THE family of an Oxfordshire woman, who gave birth on a busy New York street, have described their surprise when the news made international headlines.

Polly McCourt, 39, lives in New York, but grew up in Black Bourton, near Carterton.

She went into labour on Monday and, not having time to reach a hospital, gave birth to baby daughter Ila at the junction of East 68th Street and 3rd Avenue.

Mrs McCourt’s uncle Brian Wallis, 63, and aunt Vivian, 61, of Black Bourton, said they found out about the birth on Wednesday.

Mr Wallis, who is the brother of Mrs McCourt’s late mother, said: “The first we heard about it was on the news.

“We were quite shocked because we knew she was due to have another baby, but we never thought it would go worldwide like it has. We are absolutely delighted for Polly.

“Neither of us have spoken to her yet but we have emailed her.”

The story has now been dubbed “the miracle on 3rd Avenue” in America.

But going into labour on the busy streets of New York started out as anything but a fairy tale for Mrs McCourt.

After realising she was going into labour, she tried to flag down a cab to travel to hospital with the help of her doorman Anton Rudovic, but it was swiped by another woman.

Mrs McCourt was then forced to give birth on the street with the help of Mr Rudovic.

Little Ila was born five minutes later. Speaking from her bed in Lennox Hill Hospital, Mrs McCourt said: “A lady walked out five metres in front and hailed a cab and got into it.

“And I went ‘No, that’s my cab, I want that cab’.”

Her daughter weighed 7lb 6oz and the couple gave her the middle name Isabelle, after a caring passer-by who helped keep Mrs McCourt and her newborn warm, until an ambulance arrived.

Mrs McCourt is keen to track down the woman after losing her phone number.

She added: “Ila’s name was meant to be Ila Polly, but now she is Ila Isabelle.”

Husband Cian McCourt, 40, who works for New York law firm A&L Goodbody, was stuck in traffic when he was told the news but was able to arrive in time to find his wife and newborn daughter on the street, shortly after the birth.

Mr McCourt said: “I was running up 3rd Avenue and saw the crowd on the corner. I knew instantly that it was Polly.”

The couple have two other children, Conor, six, and Adele, four.

They reportedly moved to New York four years ago from Dublin.