You know those urban legends about ladies who deliver babies in the back of cabs? We found one. Meet Janna Hawkins, who was headed in an Uber from her home in Brooklyn to the hospital when her son, Sheldon, decided to enter the world a hair prematurely. (They were in gridlock traffic between two double-decker tour busses, in case you need a true visual.) We sat down with her and asked our most pressing questions.
So clearly you didn't intend to deliver a baby in an Uber. What was the birth plan?
“The birth plan was to deliver at Mt. Sinai. We were en route, via the West Side Highway, when the baby was born.”
And when did you realize that plan was going out the window?
“When my husband told the driver, ‘Don't worry. We're not in a hurry.’ Before that I had been in a bit of a trance because of the pain, and I had my eyes closed for block after block after block. When my husband said what was so clearly not true, my eyes popped open, and I learned that we were in bumper-to-bumper traffic, at a dead stop, on the Brooklyn Bridge. I realized my husband was trying to calm the driver. That was when I knew we had a problem with our plan.”
So no epidural. You're fierce! What was going through your head as you were pushing?
“No pain. Only pushing. Seriously. I just repeated that to myself over and over and over, while I tried to ignore the red double-decker bus of tourists next to me.”
Did your husband deliver the baby?
“I couldn't reach the baby sitting in the car like that, so I needed my husband to catch him. Luckily, my husband is a doctor, so he was able to help the baby out in a pretty smooth way. He was also texting with my doula, so able to quote her directly.”
What was the Uber driver doing during all of this?
“He was super relaxed and just kept making sure the AC was blasting!”
And once your son was born, were you still stuck in traffic?
“Yup. At that point, I put my seatbelt on and the driver handed us a roll of paper towels to wrap the baby up in so I could cover him. I delivered the placenta as we passed the Intrepid at 46th Street. Then we finally got to the hospital.”
Dare we ask: Did you foot the cleaning bill?
“I told my husband to give the driver all the cash we had with us. When we got to the hospital, they put me in a wheelchair and I saw the mess for the first time. I hope we gave him enough to clean it up because it was super gross.”
And what has subsequently happened to your Uber rating?
“My husband actually requested the Uber that day, and he still has a very high rating—4.8 stars!”