Friday 20 September 2019

Quick-thinking cabbie makes special delivery - a beautiful baby girl

A friend in need: Taxi driver Keith Mooney with Sonia Akhigbe and her baby daughter Dawn. Photo: Arthur Carron
A friend in need: Taxi driver Keith Mooney with Sonia Akhigbe and her baby daughter Dawn. Photo: Arthur Carron
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

A taxi driver had precious cargo on board after he helped his passenger give birth in the back of his cab.

Keith Mooney improvised to help baby Dawn into the world, including using his phone charger to tie the umbilical cord.

He had been set for another regular day of driving round Dublin capital until he agreed to a fare just a few doors down from his house in Adamstown.

The heavily pregnant passenger, Sonia Akhigbe, needed to get to Coombe Hospital right away. But little did she know that her baby had no intention of waiting around.

Within minutes of getting onto the N4, Keith got the shock of his life when his passenger screamed: "Oh my God, my water just broke".

The quick-thinking taxi man decided to take matters into his own hands. "I couldn't believe what was happening, but I knew I had to remain calm to keep this lady's stress levels to a minimum," he said.

"I assured her that everything will be all right and that an ambulance was on the way. My wife had a baby of her own just eight weeks ago so thankfully I knew what to expect. I pulled in by the bus stop near Liffey Valley and asked her permission before looking to see if I could spot the head coming out.

"After a few moments, she started shouting, 'It's coming, it's coming'.

"I was the only person around and was so caught up in the moment that I hadn't much time to process the gravity of the situation.

"I held the baby in my arms and made sure that the umbilical cord wasn't wrapped around her neck and took off my T-shirt to clean the baby's mouth and nose.

"I asked if the mother could remove her top so the baby could have skin-to-skin contact and I put my jacket and shirt around them for warmth.

"It must have all happened within 15 minutes."

The 35-year-old, who only started driving a taxi six weeks ago, was then advised by the 999 operator to put on the car's heating and prepare for the afterbirth.

"He asked me to tie a shoelace around the baby's cord, but the only problem was that I was wearing slip-on shoes and Sonia was wearing flip-flops," he said.

"However, I had a phone charger which was apparently perfect for the job. Several minutes later the afterbirth came along, which was followed by the ambulance and fire service, who then took over."

As she was being taken away in the ambulance, Keith assured Ms Akhigbe that he wouldn't dream of charging her for the short trip.

Ms Akhigbe, who is now a mother of five, said she can't thank Keith enough for his help.

"I'm just so happy because he remained so calm during my delivery and made sure I was as comfortable as possible," she said.

"You don't find people like him every day and I'm just so happy that I can now call him a very good friend.

"Our daughter's name is Dawn and I'm sure we'll be telling her this story hundreds of times down through the years."

Dublin Fire Brigade later wished Sonia and her new baby all the best via Twitter. "Congrats to Mum and her new baby daughter after a speedy arrival in a taxi on the N4 at Liffey Valley."

Irish Independent

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