NEW YORK - A New Jersey woman got the morning commute of her life when she gave birth to her first child on a PATH commuter train to New York.
The 31-year-old woman, Rabita Sarkar, of Harrison, N.J., said she had started feeling contraction-like pains but didn't think they were real because her baby wasn't due yet. She and her 30-year-old husband decided to travel into the city to have her checked out Monday.
They didn't want to drive and decided to take the train from Harrison into the city instead, thinking they could then take a taxi to Manhattan's Roosevelt Hospital, where her doctors are.
"It's just that this guy had other plans, and he came out earlier," Sarkar said as she held her infant son in her arms in the hospital. The couple declined to reveal the boy's name or due date.
It was on the train ride that Sarkar started feeling her pains come more quickly, and she told her husband to check what was happening to her. He looked and saw that his son's head had already started to come out.
With guidance from another woman on the train, her husband, identified in published reports as Aditya Saurabh, was able to deliver the baby around 10 a.m. Fellow riders offered encouragement, and the couple said one little girl offered her jacket to keep the baby warm.Sarkar jokingly called her husband her "midwife" to CBS station WCBS in New York.
PATH officials turned the train into an express, bypassing most stops so that it would get to its final stop, 33rd Street in midtown Manhattan, as soon as possible. Emergency services personnel met the train and took the family to the hospital.
The responding police officers said it wasn't unusual for women to give birth in facilities run by the Port Authority.
The biggest issue was the winter temperature, around 30 degrees outside, and making sure the baby was warm, Sgt. Mike Barry said.
"That's our biggest concern," he said. "We know that baby's body temperature is going to drop like a rock."
For one of the responding officers, delivering a baby in these circumstances was something familiar, because it happened to him. Officer Atiba Joseph-Cumberbatch said his son didn't want to wait, either, and came out early, so Dad had to deliver him.
"He has a personality of his own," Sarkar said. "He decided he wanted to come out and that was it. Nothing could stop him."
They nicknamed the child Jhatpat, the Hindi word for fast.