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Carpenter Helps With Birth Outside Hospital on Christmas Eve

By Anthonia Akitunde in News on Dec 26, 2009 6:45PM

Photo by bheuer
A young Bronzeville couple says they are indebted to a carpenter who helped them as the mother gave birth outside of Lincoln Park's St. Joseph Hospital on Thursday, the Sun-Times reports.

Jessica Garcia, 25, and her husband Jaime, 28, were expecting their second child on Christmas Day. But when Garcia went into labor early Christmas eve, the couple rushed to the hospital only to be sent back home because "she wasn't far enough along," the report said.

Around 11:30 a.m. the Garcias returned to the hospital, but the baby was already on the way. Garcia's contractions grew stronger in the hospital parking garage. Her husband tried to carry her into the hospital; ten feet away from the emergency entrance, the baby's head was already crowning, the report said.

Jaime screamed for help and soon saw a man dressed in carpenter's clothing with a toolbox rushing to help. Ilie Elijah Popa, the hospital's carpenter who coincidentally enough had just helped set up the hospital's nativity scene, heard the young couple's screams as he was clearing away ice from the building's entrance. According to Jaime, Popa was the only one to stop and help.

At this point the baby was "born in his mother's pant leg," the report said. Both men carried Garcia into the hospital -- making sure to keep the baby secured in her pants -- where she and the newborn were immediately taken care of.

However in the rush of delivery, the couple didn't catch the name of the man who helped in the delivery of baby Ignacio. Popa had returned to his duties but later visited the Garcias in their hospital room that evening. The couple says they are considering having Popa be the godfather of their son.