Singapore

Baby born in taxi during circuit breaker

Parents relieved after 'long 30 minutes' from home to hospital

For expectant couples, the idea of giving birth during the Covid-19 pandemic and a time of social distancing can be worrying and isolating.

But for Mrs Sana Lindberg, 30, a housewife, and her husband Per Lindberg, 35, a lawyer, the birth of their second child during the circuit breaker period took an unexpected turn.

At 2am on May 27, Mrs Lindberg delivered their second child Rex in the back seat of a taxi, with their masked-up ComfortDelGro taxi driver Hanafiah Ismail witnessing the joyous occasion.

Mr Lindberg said: "She held on to me in pain when she could no longer hold back the birth of our son. We did not expect this as the birth of our first child took 12 hours."

He recalled being drenched in sweat from anxiety behind his face mask, on what seemed to be "a long 30 minutes" to Gleneagles Hospital from their home in Mandai.

"Our baby had not yet cried, so we were afraid for his safety," he explained. "But the cabby stayed calm throughout and ensured we arrived safely."

Associate Professor Tan Hak Koon, chairman of the division of obstetrics and gynaecology at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), noted that the management of labouring women as well as the visitation policy at KKH has changed since Covid-19 affected Singapore.

For instance, pregnant and labouring women with fever or flu-like symptoms are isolated and tested for Covid-19 infection.

There is also a limit on the number of visitors, and mask-wearing for patients and visitors is mandatory.

Currently, only one visitor is allowed at any time for obstetric or gynaecology wards. Only five pre-designated visitors are allowed throughout the patient's stay and they cannot be changed.

Mr Lindberg, who hails from Sweden, and his British wife have lived in Singapore for 41/2 years and intend to apply for permanent residency. Their first child Ruben is two years old.

Upon reaching the hospital, Rex let out his first cries with the help of nurses and doctors.

"We were both so relieved," said Mr Lindberg.

When he returned to the taxi for their belongings, Mr Hanafiah congratulated him in what he described as "a warm but brief moment of celebration".

The 59-year-old taxi driver said he was relieved to learn that the Lindbergs are doing well. He has never witnessed a birth in his taxi throughout his 14 years as a relief driver.

"I am happy for them and it didn't matter what happened to the taxi as long as they are safe," he said.

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