was wrapped around the baby, and she helped to rub and stimulate her because she wasn’t crying,” Knightley said.
As if that wasn’t enough action for one day, Caitlin then handed the newborn to her mother and headed off to school. “My friends at school and the teachers were really happy and proud of me,” Caitlin told the Birmingham Mail.
Knightley said her daughter was remarkably levelheaded during the ordeal. “When the head was showing, I thought to myself ‘I need to stop screaming because my 11-year-old daughter is seeing me,’” she said. “I was screaming in pain but Caitlin was calm throughout.”
The experience established an unusually strong bond between the sisters, too. “I was a bit scared and shaky at first because I had never seen anything like that before in my life,” Caitlin said. “But when my sister was born, I was really happy. I think she’s really cute and I love her very much.”
Knightley says she’s forever grateful for Caitlin’s help, and touched by the sisterly connection. “I don’t know what I would have done if Caitlin had not been there. I couldn’t do what Caitlin has done at my age, let alone at the age of 11,” she said. “She has such a bond with her baby sister now. She can’t leave her alone and keeps saying how much she loves her.”
The incident also helped inspire a career path for the 11-year-old. As she told the Birmingham Mail, “I want to be a midwife when I’m older.”