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Thursday 20 September 2018
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‘It’s a miracle!’

Paramedics coach teen to deliver aunt’s baby

Comelia Joseph visits her aunt Summer Norman and her baby girl at San Fernando General Hospital yesterday. Joseph delivered the baby while paramedics told her what to do over the phone when Norman went into labour at her home in Tabaquite last Friday. PHOTO BY VASHTI SINGH

AN 18-year-old woman delivered her aunt’s baby after she went into labour in the living room of her home at Devenish Hill, Tabaquite on Friday.

Summer Norman, 22, started having contractions at 12.30 pm. She cried out for help. At the time, the only one who heard her cries was Comelia Joseph, her niece who lives next door.

When she heard the screams, Joseph rushed to the house and saw her aunt going into labour although the baby was due at the end of the month.

“I saw Summer on the ground screaming and crying out in pain. I knew something was wrong. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh no! Is she going to have this baby here, now?’ I was like, ‘oh God no.’”

Joseph dialled an ambulance services number and paramedics answered. They had to coach her to deliver the baby as they realised she would be born before they arrived.

“They told me I had to deliver the baby. I was speechless. I think I was in a state of shock about what they were telling me to do,” Joseph said in an interview at San Fernando General Hospital yesterday.

Joseph said she took a deep breath and listened to the paramedics on the loud speaker of her cell phone. “They told me to be calm and they would guide me with every step. I am not going to lie, I was scared. My hands were shaking, my teeth were chattering, but I knew at that time if I didn’t get my self together, Summer and her baby could die.” She said she also called out to God to be her guide.

Her first instruction from the paramedics was to place her aunt on a flat surface. “She was sitting on the ground, so I lifted her off the floor and placed her flat in the middle of the ground where their was space.”

She said Norman’s screams intensified. “No one could have heard her because at that time most people in the village were at work and children are in school. So there was no one to come over to even help me. It was just me, a woman in labour and this baby trying to get out.”

“Every instruction I got, I followed. I told her to push after every contraction and she was bawling and I kept trying to keep her calm and tell her everything is going to be okay. The paramedics told me to place my hands over her vagina. There was blood all over, a lot of blood. They told me keep looking until I saw the baby head.”

After a third push, Norman gave birth to a baby girl. “The baby popped out right into my hands. My heart was beating so fast. I think I even cried. Summer was calm now, she was not crying. I rushed for a towel and wiped the baby’s body covered in blood. Then I took another clean towel and wrapped her in it.”

Next, she said, the paramedics told her to tie the baby’s umbilical cord. “They told me to use a string. I could not put my hands on any strings, so I used a clean shoelace to tie the cord exactly how they said.”

The teenager said she cradled the new born in her arms. “The baby was in my hands crying. I was crying too but I was happy. I wrapped her in the blanket and then gently placed her on her mother. I just felt so happy.”

Soon after the paramedics arrived and transported the mother and baby to San Fernando General Hospital. Joseph also accompanied them. Norman’s husband was later contacted. “I think this was a miracle. That baby is so special and I am happy God choose me to bring her into this world.”

Villagers have described the teenager as courageous and kind-hearted. “She has so many blessings coming her way. When I heard the story about what she did and being only 18. That is amazing,” a villager told Sunday Newsday.

Another said Joseph has always demonstrated acts of kindness. “She is one brave girl and I commend her for what she did.”

Medical sources told Sunday Newsday the baby and mother are in good health. Norman said she was extremely grateful to Joseph.

She told Sunday Newsday she was still exhausted after the ordeal. The family is still to decide on a name for the baby.

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