Miracle on ice: Baby born on a sled atop a wintry Roxborough street

Don Lafferty learned a little about the miracle of life in a most unexpected way early Wednesday morning.

At around 6 a.m., a baby girl was born on a neon green sled directly across Cinnamon Drive from his Roxborough home. Not only that, his roommate had called 911 and talked the father through the delivery.

“I thought he was joking at first,” said Lafferty who, jolted awake, quickly headed out into the frigid air to help in any way he could.

Snowy street as a delivery room

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When he got outside, his new neighbor Bella Sophia Bonanni was already wrapped in a blue blanket and heading home, tucked into her father’s arms.

Bella’s mother Shirley, though, was still on the sled, so Lafferty ran down the steep icy stretch and guided paramedics to her.

“We all carried her up the steps here and into our house,” said Lafferty. “We were going to be put a blanket under her, but we decided we just had to get her in the house immediately.”

Needless to say, Shirley and her husband Fabian hadn’t planned on welcoming their second child into the world this way.

The proud parents

Shirley woke up early with contractions, but thought there would be enough time to reach the hospital. By the time she was ready to head out, Bella was ready to meet her new neighbors.

In an attempt to reach Fabian’s car, which couldn’t travel up the icy hill to the house, Shirley was seated on that green sled.

“Once we got out of the house, there was no way we were going to make it to the hospital,” Shirley told WPVI-TV. Recovering at Temple University Hospital, Shirley wasn’t up for another interview on Thursday.

Neighbors recall unexpected scene

Ryan Gee recalled waking up to the sounds of screaming. Peeking out his window, Gee saw Shirley, but couldn’t tell from afar what exactly was happening.

“We just see [Fabian] pulling her down like she’s going for a sleigh ride,” said Gee. “We weren’t too sure what to think.”

More screaming prompted Gee to throw on some clothes and head outside. Walking down his driveway, he saw Fabian speed past with Bella in his arms.

“It was a blur. I was a deer in headlights. I was shocked, stunned,” said Gee. “I’m just glad they’re OK. I’m sure next time I see them, maybe we’ll laugh about it a little bit how crazy that was.”

Lafferty said he expects the shocking but heartwarming experience to bond the neighbors on the block. After all, he and his roommates had never met Shirley before Wednesday.

“You’re sharing something that intimate and unusual,” he said. “It was really cool that we could all be there and I certainly think we’ll all definitely talk after this and all the neighbors will be a little closer.”

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