A pregnant woman walked into a grocery store and meat market in Fresno, Calif., where’s she’s a regular customer, and made her way to the soda fountain. As ice was falling into her cup, she started screaming.

“I heard her scream, ‘Oh my God, I think I’m having my baby!’” said store owner Issamar Sepulveda. “It happened in like seconds.”

The cashier called 911 but was put on hold. The cook called 911 and was put on hold. The butcher called 911 and was put on hold.

The pregnant woman was on the floor of El Parian market about 7 p.m. Tuesday, and the baby was coming out quickly.

“All of us were like, ‘What is happening?'” Sepulveda said. Then they all got down on the floor with her.


Butcher Alberto Casias took off his burgundy apron and caught the baby, Sepulveda said.

Sepulveda looked down and saw something that scared her: The umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. She yelled for someone to throw her a pair of scissors.


“I thought, ‘What if the baby dies right here because I’m not doing this right?’” she said.

Sepulveda cut the cord from the baby’s neck, Casias wrapped the newborn in his apron, and everything seemed to be all right. They cleaned the baby with napkins.

“It was teamwork,” Sepulveda said.

Then the baby started looking purple. Now on the phone with 911, Sepulveda was told by the operator that meant the baby was cold. Casias got his sweater from the butcher area and wrapped the baby. Sepulveda grabbed from her office a blanket that belonged to her 1-year-old twins.


Three ambulances showed up, and Sepulveda grabbed her phone. After 25 minutes of chaos, she did what many would do. “I went live from Facebook,” she said.

Paramedics wrapped up the baby and took him to a hospital.

Sepulveda said she and her husband, Juan Damian, co-owner of the store, knew the woman as a regular customer who would come in to buy food, often with food stamps. Damian would sometimes let her have food if she didn’t have enough to cover what she wanted.


“He’d say, ‘It’s okay, you can have it,'” Sepulveda said. “He’s a nice person.”

Sepulveda said she went to visit the woman and baby at the hospital. The baby boy, Toby, weighs just about 8 pounds.

“The baby is doing good,” she said. “The mom is doing good.”

Reflecting, Damian said he was still processing the day-after-Christmas events.

“It was insane,” he said.

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