Happy birthday, London! Montclair baby saved by EMT one year ago
Watchung School paraprofessional Sabrina Pearman was 23 weeks pregnant when she began to feel stomach pains and pressure.
Though she was uncomfortable, first-time mom Pearman thought the pains were a normal pregnancy symptom and continued going to work and social events. But the pain increased.
And one year ago — on April 21, 2021 — the pressure became unbearable. She called her doctor and was advised to drink water and check back in an hour. But Pearman didn’t have time to give the doctor a call back.
The pressure continued to build, and as Pearman sat on the toilet in her Montclair home, 1-pound, 4.5-ounce London Sienna Bonds was born.
Pearman assumed the worst — that born 17 weeks early, the baby girl was not going to survive.
“I just thought it was done,” Pearman said. “That I just had her super early, and there’s nothing I can do.”
Pearman called her doctor and was instructed to get herself and London to the hospital. TaJuan Bonds, Pearman’s boyfriend and London’s father, called 911.
First responders arrived at Pearman’s home, and Atlantic Health paramedic Mike Manchester ran into the bathroom.
“Give me the baby,” he yelled.
The responders cut the umbilical cord, and Manchester carried London, no longer breathing, to a nearby bed. He began to perform CPR, and slowly, her heart resumed its beating.
London was quickly transported to Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. The hospital then became home for London, where she stayed for the next five and a half months before going home Oct. 6, 2021.
London stood out from the other babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, Pearman said. The nurses told her that most premature babies lay still. But London moved around non-stop, she said.
“She's still like that,” Pearman said. “I'm really afraid when she starts walking, she’s gonna be all over the place.”
London and family celebrated her first birthday Thursday.
Now a year old, London’s personality shines bright, Pearman said.
“She smiles and laughs all the time,” Pearman said. “You can’t stop her from laughing.”
And London is very independent, Pearman said — she likes when people talk to her, but she’s good at keeping herself entertained.
“She's like, ‘oh, you can just leave me here,’” Pearman said. “‘I'll just lay here and play with my toys.’”
On April 14 of this year, a week before London’s birthday, Manchester returned to pay her and Pearman a visit. It was the first time he had seen London since resuscitating her.
But since Manchester had directed all his focus to helping newborn London, he hadn’t interacted with Pearman after the birth — other responders helped the new mom. So when he walked into Pearman’s home April 14, she said, she didn’t recognize him.
“I didn't even talk to him and no one really talked to him [after the birth],” Pearman said. “He was all about ‘I need to save London.’”
But the visit was “really nice,” Pearman said. Manchester held London and spoke with Pearman about his experience on the day of London’s birth, bringing her back to life.
Manchester plans to stay in touch with London and her family, visiting each year for her birthday, Pearman said.