California kids stay calm, help deliver mom’s baby

by Sudhin Thanawala
Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—By the time 9-year-old Jabari Sanders called 911, his mom was already giving birth to his little brother in the bathroom of their home.

“The baby’s coming now!” Jabari told the dispatcher as his mom screamed in the background.

So the woman on the other end of the line talked the 9-year-old and his 11-year-old sister through the ordeal, telling them to towel off the baby and tie its umbilical cord with a string while they waited for paramedics. Their father, Geoffrey Sanders, called the calm kids “super heroes.”

PROUD FAMILY—This March 16 picture shows the Sanders family, from left: Alana, Faith, 11, Geoffrey, newborn Joseph, Jabari, 9, and Janelle, 2, in Fremont, Calif. Jabari and Faith helped their mother Alana deliver Joseph at home March 9.

“I’m a proud father,” he said. “It’s kind of a pat on the back that we are doing something right.”

The 36-year-old Northern California woman unexpectedly went into labor at her home in Fremont and was forced to turn to her kids after giving birth while standing in the bathroom.

“My mom started screaming and then she started bleeding all over her body and then the baby came so I called 911 for an ambulance,” Jabari said March 18 outside the family’s apartment. “Then my sister told my mom to lie down.”

Faith described her conversation with the 911 dispatcher.

“The operator started talking to me and telling me to take a piece of yarn or string and tie it around the umbilical cord and I did,” she said. “Shortly after that the paramedics knocked on the door.”

Their father, Geoffrey Sanders, said his wife, Alana Sanders, was not available for comment because she and the baby were resting.

Geoffrey Sanders, 35, said he had left for work around 1:30 a.m. and was not around when the baby came on March 9.

In a previous interview, Alana Sanders said her kids stayed composed throughout the ordeal.

“They didn’t freak out. They didn’t fight with each other,” she told the Oakland Tribune.

A 911 recording released March 17 attests to the children’s poise, as they relayed messages between their mother and a dispatcher.

After the baby was born, the dispatcher can be heard telling Faith to wipe the baby with a clean towel and tie, not cut, the umbilical cord with a string or shoelace about six inches from the baby’s body.

“You did a great job,” the dispatcher says, as paramedics arrive.

Alana Sanders and the newborn, Joseph, were taken to Saint Rose Hospital in Hayward. The boy, who weighed 9 pounds and 4 ounces, was healthy, Geoffrey Sanders said.

(Associated Press videographer Haven Daley contributed to this report.)

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