We’ll just say it: This woman MacGyvered her baby’s birth.
Tia Freeman, a member of the U.S. Air Force who lives in Nashville, Tennessee, had Twitter users on the edge of their seats Tuesday when she decided to share her incredible delivery story.
In early March, the pregnant 22-year-old chose to take a trip to Germany despite being close to the end of her term. Freeman only learned that she was pregnant in January, per BuzzFeed, when she was already in her third trimester, and she had booked her vacation flight before finding out.
“I was in shock,” Freeman told HuffPost. “I never saw myself as a mom before. I was more career-oriented. That’s probably why I was in denial after finding out.”
On March 7, she took a 14-hour flight to Istanbul, Turkey, where she had an overnight layover en route to Germany.
Freeman explained on Twitter that after eating an in-flight meal, she began to feel sick but chalked it up to food poisoning at first. At the airport in Istanbul, it dawned on her that maybe there was another explanation.
When she finally made it to her hotel room, she began searching on YouTube for videos on how to deliver your own baby.
Freeman told the Independent that she nixed the idea of going to the hospital for several reasons.
“Not many people spoke English that I encountered at first,” she told the news outlet. “And I didn’t know what the country’s emergency number was and I didn’t know how my insurance would work overseas so I just decided to DIY it.”
Freeman then grabbed two towels — one to wrap her baby in and the other to bite onto while she gave birth — and filled the bathtub with warm water. Thanks to research on the internet, she began to push once her contractions were a minute apart.
After just a few pushes, the baby “popped out” and “floated right on up to the top of the water,” she wrote on Twitter. It was a boy!
Freeman then had to figure out a procedure for removing an umbilical cord without the proper tools. After checking online, she sterilized her shoelaces by boiling them in water and used them as clamps as she cut the cord.
After all this, the new mother still didn’t go to the hospital. Instead, she cleaned the bathroom because “it looked like the set of a horror movie” and went to bed with her newborn son.
Naturally, when she got to the airport the next day, there was a lot of confusion.
“They thought I was a human trafficker trying to smuggle out a baby,” she wrote online.
But once Freeman and her son were examined and her story checked out, airport staff apparently were very nice.
According to BuzzFeed, they even helped name her son, Xavier Ata.
“The ladies at the airport who helped me said that he should have a Turkish name,” Freeman told the site. “So I asked them for a cute boy name and they suggested Ata.”
Freeman was taken to the U.S. Embassy in Turkey where her son was issued a birth certificate and a passport.
She was then transported to the hospital where she and Xavier received a clean bill of health. She remained in Istanbul for two more weeks, a stay that Turkish Airlines paid for in full.
During her time in the city, Freeman’s incredible story made headlines at several local news outlets.
Freeman told BuzzFeed that no one in her family had known she was pregnant.
“They all found out a couple days after he was born.”
She said that she told her grandma, who told her mom, “and then my mom went crazy telling the rest of our family and every other person she came in contact with.”
“When I got back even our lawn care guys knew!”
People online absolutely loved Freeman’s story.
Freeman told the Independent that despite all the risks she took, she wouldn’t change a thing.
“The experience taught me so much. I learned how to be resourceful and calm under pressure. I was able to bond one on one with my son from his first breaths,” she said.
“I’m thankful that everything went well and I was able to deliver a healthy baby,” she added. “I know everyone isn’t always so fortunate but I appreciate the experience and hopefully he’ll think it’s an amazing story when he’s older!”