Mum delivers own baby – alone, far from home, with help from YouTube videos

Posted in Birth.

Most of us have turned to YouTube seeking a little video instruction on how to DIY various things, but “how to deliver own baby” is probably not something we’ve ever found ourselves tapping into the search box. Not unless our name is Tia Freeman, that is.

Something fishy

Tia Freeman was on her way to Germany, when she started feeling crampy. She’d eaten the only available inflight meal, which was salmon, and because she’s a vegetarian she self-diagnosed food poisoning. A scheduled stop-over in Turkey seemed to provide the perfect opportunity to rest up and recover.

It’s fair to say that despite being told she was expecting a baby a month earlier, she had not come to terms with the news AT ALL.

“I didn’t know I was pregnant for a while (already in my 3rd trimester),” Tia explained on Twitter, “and before you ask the birth control I was on made it so I didn’t have a cycle every month. So not having a period wasn’t an indicator for me. On top of that I didn’t really gain any weight. So then I’m in denial for another month after that like there’s no way a bitch is preggo.”

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Just do it

Tia had made plans to fly to Germany to visit a friend and she convinced herself that she still had time to take her trip. So trip she did. Alas, cramps and discomfort followed and Tia couldn’t get off that flight fast enough, managing to doze off for a while when the pain wasn’t overwhelming her.

“I make it until we land but when I wake up the cramps have gotten worse and I’m like okay I just want to make it to my hotel. Its my layover and I’m only here for 17 hours.”

The longest wait

Tia hadn’t factored in the very long, very slow line at Customs. It took forever to get through the airport.

“I’m literally gripping the railing trying to make it through the lines,” Tia remembers. “At this point I feel like I’m about to pass out. I’m sweating. I feel like I have to vomit. I’m going through it. Then I’m like wait a minute bitch are you in labor?!!!”

Um. Yes, Tia. Yes you are. In an instant, Tia adapts to her reality and swings into action.

“I make it to my hotel and now I’m sure I’m in labor. There is no way in the world I’m not in labor because I can barely standup at this point. So I’m in a foreign country, where no one speaks english, I don’t know this country’s emergency number and I have no clue what to do.”

Just YouTube it?

Does Tia ring down to reception to explain her plight? No. No she doesn’t. Instead … “In true millennial form I decided to YouTube it. If no one else had my back the internet would! So here my ass is in my hotel room all by my lonesome learning how to deliver my own baby.”

“I don’t have time to be nervous,” Tia explains. “It’s time to get shit done. I spring into action. Filling up the tub with warm water, grabbing a towel to bite down on, grabbing another towel to wrap him/her up with whenever it pops out.”

“I strip down and climb in the tub. The internet said there were a couple positions that people find the most comfortable. I picked the one that worked for me and I was like okay BOOM let’s birth this baby.”

“A baby popped out”

Who knew that Google and YouTube would prove to be the perfect midwives in this situation? Boom.

“The internet said I shouldn’t start pushing until my contractions were two minutes apart … you don’t want to exhaust yourself too early and then not have any energy when the kids ready to come, you know? And I’m like okay bitch, you’ve got a timer on your phone. You can do this!”

“My contractions were already at a minute apart. I was late as hell. I BARELY made it to my room. So I throw the towel in my mouth and start pushing. And I have NEVVVVEEERRRR felt any pain like this in my life. I felt like I was being split open. WHERE WAS MY EPIDURAL?!” Tia wrote.

“Luckily it happened pretty quickly. I only had to push about 5-6x before a baby popped out. Now let me tell you babies are buoyant. That little joker said bloop and floated right on up to the top of the water.”

Placenta please

The internet tells Tia that she needs to birth the placenta next, to avoid complications. So that’s exactly what she does.

“I’m sitting with Young Xay laying on my chest waiting for the placenta to pass. The internet told me to rub my lower abdomen to persuade my placenta to come on out. So her I am baby in one arm rubbing my pelvis with the other hand.”

“Can I just say that walking around with the umbilical cord hanging out of me totally gave me the impression of what it would be like to have a penis,” Tia jokes.

“So finally it feels like I’m having another contraction and I assume this is the placenta ready to drop it like it’s hot. So I shuffle to the bathroom and sit down on the toilet because IDK where else to go. Almost immediately as I sit down it plops out. The hotel had these sanitation baggies in the bathroom so I just picked it up by the cord and dropped it in the bag. Now it’s still attached to him so now I’ve got to Google how to cut an umbilical cord.”

Put the kettle on?

This self-birth thing is a non-stop challenge, right?! It also provides another reason to be suspicious of your hotel room kettle. Tia used hers to sterilise some shoelaces to tie off the umbilical cord. She says she always travels with a knife (!) so she was semi-prepared for what came next. Okay she wasn’t, but she did it anyway.

“I haven’t been nervous this whole time but cutting this cord is freaking me out. Like what if I hurt this man?! So I’m poking the cord with the knife to see if it affects him. Fortunately it doesn’t (which the internet said it wouldn’t) so I cut right into that thang! And it’s tougher than it looks,” Tia explains. Shudder.

“Umbilical cord cut. And I did a mighty fine job if I do say so myself! At this point exhaustion is beginning to set in. But I need to clean up the bathroom because it looked like the set of a horror movie. So I clean up the bathroom, breastfeed my baby, and go to sleep.” Simple, no?!

Plot twist!

The next day, Tia heads back to the airport with her baby snuggled up in an old shirt, hoping to get some advice on what she needs to do to get this unexplained little person out of the country legally. But at the airport, there’s a huge plot twist, as staff suspect Tia is … a human trafficker. Nooooooo!

“They called in customs, the police, a doctor and a nurse (to check the baby and me to see if I actually gave birth), and the airline higher ups. I was bombarded with questions (naturally) but finally I proved that I wasn’t a trafficker.” #PraiseBe

“A random elderly woman grabbed my boob”

Next minute, the airport is flooded with media keen to capture Tia and her newborn for their front pages. Will the drama ever end?! Thankfully, Turkish Airlines spring into action, protecting the pair from prying eyes, providing baby clothes for the newborn and delivering mum and bub to the US Consulate.

The Consulate take Tia and baby to the hospital, where staff confirmed that both were in the peak of health and everything is going to be okay. Later, Tia got some bonus hands on breastfeeding instruction:

“A random elderly woman grabbed my boob as I was breastfeeding. Because she was showing me the correct way to do it.” #ThanksOldLadyHands

“No one knew”

As you recover from these twists and turns, you might be wondering what Tia’s family and friends made of her jaw-dropping experience.

“No one knew I had a baby until days after I gave birth to him (not even my mom) so I sprang this story on everyone,” this low-key mum reveals.

“Here he is Xavier Ata Freeman born March 7, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey!” Tia finally posted on Twitter alongside a photo of her little man. “My little surprise bundle of international joy!”

Huge congratulations to Tia on her brilliant birth skills – and on new baby Xavier. So glad she shared her story. 


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