‘So here my ass is in my hotel room all by my lonesome learning how to deliver my own baby’
A woman who doubted she was pregnant was forced to use YouTube videos to learn “how to deliver my own baby” after she went into labour alone in a Turkish hotel room.
Tia Freeman was travelling from the US to Germany to go on holiday when she started suffering contractions as she landed in Istanbul for a stopover in March.
The 22-year-old, who was in “denial”, having only been told about her pregnancy six months into her term, assumed she had food poisoning from a meal she had eaten on the plane. It was only when she was going through customs that she realised she was going into labour.
Ms Freeman, a computer specialist in the US Air Force, revealed her amazing story in a Twitter thread, which has since been shared thousands of times.
Determined not to give birth in an airport, Ms Freeman made it to her hotel room and began searching on YouTube for the best way to deliver her baby.
Filling a bath with warm water and grabbing two towels – one to bite onto, and one to wrap the baby in – she began pushing once her contractions started happening every minute.
After five or six pushes, a baby “popped out” and “floated right on up to the top of the water”.
After checking the sex of her newly-born baby, she was forced to search on Google as to how to cut an umbilical cord without any tools beyond a knife.
Using sterilised shoelaces as clamps, she managed to cut the cord before exhaustion began to set in. After cleaning up the bathroom, “which looked like the set of a horror movie”, she breastfed her newborn son and went to sleep.
Waking up the next day, she headed to the airport to find out how she would leave the country with a newborn baby.
After convincing local police and Turkish Airlines staff of her story, local media organisations were tipped off and she became headline news in the country.
Ms Freeman was eventually taken to the US Consulate in Istanbul, where she applied for a birth certificate and passport for her son, whom she named Xavier Ata Freeman.
After being taken to hospital – almost 24 hours since giving birth – she was given the all clear and spent another two weeks in Istanbul, fully paid for by Turkish Airlines.
Ms Freeman finally flew back to Nashville, her hometown, at the end of March.
Speaking to The Independent, Ms Freeman said her family were left “absolutely stunned”.
“No one had a clue,” she said. “But they were all extremely excited. It’s my parents’ first grandchild and he makes the fifth living generation on my mum’s side.
“As soon as I flew back they all came to visit, bearing gifts and spoiling Xavier. They found out about four days after I gave birth to him while I was still in Istanbul. So of course they called every single day, wanting to talk to him and see pictures and videos and checking in to make sure we were okay.”
Looking back on the birth now, Ms Freeman says despite the risks, she “probably 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!”
And why she did not go to a hospital? “Not many people spoke English that I encountered at first,” she said. “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.”
Though Ms Freeman’s birth was a success, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) “strongly discourages” women from giving birth alone.
“Whilst the RCM recognises that every woman has the right to give birth without professional assistance, there are potential risks for both mother and baby and for that reason the RCM would strongly discourage women from giving birth by themselves and without professional support or skilled medical help,” an RCM spokesperson told The Independent.
“The RCM also believes that the more we develop maternity services which enable women and midwives to get to know each other and for women to trust their midwife the less likely women are to choose to give birth without a midwife present.”
On the huge reaction on social media, Ms Freeman said: “I expected my friends to go crazy reading it but I didn’t expect it to get as big as it did. Though I probably should have, seeing as though everyone who knows the story loses their minds.
“I think all the tweets broke my Twitter.”
Read Ms Freeman’s amazing story in full below.