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EXUMQ b@ca.on.york_county.toronto.toronto_star 2006-12-15 published
Math prof's son born at gas bar
By Nick KYONKA , Staff Reporter
A potentially dangerous miscalculation by a York University math professor ended in what she described as a miracle , after she gave birth to a boy outside a North York gas station.
Xin GAO , 32 , was at home with her father , Kerry , early yesterday morning when she started to have contractions. At first , she said , she thought she had plenty of time before she would have to go to the hospital.
"At about 5: 30 I started to feel contractions and I thought , usually it takes 10 hours (before going into labour) ," she said yesterday afternoon.
"I thought it was too early to go to the hospital at that time."
An hour and a half later , however , when the contractions started coming more quickly , GAO changed her mind.
Acting quickly , she asked her father to run to a neighbour's home to ask for help driving her to the hospital.
Without hesitation , she said , a neighbour she barely knew and who she identified only as Mary , jumped at the opportunity to help and the three of them were on their way to North York General Hospital.
They never quite made it.
"When we started our trip , we thought we'd be able to make it to the hospital but just 10 minutes later things changed dramatically ," said GAO , who has taught mathematics at York for four years now.
"At Bayview (Ave.) and Cummer (Ave.) I thought I couldn't hold it any more because the baby's head was pushing out."
Mary quickly pulled over into a nearby gas station where she rushed to find a phone to call an ambulance. Meanwhile , GAO said , her boy was making his entrance into the world.
"I was sitting in the front passenger seat so I lay down and (Mary) rushed into the gas station and borrowed a cell phone ," GAO said of the moments before her son was born.
"She was calling 911 and at the same time she caught the head of the baby."
When paramedics arrived on the scene a few minutes later , GAO had already given birth and her father was cradling the child in his arms.
"They helped me wrap the baby and cut the cord and rushed me to the hospital ," she said of the paramedics.
"I was fine and the baby was fine and the whole family is excited."
Hours later , her husband , Hong XUMQ , would meet her in the hospital after driving back from Ottawa where he works.
Together , the two decided to abandon the traditional Chinese name they had reserved for the boy , and to name him Michael , because the name sounds so similar to miracle.
Weighing 7 pounds , 2 ounces , he joins his brother , Xing Ming , 4½.
"Both my husband and I decided to choose Michael for the first name of him just to remember what happened today ," she said from her hospital room yesterday.
"We are very grateful to the people who helped me because without their help it would have been a very critical condition."
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