'On autopilot': Woman delivered own baby with help from YouTube
Published Thursday, May 3, 2018 11:59AM EDT
You can learn just about anything from the internet, including, it seems, how to bring a new life into the world.
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U.S. Air Force employee Tia Freeman says she delivered her own child in a hotel bathroom in Turkey using nothing but a bathtub, a pen knife, some shoelaces and a smartphone with internet access.
The 22-year-old computer specialist admits it wasn’t an ideal setting to bring her son, Xavier, into the world, but she felt like she didn’t have much choice in the matter. She says she didn’t know whether her insurance would cover a hospital visit, and she also wasn’t sure if she’d get a doctor who spoke English.
Freeman says she ultimately decided to go to her hotel room and wait to see if she was actually in labour or not.
“He was just coming so quickly, I didn’t even think I would make it to a hospital even if I called,” Freeman told CTV’s Your Morning on Thursday, in a Skype interview from Nashville. She added that she didn’t even realize she was pregnant until she was into her third trimester.
Freeman described her do-it-yourself birth in a Twitter thread that went viral last month. “I did a mighty fine job if I say so myself,” she wrote in one tweet.
The whole ordeal started on March 7 during a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, where Freeman was scheduled for a layover before taking another flight to Germany. She says she started feeling pain during the flight, but initially chalked it up to food poisoning from the airline food. It wasn’t until she made it to Istanbul that she realized she might going into labour. Freeman says she was determined not to give birth in the airport, so she called a taxi and went to her hotel to wait it out and see if it truly was labour.
“When I got to my hotel room I realized just how quickly he was coming,” she said. “I figured I just have to do this.”
Freeman turned to Google for advice on how to deliver a child and found plenty of resources to get her through the challenge. She says she opted for a water delivery in the hotel bathroom, because she figured it would “help with containing the mess a bit.”
Freeman says the contractions were “very painful” but she focused on her breathing and watched a few YouTube videos so she’d know what to do when the baby arrived.
“It wasn’t that stressful in the moment because I was so focused,” she said. “My body was on autopilot.”
Freeman says the baby came out fairly quickly and “floated right up to the top of the water.”
Luckily it happened pretty quickly. I only had to push about 5-6x before a baby popped out. Lol now let me tell you babies are buoyant. That little joker said bloop and floated right on up to the top of the water pic.twitter.com/IuqwKXFb2L— Tia Freeman (@TheWittleDemon) April 24, 2018
But the ordeal wasn’t over, as she still had to pass the placenta and cut the umbilical cord.
“I looked at a WikiHow article and it explained to me, hey, don’t pull out the placenta, that’s something your body has to do,” Freeman told Your Morning. She says she massaged her lower pelvis until the placenta came out, then turned her attention to the umbilical cord.
“It suggested a pair of clamps and some scissors, which I didn’t have, so I ended up using shoelaces and a pocket knife, and then I just followed the directions,” she said.
Freeman says she was acting on adrenaline throughout the delivery, and only became nervous when it came to cutting the umbilical cord. “I poked the umbilical cord just to make sure it wasn’t bothering him, and once I figured that out I just cut it off,” she said.
The new mom says she went to bed after the ordeal and headed back to the airport the next day, where staff helped her get in touch with the U.S. embassy. She says they had her checked out by a doctor, who ruled that both mother and baby were fine.
Freeman acknowledges that her story seems incredible, but she insists it’s true. She cites several news reports from Turkey as evidence, and has also shared several photos from after the event, including the child’s birth certificate.
To wrap up I go to the hospital get checked out everything is fine. He’s perfectly healthy! Lol the doctors were shocked to hear my story. I made national news & people would stop us to take pictures all the time & a random elderly woman grabbed my boob as I was breastfeeding pic.twitter.com/gGp4lJvEvl— Tia Freeman (@TheWittleDemon) April 25, 2018
Oh yeah and the press were there when we flew back to the states too I think I covered everything pic.twitter.com/SJeRa9dsID— Tia Freeman (@TheWittleDemon) April 25, 2018
Here he is Xavier Ata Freeman born March 7, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey! My little surprise bundle of international joy!— Tia Freeman (@TheWittleDemon) April 25, 2018
(His middle name is Turkish) pic.twitter.com/HVlnvqEClQ
Freeman says the baby’s arrival was a major surprise for her family, who didn’t even know that she was pregnant.
“They lost it,” she wrote on Twitter. “My mom told every single person she came into contact with.
“Now they spoil him endlessly.”