Baby born on sled expected to go home Friday

Watch report from Action News
January 23, 2014 3:51:13 PM PST
The winter storm will be unforgettable for one Philadelphia mom who gave birth on her way to the hospital. But it didn't happen in a car or ambulance like you would think. Baby girl Bella was born on a sled.

Weighing in at 7 lb. 9 ounces, Bella Sophia Bonanni and mom Shirley are doing well at Temple University Hospital Thursday night.

Action News spoke with the 911 dispatcher who helped her into the world.

Joe Mitchell has only been a 911 Dispatcher for six months, but he has already taken the kind of call he will be talking about for a lifetime.

Mitchell was on the other end of the line when Nick Bonanni called 911 to say his daughter-in-law, Shirley, was having a baby on a sled in the middle of Cinnamon Drive in Roxborough.

"I woke up with contractions, they were about 10 minutes apart. So, we thought we had plenty of time to go to the hospital," recalled mom Shirley Kim Bonanni.

Fabian Bonnani called his parents to come watch 2-year-old Logan and got the family car as far up Cinnamon Drive as he could. He even had a backup plan in case Shirley couldn't walk from their house.

"It seemed like it was walkable to the car. But I had the sleds just in case it was super-slippery, because we had that ice storm like a week or two ago," Fabian told Action News.

By the time Shirley showered and her in-laws arrived, the contractions were too quick and too strong for her to walk. So Fabian put her in the sled and tried to slide her down to the car. But Bella wouldn't wait.

"Once she said the baby was coming, that's when I got nervous," said Mitchell.

As Mitchell was talking to the Grandpa-to-be, another dispatcher was talking to the Bonanni's neighbor, George Leader.

Both men were passing information onto Fabian Bonanni, who was helping his wife deliver their daughter.

She was in the sled because Fabian couldn't get his car up their snow-covered, hilly street and Shirley couldn't make down because of her contractions.

Mitchell admits he was nervous, but just gave the birthing instructions as he was trained to do.

He is relieved to know Bella Sophia Bonanni and her Mom are both just fine and expecting to go home Friday.

Action News checked in on the family at Temple Thursday afternoon, and brought Bella an official Action News baby onesie.

We also told them that Firestone is giving them a new set of winter tires, so that in the future, their car won't have any trouble navigating Cinnamon Drive.

Shirley says Bella's unusual arrival has pretty much made birth announcements unnecessary as they have already heard from just about everyone they know.

"We've heard from lots of friends and family, Facebook posts, texts messages, email, you name it," said Shirley Kim Bonanni.

Action News checked on Cinnamon Drive Thursday, and good news, it has been plowed, salted and is totally clear for Baby Bella to go home.

Neighbor George Leader saw the commotion outside, heard Shirley yelling, and called 911.

"I was on the phone with 911, talking him through it and he certainly delivered his own baby, right there, on the side of the road," Leader said.

Fabian ran the baby -- wrapped in blankets back up to their house. The new Grandma and Grandpa -- who'd watched the birth -- helped George and his roommate carry Shirley, still on the sled, into their house to keep warm.

"There's three guys over there... were wonderful. 'Three Musketeers' they came out, they were with us the whole time with blankets and we drug her into the house,"


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