The police officers who helped deliver a Christmas baby on a subway train reunited with the newborn boy and his parents Friday morning, trading the chaos of the dingy rail car where they first met for the comfort of a Philadelphia hospital room.
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Police Sgt. Daniel Caban and Officer Darrell James — who joined the delivery-in-progress shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday — sat bedside with the baby and his mother, Yanjin Li, at Hahnemann University Hospital, chatting and posing for pictures.
Passengers on the eastbound Market-Frankford train said the officers helped coach Li through the delivery, removed the umbilical cord from the boy's neck and placed him in her arms. The baby's father removed the shirt off his back to keep his son warm.
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"It was breathtaking," said passenger Ashley Dorsey, who aided in the birth.
Dorsey said the woman's water broke as the train headed for the 15th and Market streets station.
"When she was on the train I guess the baby said, 'I'm ready to come out now,'" said witness Toney Harris-Saunders, who was on his way to see family for Christmas.
Harris-Saunders, a 26-year-old Philadelphia resident, said he called 911.
Passengers rushed in to help, turning the woman to her side and laying her flat across a row of seats, Dorsey said. The woman's husband appeared frantic, she said, so passengers kept congratulating him to calm him down.
Once at the station, passengers stood in the doorway to prevent the doors from closing and to get the attention of the train engineer. Word of the impending birth spread to Caban on the sidewalk above. James, across the station on the westbound platform, heard Caban's radio call and ran over.
The mother and newborn were reported in good condition at Hahnemann Hospital. During the officer's visit Friday morning, Li told the officers she planned to name the boy Chris since he was born on Christmas.
James, a father himself, called the birth a blessing. Caban said helping bring a new life into the world was a gift all its own.