It was a race against the clock for a Lancashire family whose son was born in the midst of the devastating floods and power cuts earlier this month.
Little Kuba Wolnik will certainly have a story to tell when he grows up after his uncle drove over 100 miles to make sure his dad made it to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary in time for his birth.
Anna Wolnik, 34, woke up at home in Maple Avenue, Morecambe, on her due date – December 6 – to find the power had still not returned. Storm Desmond flooded the electrity substation in Lancaster the night before, leaving 55,000 homes without power.
Cursing the fact that she’d just done a week’s shop and her freezer was slowly thawing out, she was in the bathroom when she realised she wasn’t far away from going into labour. Her husband Jerzy, 35, and four-year-old daughter Ola, were also at home.
She said: “There was no power, no phone signal, neither of us drive and the nearest taxi rank is 20 minutes away so we were completely stranded.
“I wanted to speak to a midwife so I called 999, but they insisted on sending an ambulance. We went over Skerton Bridge and everything was so surreal. There were cars bobbing around in the water and everyone was wandering about aimlessly. I was checked over at the RLI and they said I could go home, but there was no way of getting back so I had to stay put. I spent about two hours phoning around my family, and finally got through to my dad who said I was in the best place for now.
“Fortunately I was able to speak to my sister in Penrith and my brother in Newcastle, who told me to call if I needed anything.
“At around midnight on Sunday I started getting more tightenings, and I was about to ring for some paracetamol when my waters broke.
“I just thought, ‘Thank God I’m here!’”
Anna rang around her family again but couldn’t get through, and resigned herself to giving birth alone.
“I just thought if that’s the case so be it but I remembered my brother Jimi saying if I need anything just call,” she said. “I got through and he said he would come over and pick Jerzy up.
“I told him not to as he’d have to come through Carlisle, which was also badly flooded, but he just said keep trying to call people and hung up. As the contractions got worse I really wanted Jerzy to be here.”
About an hour later Anna got a call back from Jimi to say not to be worried but he was on his way to pick Jerzy up to bring him to the hospital.
“He turned up at 7am and an hour later Kuba was born,” said the relieved new mum.
“Before my brother arrived in Morecambe Jerzy had no idea what was going on.”
Anna added: “My sister has been great too, my siblings really came through for us on this one.”
Kuba George was born at 8.02am on December 7 weighing 8lb 14oz. His proud grandparents are Daniela and Wojciech Wolnik, who live in Wolsztyn, Poland, and Edward Nightingale, from Nether Kellet and Marilyn Nightingale, from Bolton-le-Sands.