11-year-old Delivers Her Mom’s Baby…Then Goes to School


Before you read this little piece, ask yourself, “Would I let an 11 year old babysit?”

Most people today would probably say no. Perhaps this will have them reconsidering. The tseiebdizy
Birmingham Mail reports

An 11-year-old girl from Tamworth single-handedly delivered a baby – then calmly went to school for the day.

Caitlin Burke sprang into action when mum Tara Knightley’s waters suddenly broke at her home in Dordon on Tuesday morning.

With the help of ambulance staff on the phone, the cool schoolgirl delivered baby sister Elsa-Monet, even managing to unravel the cord which was wrapped around the baby.

And after all that, she went to school.

My guess is nobody drove her to the bus stop. – L.


Go to school already! I'll be fine!

Thanks, sis. Now go to school already! [Actually, this is just a generic baby. For real photos of the “midwife” mom and baby, go here.] 


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38 Responses to 11-year-old Delivers Her Mom’s Baby…Then Goes to School

  1. ChicagoDad November 29, 2015 at 8:19 am #

    Awesome. Love it!

  2. Susan November 29, 2015 at 8:24 am #

    This is a sweet story, and an adorable family. But it makes very little sense. Why would it take the ambulance over 2 hours to arrive? Why would the father take over two hours to return (especially since he was only 10 min away when her water broke)?

  3. BL November 29, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    I’m guessing Caitlin’s day at school seemed a bit anti-climactic to her.

  4. That_Susan November 29, 2015 at 9:02 am #

    Susan, I get the impression that the father was one of those rare individuals who (like me) doesn’t always think to grab a cell phone while driving. And it’s possible that he was a little scatterbrained that morning, so maybe there was no way to reach him. It’s also possible that they are like we were up until recently and only had one cellphone for the whole family (we do also have a landline as we need it for my job, but lots of families don’t even have a landline). In that case, he most certainly would have wanted her to have the phone.

    And I don’t get the impression that they called the ambulance two hours before the baby was born. Her total labor was two hours, and it was because she’d started having contractions that her partner was taking her youngest child to a relative. She didn’t realize that her baby was about to come out till her water broke. Apparently her previous labors had been somewhat longer before her water broke, but once it broke the babies always came pretty quickly.

    What an amazing child!

  5. That_Susan November 29, 2015 at 9:03 am #

    “I’m guessing Caitlin’s day at school seemed a bit anti-climactic to her.”


  6. That_Susan November 29, 2015 at 9:04 am #

    That LOL was at BL.

  7. M. November 29, 2015 at 9:08 am #

    Susan, it doesn’t say the ambulance took 2 hours to arrive, it only said she was in labor for 2 hours before the birth. It says her husband left to take the younger kids to a relative’s, presumably because she was already in labor. 10 minutes later her water broke, at which point the 11 year old called for an ambulance, but the baby arrived before they could get there. Given that she was on the phone with the medical personnel they probably did not call the father back to the house.

    I can say from experience that sometimes babies come very fast once the water breaks. My daughter was perilously close to being born in my living room or in the car on the way to the birth center. She was born 12 minutes after we walked in the doir, about 30 minutes after my water broke, after only 4 hours of labor. Thank god the birth center was so closr

  8. Montreal Dad November 29, 2015 at 9:13 am #


    What a great story.

    Move over, Malala…

  9. Montreal Dad November 29, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    Actually, when you click through, the story is nuts:

    “I couldn’t do what Caitlin has done at my age, let alone at the age of 11… She got the towels, she then helped remove the cord because it was wrapped around the baby. And she helped to rub and stimulate her because she wasn’t crying.”


  10. Wendy W November 29, 2015 at 9:25 am #

    “I couldn’t do what Caitlin has done at my age, let alone at the age of 11…”

    I think most of us are capable of far more than we think, it’s just that we’ve been brainwashed to believe that all these situations are the realm of “experts”, and we freak when the experts are not around to help us. An 11yo has not yet succumbed to that brainwashing. They are still full of the optimism and invincibility of youth, therefore they just jump in and do instead of hand-wringing when situations get interesting

  11. Emily November 29, 2015 at 9:27 am #

    That’s amazing that Caitlin was able to deliver a baby all by herself at only eleven years old. I think she might have a future as a doctor. That said, in Australia, it’s completely normal for kids Caitlin’s age (and sometimes younger) to walk, bike, or take public transit to school, the mall, the library, the beach, the recreation centre, et cetera, without an adult. Door-to-door adult supervision and hovering doesn’t generally happen, except maybe for very young children, or those with special needs.

  12. Michelle November 29, 2015 at 9:55 am #

    As others have said, being in labor 2 hours doesn’t mean it took 2 hours to get to her. I’ve given birth 6 times, and it’s not uncommon to be in labor a good 2 hours before you’re even really sure it’s time.

    And when things start happening quickly, time gets distorted. My one very fast labor was a whole 45 minutes, from waking up when my water broke, to my daughter being delivered by EMS. It felt like we called 911 almost right away, and I know that they arrived in less than 5 minutes and delivered my daughter immediately (otherwise she’d have brain damage because she wasn’t getting any oxygen). I couldn’t tell you what happened to the rest of that time. It just went very fast.

  13. Faith November 29, 2015 at 10:30 am #

    That’s an awesome thing Caitlin did and my next statement is not meant to take away from her. But…I have to question that she “single-handedly” delivered the baby. Have you ever given birth? I’m quite sure the mom was very involved in the delivery, especially a home birth with no drugs, etc.

  14. Dawn November 29, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    She still went to school? If anything deserved a “get out of school free” card, I would think delivering your baby sister would be it!

  15. That_Susan November 29, 2015 at 10:44 am #

    That’s very true, Faith. I think most midwives say they attend or assist with a birth

  16. That_Susan November 29, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    Dawn, I bet she was eager to tell her teacher and classmates about it.

  17. Thomas November 29, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    Actually, if you get talked through it you could land a passenger airplane. Think of that! People seem to think of children as walking and talking porcelaine dolls, but if you let them loose it’s incredible what they can accomplish. I think the number one thing american children lack these days is trust in their abilities.

  18. Thomas November 29, 2015 at 11:00 am #

    @Faith: ever seen a woman in a third world country deliver a child in the field? They bend their knees, press, take out the child (!), bind it to their breast and keep on working. It’s one of the most unreal things to witness, since we westerners make so much out of having a baby that we seem to forget that having babies is something we’ve been doing for tens of thousands of years.

  19. Emily November 29, 2015 at 11:24 am #

    As for the father not immediately answering his cell phone and coming back, I think people jumped to that thought because we now live in a culture of “everyone must be reachable 24/7.” My guess is that he had his phone turned off because he was driving. After all, if he was ten minutes away, and the mother went into labour ten minutes after he left, he still had the return journey. By this time, Caitlin would have been on the phone with the medical personnel, possibly using the family’s only phone line–either their land line, or her mother’s cell phone, because most eleven-year-olds don’t yet have cell phones of their own. So, Caitlin’s father probably wouldn’t have been able to reach her, while she was on the phone with the ambulance dispatcher. After that, I can imagine several possibilities. Maybe Caitlin forgot to call her father, because she was preoccupied doing what the medical personnel told her to do. Maybe she did call her father, but didn’t leave a message, because she was in a hurry to reach someone who could help. Maybe she called and left a message for her father to come home, but by the time he got it and went home, they’d already gone to the hospital. We don’t know how far away the hospital is, or how long it would have taken for the father to get where he needed to go there. My point is, breakdowns in communication can still happen, even in the age of cell phones, because of human error, and sometimes just common sense, like turning off the phone while driving. Also, a lot of women go into labour while their husbands are elsewhere, through no fault of anyone’s, and it doesn’t mean the man is a bad husband or father. When I was born, I was premature, so when my parents woke up that day, they were expecting just a regular Saturday, and so, they carried on with their day’s plans as normal. As it happened, my mom went into labour five weeks early, and my dad had to be paged over the PA system at the golf course. After I was born, he was a good father to me, and later, my brother as well. My point is, it’s not always necessary to blame someone every time a Big Moment in life isn’t perfect.

  20. Emily November 29, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

    P.S., I meant to say, “the family’s only OTHER phone line,” assuming that the adult members of Caitlin’s family would have cell phones, but not the children. Anyway, my original point still stands–sometimes, people can’t be reached, and sometimes, women go into labour when their partners aren’t around, and sometimes, there’s a time-lapse between the water breaking and the partner arriving at the mother’s side, because of miscommunications, phone not turned on, phone malfunction of some sort, traffic, lines, bureaucracy at the hospital, et cetera. I could certainly see a few of these factors piling up, so that it’d be entirely possible for two hours to go by between the mother’s water breaking, and the father arriving. So, even though some people think this story doesn’t make sense, it seems plausible to me.

  21. Jo November 29, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

    I like everything about this…except the part that implies that giving birth is a dangerous medical emergency.

  22. Jessica November 29, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

    I always correct people when they ask if my husband delivered our babies, because I delivered our babies, he just caught them.

  23. Diana November 29, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

    Kids in on farms help with animal deliveries, and, when necessary, human babies. Wasn’t this common not that long ago?
    Have we no sense of history? We have not always been elitists living antiseptic lives in bubbles.
    We have actually devolved from a culture with extremely capable children.

    Most people today seem be training the capability gene right out of their family trees by Molly-coddling their progeny. It’s a dog-gone shame.

    Better their kids than mine.

  24. Molly November 29, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

    I love this! What an awesome kid! Amazing how our brains shift into survival mode in an emergency, even in an 11 year old. What a proud memory she will carry for the rest of her life. She will view herself as competent and capable of taking on anything that comes her way.

  25. Jennifer November 30, 2015 at 12:15 am #

    Uhm yes…the child didn’t deliver anything, she caught (hopefully) the baby. My husband missed the birth of our last child because it went surprisingly quick (and a week early, when I typically go late). Fortunately my oldest daughter (who is an adult) was home at the time to do the catch so I didn’t fall to the younger siblings.

  26. J.T. Wenting November 30, 2015 at 12:19 am #

    “Why would it take the ambulance over 2 hours to arrive?”
    Welcome to the NHS, Britain’s fantastic government run single payer healthcare system.

    Though being Birmingham they probably had to take a very long detour around the no-go zones installed there by the local muslim community. Large sections of the city are off-limits to Christians and anyone else who’s not a follower of muhammed, going into those areas, even as an ambulance, is dangerous, good chance you’ll never get out again (as confirmed to me by friends who live in Birmingham).

  27. sexhysteria November 30, 2015 at 3:22 am #

    She could have taught her classmates (and possibly her teacher) how to deliver a baby.

  28. andy November 30, 2015 at 3:32 am #

    @Thomas The keep on moving immediately after birth was true under Pol Pot, but most of world does not expect women to keep working with placenta still in while bleeding a lot from down there. Moreover, while some women jump on feet right after, other women end up injured down there and it hurts them – and no all injuries are not just because of doctors.

  29. bsolar November 30, 2015 at 6:23 am #

    @Thomas, giving birth is definitely nothing new, but thanks to modern standards we have a *much* lower mortality rate than in antiquity. Even today the maternal mortality rate can be hundred times higher in an underdeveloped country compared to a first world country.

  30. Alastair Jenkins November 30, 2015 at 7:33 am #

    @ J.T. Wenting: As a former resident of both Tamworth and Birmingham, I find the remark “Large sections of the city are off-limits …” to be highly offensive and unlikely to be true in the slightest.

  31. Beth November 30, 2015 at 9:15 am #

    JT Wenting, I think your “friends” are lying to you:


  32. EricS November 30, 2015 at 10:44 am #

    Kapow! Right in all naysayers gonads. lol

  33. pentamom November 30, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

    The reason it took the ambulance two hours to get there, is that it didn’t. Mom was in labor for nearly two hours, THEN her water broke (totally within the range of normal) and then the baby came really fast while the ambulance was on the way.

    I was in labor for about 13 hours with one of my kids and the doc wound up breaking the water to move things along, and then it didn’t take long after that (although had I not already been in the hospital, there would have been time for an ambulance.)

  34. Papilio November 30, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

    “we westerners make so much out of having a baby that we seem to forget that having babies is something we’ve been doing for tens of thousands of years”

    This. And yes, of course having babies used to be a lot more dangerous, but from what I gather, people now seem to think it’s the same as an appendectomy or something…
    But still, well done Caitlin 🙂

    “…then goes to school”

    Hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! 🙂

  35. bsolar November 30, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

    @Papilio: “This. And yes, of course having babies used to be a lot more dangerous, but from what I gather, people now seem to think it’s the same as an appendectomy or something…”

    Well, let’s compare some figures:

    – A modern appendectomy has a mortality rate of about 0.8 every 1,000 operations without perforation and 5 every 1,000 operations with perforation.
    – Current maternal mortality rate in the USA is about 0.2 every 1,000 births.
    – In the 1800 maternal mortality rate in the US was about 8 every 1,000 births.
    – In antiquity maternal mortality rate is estimated to have been about 25 every 1000 births.

    Of course this ignores completely the risks for the subject more likely to actually require assistance during or right after childbirth:

    – Newborn mortality rate is currently about 4 every 1,000 births in the USA.
    – In underdeveloped countries it’s around 40 every 1,000 births.
    – In antiquity it’s estimated to have been around 300 every 1,000 births.

    Basically, let’s not get paranoid about the risks of childbirth, but let’s not get complacent either.

  36. AnnMarie December 1, 2015 at 10:01 am #

    In the 80s, I was babysitting by the time I was 11. I know by the time I was 12 and in 7th grade, I babysat an infant and a toddler. At 11, I think it was the kids next door who were about 4-7, as well as other families we knew, but maybe not babies.

    I would let my 11 year old babysit, but that’s because of HER, not her age. She just not responsible enough for herself, much less a much younger child! LOL

  37. Papilio December 1, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    @BL: Really, did I deserve to get Jamesed over this?

    I meant to compare a perforated appendix to a full-term foetus, thinking of how crazy it would be to undergo surgery at home and how that’s just not the same as giving birth at home, but I edited down my comment and the perforated bit got lost. Sorry about that.

  38. BL December 2, 2015 at 8:45 am #

    “@BL: Really, did I deserve to get Jamesed over this?”

    Confused. What does this refer to?