Baby’s early arrival prompts dad’s special delivery

February 23, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

When his partner went into premature labour a courageous father sprang into action, taking on the role of midwife to deliver his son at their home in Daly Park, Silverbridge.

The drama unfolded in the early hours of Saturday, February 13th when Tracey Orriss awoke shortly after 3.10am with intense abdominal pain.

She alerted her partner, Gareth Kelly, to the situation and the couple set about planning the journey to hospital, twelve miles away.

However, as the labour swiftly progressed, they realised that their baby’s birth was imminent, more than two weeks early.

Recognising that they would not have time to reach the hospital, Gareth called the emergency services for an ambulance.

It was during this phone call that events advanced rapidly and Tracey was on the verge of giving birth.

Guided by the call centre operator, Gareth dismissed any apprehension and safely delivered his son into the world.

“At first I thought we would maybe get to hospital but when we realised that it was too late, Tracey told me to ring 999,” Gareth explained.

“At that stage I panicked a wee bit although I hadn’t really much time to think about it.  But the call operator kept me calm, telling me what to do,” he added.

Meanwhile, alerted by the commotion, Gareth’s mother, Marian, who lives next door, arrived to help and was first to cradle her newborn grandson, while Gareth tended to Tracey.  And by the time the ambulance arrived around 15 minutes after the initial call, the whole event was over, having lasted approximately fifty minutes in total.

As a precautionary measure, mother and baby were taken to hospital and, following medical check ups, the family returned home later that afternoon.


Baby Ciaran Michael Kelly arrived into his father’s arms, weighing in at a healthy 7lb 15oz, and is a delight to his parents and sister, 23-month-old Lyndsey.

Tracey says she is extremely proud of how Gareth reacted to the situation.

“Gareth is definitely my hero,” she said.  “We are truly blessed.  Ciaran is a very happy and contented baby.”


The couple paid tribute to the assistance they received from the emergency call centre operator who stayed on the line with Gareth until the ambulance personnel had arrived.  Wishing to convey their appreciation, Tracey embarked on a challenge to get in touch with the person who guided Gareth through the birth.

She contacted Daisy Hill hospital and was put through to the ambulance call centre.  From there, her call was conveyed to the emergency call centre and, as all such calls are recorded, the identity of the operator – John McCullough – had been entered on the system.  Tracey was then put through to speak directly to John, who was delighted to hear that mother and baby are doing well and was equally pleased to accept the couple’s deep appreciation for his help.

“It meant a lot to me to be able to thank John personally.  They do a fantastic job which is often overlooked and it’s just nice to be able to say thank you,” Tracey said.

“He guided Gareth but he was also so reassuring and calmed down what could have been a very frantic situation.”

The couple also thanked the  paramedic team who tended to Tracey at home before taking her and her baby to hospital.

Life is now settling down for the couple as they adjust to baby Ciaran’s early arrival and, in a few weeks time, they will travel to Tracey’s native England to introduce him to family members there.