A CAERPHILLY woman delivered her neighbour’s baby girl on the sofa as the youngster was going to be born before paramedics could get to her.

Former midwife Shirley Cox, 52, was forced to quit her much-loved job 17 years ago on health grounds, and never thought she’d ever get the opportunity to deliver a baby again.

The drama began to unfold early on Sunday as neighbour Tim Bishop, of Bryn Dolwen, Bedwas, knocked her door, saying that his heavily pregnant wife, Louise, had started to go into labour.

The baby was two days overdue, and Mrs Bishop’s contractions were coming rapidly, only a minute apart.

Mr Bishop called 999 at 7.28am and waited nervously, but there didn’t appear to be time to wait for the paramedics to arrive before the baby came, so he knocked his neighbour’s door, knowing of her past occupation.

Ms Cox said: “I threw some clothes on and rushed in, with Louise almost at the point of delivery on the sofa.

“As I helped her, the paramedics arrived. But they let me finish delivering the baby. It was absolutely fabulous, I haven’t stopped grinning, I never thought I’d be able to do it again.”

Ms Cox was a midwife at the old Caerphilly Miners Hospital.

She said: “I miss it lots, but to get back into it I’d probably have to retrain. I say to any neighbours who are pregnant, if they ever feel they are going into labour, give me a call.”

Kirby arrived at 7.43am on Sunday, weighing 7lb 12oz and is the Bishops’ second child after 15-month-old Cassidy.

After a brief visit to Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital for a check-up, she was back home by 1pm and is now doing well.

A spokesman for the Aneurin Bevan Health Board added that, if possible, expectant mothers or their families should contact a currently qualified midwife if women have problems.