KAREN Allen loves each of her eight grandchildren dearly.
But one will hold a special place in her heart after she delivered him herself.
When daughter Bev Allen, 26, went into labour with her third child there was only one person she wanted with her – her mum.
Miss Allen, a cleaner, started having contractions on Wednesday, and by 8.30pm she contacted Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, who told her to call back in an hour.
Within the hour though, Miss Allen was in severe pain and contacted her parents.
They drove to her home in London Road, Bicester, ready to take her and her partner Cliff Wolstenholme, a 29-year-old production worker at Brita Water Filters in Bicester, to hospital.
But it was clear the baby was already on his way.
Mother-of-four Mrs Allen, 52, of Andover Close, Bicester, said: “We knew we couldn’t get her in the car and phoned an ambulance.
“They were on the phone to me explaining what to do. I said ‘I’ve never delivered a baby before’ and they said ‘we will talk you through it’.
“I was really scared.
“Ten minutes later the paramedics turned up.
“I was holding Bev’s hand thinking they would take over now, then they said ‘can you come down this end?’ “I said ‘I haven’t delivered a baby before’, and the paramedic tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘you will be alright’.
“Two minutes later the paramedic said ‘the head’s starting to crown, another push and it will come out’.
“They said just hold the head then the body came out. They told me to lift him gently and I placed him on Bev’s stomach.
“They were there guiding me but I delivered him. It was lovely.
“I’m still shocked. I can’t get over how quickly it happened.”
By 10.30pm, baby Alfie had arrived.
Miss Allen has two other children, Alisha, three, and Tyler, 18 months.
She said: “I knew from my previous labours he was coming. I told mum I needed her, and after she got here it just happened so quickly.
“I didn’t expect to deliver him at home, but he came so quick. It was absolutely amazing, the best experience ever, I will never forget it.”
The family’s new arrival was also Miss Allen’s fastest delivery.
Alisha was born after two hours 56 minutes’ labour and Tyler one hour 36 minutes.
Proud grandfather Anthony Allen works with his wife at British Bakels, off Launton Road, Bicester, as a fork-lift driver. He said: “It was fantastic, every grandmother’s dream.”
South Central Ambulance Service spokesman James Keating Wilkes said: “We were on scene within 20 minutes. The grandmother was doing a fantastic job, with our clinical expertise on hand.
“No two births are the same and it is not unusual for us to help deliver a birth over the telephone.
“We had assessed the baby and the mother at the scene and there was no trouble. It was a textbook birth.
“You can only have one pair of hands delivering a baby.
“We stayed until 20 past midnight to make sure the midwife was happy for mum and baby to stay at home.”