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Woman delivers baby on steps of Iqaluit boarding home

cbc.ca logo cbc.ca 2019-07-13 CBC/Radio-Canada

a close up of a baby: Baby Bethany Sarpina Barnabas was born at 5 a.m. on the steps of Iqaluit's boarding home. © Submitted by Ragilie Barnabas Baby Bethany Sarpina Barnabas was born at 5 a.m. on the steps of Iqaluit's boarding home. Staff at the Tammaativvik medical boarding home in Iqaluit were caught off guard this week when a woman gave birth standing on the steps.

Ragilie Barnabas, from Hall Beach, was with her son and boyfriend when she felt contractions start Tuesday at 9:30 p.m.

She said she wanted to make sure her son was asleep before heading to Qikiqtani General Hospital, which is across the street from the boarding home.

"When he finally fell asleep around 3 a.m., we were trying to go to the hospital, but she decided to get out earlier than that," said Barnabas of her new baby girl.

She and her boyfriend, Tommy Javagiaq, called a taxi, but her labour happened too fast.

"When I got out from the boarding home, my water broke and less than two minutes [later] her head was out and the taxi driver panicked and called the ambulance instead," she said.

"I didn't even make it to the car or the ambulance."

At 5 a.m. exactly, Bethany Sarpina Barnabas was born on the steps of the boarding home. The 6 pound, 8 ounce baby began crying while Barnabas was still wearing her pyjama pants. 

Barnabas says she had the help of a worker from the boarding home kitchen, who ran for towels to wrap up the baby. 

Moments later, Barnabas walked into the ambulance, as the kitchen worker handed her daughter to a paramedic.

After spending a day at the hospital, Barnabas is back at the boarding home and will fly home to Hall Beach where her two older children will meet their baby sister.

Barnabas says the deliveries of her other children were quick — but not quite as frantic.

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