It could so easily have turned to tragedy, but instead Vila do Bispo bombeiros very possibly made history when they successfully oversaw the premature birth of an English baby … in the bathtub!
The extraordinary story began three months ago when 43-year-old Leigh Davis, 33 weeks pregnant with her daughter Rosie, started feeling pain and went up to the bathroom of the home she shares in Budens with partner Christopher Whitman to see if having a bath would make her feel better.
Once she was in the bath, she must have realised things were moving in a totally different direction.
Suffice it to say, the action of local Bombeiros (firemen) was “essential”, Whitman said afterwards.
“The baby was born in five minutes, and in just five minutes the bombeiros were already there helping us,” he told us.
Tiny Rosie, so small she could fit into the palm of a hand, was born in the bath, with bombeiros Sónia Prata and Filipe Pires cutting the cord and generally helping with everything.
Mother and baby were then taken to Portimão hospital, with Rosie apparently wide-eyed and using her hands animatedly.
Whitman said the extraordinary story also shows how important it is to keep Portimão’s maternity unit open.
“There are rumors that it might shut, but if we had had to travel another 45 minutes to Faro, my baby might not have survived,” he told us.
The little girl, weighing just 1.6kg when she arrived in hospital, is now a bonny 3.7 kg and back in the outside world, growing up like any other baby.
Her parents visited the fire station last week, to thank Rosie’s “birthing team” and show them all how well she was doing.
The happy father told us that as a “sign of gratitude”, part of the proceeds of the next John Aldridge Charity Classic golf event will be donated to the fire department.
For fire fighter Sónia it was actually the ninth birth she’s been involved in “but it is always an emotional experience”.
Vila do Bispo fire station gets its fair share of ambulance births as expectant mums are a good half-hour’s journey from ante-natal support in Portimão.
Photo: Delighted parents Christopher Whitman and Leigh Davis with little Rosie