An Amtrak train headed to New York from North Carolina was forced to make an unexpected stop last month after a pregnant passenger went into labor.
Sheera Lowe was headed home to Philadelphia on Feb. 20 after visiting her husband, Michael Stokes, who recently moved to Kannapolis, near Charlotte, for a FedEx supervisor job.
She'd had an easy pregnancy and figured it was OK to travel. But at around 5:45 p.m., shortly after the train left Baltimore's Penn Station, she started having contractions.
"I was in great pain and started getting really bad cramps and was sweating," Lowe, 26, who was 8 ½ months along, told TODAY.com.
The mom, who had traveled with her 4-year-old daughter Aaliyah but left the girl with her husband, carefully made her way to the cafe car to get ice chips.
There, she found most passengers plugged into their electronic devices, except a woman named Christina, who was reading a book.
"I think I'm in labor," Lowe told the woman. "Can you please help me?"
Christina went to get an Amtrak employee, who cleared passengers from the car and called an ambulance to meet them at the closest station, ten minutes away.
Lowe was worried she wasn't going to make it.
Sure enough, she was right.
As they pulled into the Aberdeen, Maryland, train station, two police officers and a paramedic jumped on. They laid her between two seats and tried to keep her calm.
"It was an intense situation when we got there," Aberdeen police officer Daniel Testerman told TODAY.com. "She was pretty worked up, as anyone in labor would be, and we kept reassuring her that everything was going to be fine, she just had to keep calm."
At 6:01 p.m., Trinity Christina Stokes was born. She weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces.
After the baby arrived, the responders wrapped her in paper towels and sheets of aluminum foil meant for hot dogs.
"We did what we could to adapt, even though it wasn't the most ideal location for that kind of intimate experience," Testerman said.
Lowe chose the middle name Christina to honor the good Samaritan who helped her through the experience.
"Christina wouldn't leave my side and held my hand the entire time," Lowe said.
And while the new mom felt bad making passengers get off at an unscheduled stop, when she looked outside, she found them all smiles, waving and cheering her from the platform.
An Amtrak employee called Stokes to tell him the news about his new baby girl, and Lowe was taken to the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center at University of Maryland for proper care.
"It was a pretty incredible experience to see everyone coming together from different places to bring life into the world," Testerman said.
When she left the hospital, she didn't think twice before hopping on another train to bring her baby to Philadelphia, safe and sound.
"I never imagined this would happen to me, nor did I ever want it to," Lowe said. "But Trinity is healthy, alert and thriving, so that's all that matters to me."