The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

B.C. mall becomes maternity ward as woman gives birth while shopping

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RICHMOND, B.C. - A mall in Richmond, B.C., is celebrating its newest customer — or it would, if it could find him and his mom.

A spokeswoman for the suburban Vancouver mall said a woman gave birth to a baby boy while shopping on Saturday afternoon.

Joey Kwan said security staff at Aberdeen Centre called 911 when the woman went into labour and by the time firefighters arrived, so had the baby.

She said a security guard saw a woman who seemed to be in labour on the second floor of the mall and called his supervisor.

"The supervisor actually could hear her screaming from downstairs so he brought out the oxygen tank and the first aid and rushed up to the second floor and tried to help her out," Kwan said Wednesday.

The woman's sister was on the phone with a 911 operator but apparently was too panicked to talk, leaving the security supervisor to speak with the operator, she said.

He was instructed to tell the new mom to keep breathing, Kwan said.

The baby soon emerged in the packed mall with Saturday shoppers arriving through a nearby door from the parking lot.

The sight of a baby being born on the mall floor caused a bit of excitement, she said.

"We tried to direct all the traffic and it was pretty crazy at that time," Kwan said, adding that in all the commotion, no one thought to get the mother's name.

Kwan said the little guy didn't even wait for the paramedics and it was a very surprised firefighter who ended up cutting the healthy baby's umbilical cord.

Now, Kwan said merchants are hoping the mom and son return to the mall, where one restaurant has offered to have the family for dinner to celebrate the baby's 100th day, which she said is an important event in the Chinese community.

Merchants have already come forward with numerous gifts for the infant, and one bakery has offered to make a birthday cake for the boy every year until he turns 18. (The Canadian Press, News1130)

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