Baby born on train: Those contractions were the real thing
Express service took on a whole new meaning for passengers riding a New Jersey-to-Manhattan train Monday morning. A woman on the train had gone into labor, and the conductor began bypassing scheduled stops, racing to reach New York before the baby arrived.
By the time the woman and her husband arrived at the 33rd Street platform in midtown Manhattan, however, they were the parents of a newborn boy.
Stunned police officers met the couple on the 33rd Street platform, wrapped the baby in a blanket and took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced healthy.
"We just kept the baby warm. Our biggest concern was the temperature today," Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police Sgt. Mike Barry told reporters. Temperatures were well below freezing when the baby was born between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.
The mother, 31-year-old New Jersey resident Rabita Sarkar, told local media that she had been having contraction-like pains but thought they might be false contractions because the baby was not due -- and because she believed the pain would be far worse if the contractions were the real thing.
"I was told you cannot walk and you cannot talk" because of the pain, she said from her hospital bed. "It was not that bad."
As Sarkar and her husband rode the train into Manhattan, where their doctor is located, it became clear the contractions were the real thing. The conductor was alerted and decided to skip all regular stops until the train's ultimate destination at 33rd Street.
Even as the contractions went on, Sarkar was in a state of disbelief, and when she felt the baby arriving, she asked other passengers to confirm it. "I asked them to check, and it was the baby," she said.
It is the couple's first child and, although they haven't chosen a name yet, it may be one that reflects his attitude.
"He has a personality of his own," his mother said. "He decided to come on and that was it. Nothing could stop him."
-- Tina Susman in New York