Miracle on Third Avenue: British woman gives birth on New York street

British citizen Polly McCourt gave birth minutes after her water broke - and named her baby Illa Isabelle after Good Samaritan

Click to follow
The Independent US

A British woman who gave birth on the pavement in New York on Monday has named her newborn after the Good Samaritan who tended to her.

39-year-old Polly McCourt, from Black Bourton, Oxfordshire, was in her flat on E. 68th Street in Upper East Side of Manhattan, when she went into labour.

Her doorman, Anton Rudovic, hailed her a cab outside the block, but before it arrived Ms McCourt’s water had broken and she gave birth to her baby on the street at around 4pm, New York Daily News reported.

Mother and baby were rushed to Lenox Hospital in the city, and were found to be in good health.

Ms McCourt and her husband  40-year-old Cian McCourt have since decided to give their baby Illa the middle name Isabelle, the name of the passerby who gave Ms McCourt her coat while she waited for an ambulance.

Ms McCourt told the website that she was volunteering for a fundraiser at the school of her two old children, when she began to feel ill and rushed home.

“I went downstairs to get a taxi and my water broke, right in the front foyer of the building,” she said.

“Anton knew that I was in trouble, so he walked me to the corner of the street to try to get a taxi. And then I went, 'Oh no. She's going to come out.’

“She just came out. I thought I had longer!” she said.

Illa’s father was stuck in the Lincoln Tunnel when he received the call, but was able to meet his newborn baby minutes later.

He found her and his wife on the pavement, surrounded by around 50 helpful passersby. 

“There were a lot of people who gave their sweaters. I want to thank them,” said Ms McCourt.

Polly said of Isabelle, the woman who offered Ms McCourt her coat in weather barely above freezing: “We want to be able to contact her and say thanks."

“She had to go home without a coat on,” Polly told New York Daily News.

“She gave my husband her phone number and he lost it in the commotion.”

Mr Rudovic was back at work on Tuesday, and told the website: “I did my job. [Polly] needed to be rushed to go to the hospital. She said, ‘the baby’s coming! I need to lie down.’ And that was it. It was so fast — one, two, three.

“Mum and baby were fine, that’s the most important thing.”