Life stories... I helped deliver a baby
IT'S not every day that one gets to be part of a miracle, but accounting supervisor Shawna Lee Dozovado was allowed this opportunity when she stopped to help two strangers deliver their baby girl two weeks ago.
It was a regular workday for Dozovado, and everything was going as expected on her journey from Portmore, St Catherine to Kingston. There was the usual rush-hour traffic and her friend Margianna occupied her usual position in the passenger seat.
Neither woman was prepared to see a man shouting for help as they passed the Tinson Pen Aerodrome off Marcus Garvey Drive.
"My friend said to me, 'Shawna, there is a man shouting out something about a baby,' so when I glanced through my rearview mirror I looked and saw him," recounted Dozovado, who usually travels that route to get to work at Appliance Traders Limited in the mornings.
"I had passed him though, and when I reached a little bit down, I stopped like a taxi man in the middle of the road and pushed out my head to reverse, and return there," she said.
The couple had parked at a bus bay and when the women went to find out the cause of the man's distress, they saw a lady who had just delivered a baby in the back seat of the car.
Dozovado wasted no time getting to work.
"The man was so frightened, he didn't know what to do, so I said to him, 'where are the baby's things?' And he said they were in the trunk," she said.
"I didn't even wait for him to pop the trunk. I went and popped the trunk myself and started digging in the baby's bag for stuff like blankets. We wrapped the baby, who was on the floor of the car.
"Everything happened so quickly," Dozovado, a mother of three, said.
This was pretty much the same sentiment echoed by the baby's mother, later identified as 30-year-old Kellyann Dwyer. The mother explained that she and her fiancé were travelling from Portmore when her water broke upon exiting the toll road.
"When I realised that the baby was coming, I told him to pull over and he was saying that I can't have the baby right there," she told All Woman.
"He was so nervous, he couldn't believe when he saw the baby's head coming," she said.
But Dwyer, who was on her fourth child, instructed her fiancé to go and get help, even as she tried her best to deliver her daughter in the cramped space.
"I was screaming in the car and people were just passing and asking him what was happening," she said.
She noted that most persons just instructed the child's father to put on his hazard lights and take her to the hospital when he explained to them that her water just broke.
"He was just there shouting, 'my baby is dying'," explained Dwyer. "I respect him still because other men would have fainted or wouldn't do anything," she said.
Dozovado knew enough from her own experience giving birth that the baby needed to be kept warm. Fortunately, Dwyer was no novice either, and did everything she possibly could to keep her baby breathing.
"She was frustrated. I know that face. It was like she was fighting for her child's life," Dozovado said.
"I didn't cut the umbilical cord or anything, because the lady (Dwyer) kept all of that inside of her, because she knew that if she had pushed out the afterbirth, the child would die. So she kept it inside her," she added.
And Dozovado, who thought her work was finished now that the baby had been safely delivered, was called upon to offer her services even further.
"When I was about to leave, the man said to me, 'we don't know the way to the hospital you know'. So I said 'okay'. I let my friend stay in their car and I jumped in my car and put on the hazard lights," she recalled.
With her horn blaring and one of her bloodied hands waving wildly through her window in an attempt to fan down motorists who refused to give her a bly, she safely piloted the couple to the hospital.
"When I put on my hazard lights, he was right behind me, and I went through all the [depressed areas] that you can go through to reach [Victoria] Jubilee Hospital," she said.
"When I reached the hospital, they were still right on my tail driving. The hospital moved quickly [to help]."
She said even after she parked her car and returned to the couple's car, the father was still in a daze, so much so that he still hadn't retrieved the baby's luggage.
"When I asked him what happened, he said, 'listen, my head gone'. He didn't know the first move to make."
After seeing that both mother and child were in safe hands, Dozovado and Margianna proceeded on their way to work off Half-Way-Tree Road. But with all the excitement of the morning's encounter still swirling in her head, the accounting supervisor was unable to settle into work until she called Dwyer and was assured that her baby was okay.
"I couldn't make it to the hospital so I sent my friend who went and looked for them. I had their number, so I called and checked on them to find out if they were OK," she said.
"I think she is a brave lady, because many people would have panicked and let pressure reach them and maybe they would have passed out in the car," she said of Dwyer.
Dwyer said she is extremely grateful to Dozovado and her friend Margianna who prayed with her throughout the journey to the hospital. Margianna has since been appointed her baby's godmother and she intends to honour Dozovado's wish to serve in this capacity in her daughter's life as well.
Thanks to the valiant efforts of all four individuals, baby Garvarya was given a clean bill of health and was released from hospital 24 hours after her delivery.