A woman from Alberta has given birth in a way worthy of a New York City movie scene.

In the morning rush hour, in the back of a taxi, her son entered the world.

"I pulled down my shorts and the head was halfway out," said Chantal McKenna, 35.

The driver was asked to stop — just as the baby's whole head came out.

"I just reached down and grabbed him," she said.

Chantal and Mark McKenna, who have lived in Calgary and Edmonton, moved to New York City recently. They knew they'd be starting a family in the Big Apple but didn't expect it to be in the most New York way possible.

'She's in labour!'

Around 11 p.m. on July 12, her contractions started. By 7:30 the next morning, the couple knew they had to get to the hospital.

On the way out the door, shortly before 8 a.m., she had a massive contraction.

"The doors open to the elevator and there were six people standing in there, and Mark's like, 'She's in labour!' expecting them to come out," Chantal said. "And they just kind of backed up and made room for us."

Chantal McKenna

Chantal McKenna in the hospital after giving birth in a taxi. (Chantal McKenna)

The elevator filled up, with everyone trying to reach the main floor: 24 floors down. They all left the elevator before the couple, because Chantal had another big contraction and couldn't move.

"Everybody was kind of looking at each other to see who got out first," said Mark, 36. "It was one of those weird human kind of unpolite things."

'Screams were starting'

The Uber they called had left, so the doorman flagged down a taxi — not an easy feat during the morning rush. Chantal got in the car and kneeled with one foot on the seat and the other on the floor. She buried her head in her husband's chest.

"[The cab driver] knew I was in labour because I was very loud by that point," she said. "I was having trouble breathing it down and the screams were starting to come out."

Joseph McKenna

Newborn Joseph McKenna. (Chantal McKenna)

By the time they passed Central Park, she knew she wouldn't make it to the hospital emergency room.

"At that point, there was panic because we didn't know if the baby was OK," she said.

That's when she checked her shorts and pulled out her new son, Josef.

"Luckily the baby just started crying. The cab driver got out and he stuck his hands in the air," she said.

A huge crowd gathered outside and started clapping, and the car was soon surrounded by firefighters and paramedics. Chantal asked Mark to take a photo to mark the moment.

It's one they won't forget.


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener