If you can’t make it to the hospital in time to deliver your baby, just make sure your car can drive itself.
Yiran Sherry, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, got in her Tesla after her water broke, but instead of waiting until she got to the hospital, she started pushing while the car kept driving. Thankfully everything turned out all right for the mother and her child.
The World’s First Tesla Child
Sherry, 33, was at home getting her three-year-old son Rafa ready for school when she realized her baby was coming.
“I was anticipating a nice day at the hospital,” said her husband Keating Sherry. “I put him in the backseat and went to check on Yiran. Her water had broken a few seconds prior. She said, ‘Take Rafa to school, then come back and get me.’ But I thought: Time is of the essence.”
By that point, Yiran’s contractions were so bad that she could barely walk. So, Keating helped her into the car. She squatted on the floor of the passenger seat as he drove to the hospital.
With traffic backed up, Keating put the car in autopilot, so he could turn and help his wife. He kept his left hand on the steering wheel and gave his right to his wife, so she could squeeze it.
“She was squeezing my hand to the point where I thought she was going to shatter it,” Keating said. “I said to Yiran: ‘OK, focus on your breathing.’ That was advice to myself, as well. My adrenaline was pumping. I said, ‘Rafa, everything’s fine. Your baby sister is arriving.’”
The drive to Paoli Hospital ended up being minutes. Yiran remembers looking at the GPS and tracking their progress as she caught her breath.
“I was initially trying to hold it, but halfway through I was thinking: Should I push or should I hold? Should I push or should I hold? Fuck it, let’s do this,” she said. “From TV or movies, I thought maybe I should push. … I should’ve realized she would come.”
As soon as they arrived at the hospital, Yiran turned to her husband and said, “Oh, my God, Keating. She’s out.”
A pediatrician standing outside called the nurses to come out and help. They quickly ran outside to cut the umbilical cord.
“Once the pediatrician said, ‘She’s healthy. Congratulations,’ that was quite the sigh of relief,” Keating said. The staff then wheeled Yiran into the hospital.
Looking back, she said the birth was “perfect.” Or as her son Rafa put it: “Mommy had an owie, so we went to the hospital and Mommy had a baby.”
The couple ended up naming their daughter Maeve Lily, but the nurses on staff started referring to her as the “Tesla baby.” Keating admitted he was considering naming her Tess after the vehicle that helped bring her into the world.
“Are you the one who delivered the baby in the car?” asked one of the nurses.
Maeve Lily is considered the world’s first baby born in the front seat of a self-driving car. According to Tesla, the autopilot feature is designed to reduce the work of driving. It works by matching the speeds of the other vehicles around it.
“Thank you genius Tesla engineers for your brilliant design of autopilot,” Keating said.
Both Yiran and Keating said they knew they were meant to be parents. “We knew we wanted to have children, but it was a matter of when,” he said. “We liked the independence and freedom. We were enjoying that season of our lives.”
But Yiran, who grew up in China as an only child, always wanted a larger family. “There’s a one-child policy in China,” she said. “It was very lonely growing up as a single child in the family. There was no one to play with.”
Rafa won’t have to worry about being lonely now that he has a sister.
“The power of moms is an extraordinary thing,” Keating added. “I feel incredibly blessed to have Yiran as a wife and partner. An experience like that happening, words don’t do it justice.”