This Christmas came with the gift of life — delivered at the mouth of the Queens Midtown Tunnel.
A Middle Village mom gave birth to a healthy baby girl at the Queens entrance of the tunnel, alongside her husband, Ivan, early Wednesday morning with an assist from a helpful crew of MTA Triborough Bridge and Tunnel police officers.
Christmas Day was winding down for Maria Albarracin, 36. She was expecting her child a few days later, on the 29th, and was planning to take a shower before heading to bed. But before she could catch a wink, her husband Ivan, 39, was rushing her to NYC Health + Hospitals Bellevue in their minivan around 3 a.m.
They were about a mile away on an empty Long Island Expressway when Ivan realized they weren’t going to make it in time. He spotted an MTA Bridge and Tunnel vehicle stationed just before the toll plaza.
“I started driving fast and faster and I see the officer and say, ‘He’s going to pull me over for the speeding,” Ivan said. “So I pulled over before he could pull over and said, ‘Help me!’”
MTA Bridge and Tunnel officers escorted the couple safely to an open space in the toll plaza, where Lieutenant Harry Persad stepped in. A 15-year MTA veteran with EMT experience, Persad started coaching the family as they prepared to give birth in their backseat.
“I asked [Maria] vital questions EMS would need when they got there,” Persad said. “The contractions were less than a minute apart.”
Moments later, around 3:15 a.m., Alie Aurora Albarracin entered the world under the lights of the LIE.
“I took her pants down and I see the baby, the head, already showing,” Ivan said. “Three pushes — muy rapido — the baby comes out … She came so fast."
It was the Alberracin’s third child, but the first born on the expressway. Ivan received the baby and Persad instructed him how to get air circulating through her mouth and nose. Ivan quickly wrapped his newborn daughter in his coat, and EMS arrived shortly after to transport the family to Bellevue.
Alie Aurora weighed nine pounds and was 21 inches long.
Maria, who responded to questions in both English and Spanish on Wednesday night, said she was “blessed” and felt “amazing.”
Maria then turned to her husband as she held her newborn.
“My hero,” she said.