Not many people can actually claim to have been born on the streets of London but tiny Eva Alexis Carvajal Keogh is one of them.
Only a few days old and she has already made headlines after she was born three weeks early on an Isle of Dogs pavement with help from her dad Fredy Carvajal and two passing policeman.
Mum Olivia Keogh woke up at 3am on Friday, April 15, at her Stratford home to discover her contractions were just three minutes apart.
She said: “I knew I had to leave straight away. In the car I just hoped I would get there as my boss had been joking about me not getting to the hospital in time and having to name my baby after the taxi driver and I really didn’t want that.”
The 32-year-old was only 37 weeks into her pregnancy.
She had attended the Barkantine Birth Centre in Westferry Road the previous evening and where medical staff confirmed her waters had broken but she had been sent home.
When she awoke they realised their daughter was definitely on the way and booked an Uber taxi to take them back to the centre to have a water birth.
Olivia, a business analyst, said: “I think my contractions upset the driver as when we got to the centre he just drove off. I got three steps from the taxi and the baby started coming and survival instinct just kicked in.”
They had alerted the third-floor centre they were on their way but no-one was there to meet them and the building was locked so Fredy began banging on the door.
Olivia, who was hanging onto a bollard, yelling in pain, said: “I started to feel the baby coming out so I screamed for him to come back and catch the baby and he did just before she touched the concrete.
“I was just stood there in my dress. It was very ladylike.”
Tower Hamlets PCs Steve Parmenter and Rob Ruston were on a routine patrol in their car when they saw the couple and sprung into action.
Olivia, who was raised in Australia and met chef Fredy, 35, on a holiday in Colombia, said: “They had seen my husband banging on the door, I think they thought he was robbing it.
“When I screamed the baby was coming they parked nearby but by the time they got there she was out. So one of them whipped off his jacket and wrapped her in it. It was crazy.”
She added: “I was glad they were there. One of them held the baby while my husband went back and banged on the door again. If they hadn’t been there I don’t know what we would have done.”
Met officer PC Parmenter said he felt “overwhelmed and extremely proud” to have helped while a happy PC Ruston said: “I was just doing my job.”
Staff from the centre finally came out with a wheelchair and whisked mother and daughter inside to be cleaned up.
Eva, who was born at 4.05am weighing 3090g (6lb 8oz), had a touch of jaundice but is now back home with her family in Faringford Road, Stratford.
Her speedy entrance rivals the record of her two-year-old big sister Cataleya who took three hours to be born but Olivia said they will not be trying to better that.
“We’re not planning to have any more. No way. If I did I’d have to camp outside the hospital.”
She added: “It’s been quite an adventure and a good story but I’m just glad she is healthy.
"I’m going to be putting in a compliant about the night porter though and retracting my five-star rating for the Uber driver.”
What the Barkantine Centre said
A spokesperson for the Barts Health Trust which manages the Barkantine Birth Centre said: "We are very sorry that Olivia’s experience was not up to the high standard that we aspire to.
"Our midwives followed processes correctly and we are pleased that Olivia feels that she was provided with high quality care.
"However, along with the Barkantine Practice we will thoroughly look into what happened to fully understand her concerns and to put in place measures to prevent it from happening again."
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