A RETIRED midwife found herself recalling old skills when her neighbour unexpectedly went into labour in the street.
Mum-to-be Helen Pallister feared she might give birth on Chester Road in Sunderland.
The panic-stricken mum even considered calling her soon-to-arrive child Chester, after his place of birth.
Helen, 38, was struggling to get into a car outside her Sunderland home in a bid to make it to the hospital on time.
Luckily, next-door-neighbour and ex-nurse Jean Goldsbrough, 80, was walking by and able to offer expert help.
Helen’s instinct was to push the baby out there and then, but Jean knew better.
With her help, Helen managed to hold on until she reached Sunderland Royal Hospital, where healthy eight-pound-one-and-a-half-ounce baby James was born.
“James was going to be called Chester,” said Helen. “After the road where I thought I was going to have him.
“I woke up and was having pains all day, but thought nothing of it until they started coming on really strong at 2.30pm and I decided to leave the house at 3.10pm.
“But I couldn’t get into the car until 3.25pm because I was doubled over. I thought I was going to have him in the street, then I thought it might be the car.”
Jean, who retired 22 years ago, had been shopping and was walking up the street when she spotted Helen in the throws of labour pains.
Jean said: “Helen and her parents saw me coming up the street when they were getting into the car and asked me to help, which I was happy to do.”
Calm Jean talked Helen through her pain and managed to get her comfortable for the journey to the hospital.
Helen said: “Jean managed to keep me right until we got to the hospital, where they said I was ready to push and seven minutes later he was there.
“Jean was my birthing partner because there was no one else apart from my dad who was still looking for a parking space.”
Helen is married to John, 32, a mortgage manager.
The couple, of Hawarden Crescent, High Barnes, already have a daughter, Kate, two, who was happy welcome baby brother, James, who was born safely at the hospital on March 18.
Jean added: “I was a midwife for many years. When it’s something you’ve done all your working life it isn’t a problem. You don’t forget it.
“It was a very happy occasion.”