ST. PAUL-A baby boarded a public bus in St. Paul in an unexpected way Tuesday, Aug. 14. Passengers rallied around a woman who unexpectedly - and quickly - gave birth mid-route.
"I didn't want anybody to know what I was going through. I was so scared," said Michelle Agyei, 29, of Roseville.
She had felt a little pain at the Rosedale Center Mall, where she stopped to get food on her way home from work in St. Paul. She felt so much pain while boarding the Route 87 bus that she didn't notice it wasn't her route. She had meant to take the 82.
But she decided to tough out the ride in silence. Her cellphone had died, and she would just find the right route when the bus returned to the mall, she told herself.
The man sitting across from her wasn't having it. "Are you OK?" he asked, again and again, as her face scrunched in pain. She began crying, shaking her head.
"I didn't want him to talk to me. I was just scared," she said, but finally the pain became piercing. She yelled out, "No! I'm not OK!"
The man crossed the space between them and held her hand, as her water broke. The half-dozen other people on the bus got up and huddled around her. Impossible - she wasn't due until Sept. 8.
But when she took off her pants, she saw the top of the baby's head.
"Immediately the water broke, and the baby came after the water," Agyei said, laughing.
She hadn't laughed then. "My baby's coming out! My baby's coming out!" she screamed as the driver pulled over and called 911.
In eight minutes, it was over. The man who first came to her aid was holding her newborn - she was too scared to, at first. Another woman tied the umbilical cord with a hair cord. When the baby stopped crying, the same woman took off her coat to wrap the infant to ward off the chill of the air-conditioned bus.
Finally, Agyei glanced outside to see that a crowd had surrounded the bus. Paramedics arrived, and in a blur she was at the hospital, where she named the boy Andrew.
"It was a healthy delivery, and they were taken to a local hospital without incident," said Matt Simpson, the St. Paul assistant fire chief in charge of emergency medical operations.
"I really want to thank everybody - especially that man. I don't know his name," said Agyei, who also has a 3-year-old son.
Metropolitan Council officials said the birth occurred sometime between 4:19 and 4:41 p.m. on the Route 87 bus near the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus.
"We did speak with the driver. She wanted to thank the passengers and first responders for their actions. It was pretty miraculous that (the baby) came so quickly," said Kathryn Forbord, director of business operations for the Met Council-contracted bus company, Schmitty & Sons.