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Woman Gives Birth to Baby Boy in Holland Tunnel

By Irene Plagianos | December 26, 2012 10:41am | Updated on December 26, 2012 1:22pm

NEW YORK CITY — It was a morning commute they won't soon forget.

A New Jersey woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy in the Holland Tunnel Wednesday morning as she was riding into Manhattan with her husband, a Port Authority spokesman said.

The Lodi, N.J., couple, who were almost through the tunnel on their way to a New York hospital, pulled over when they realized their baby just couldn't wait, officials said.

The husband, Abdel Elkarhat, ran out of their Cadillac desperately looking for help while his wife, Soukaina Nekhlaoui, was in labor. Veteran Port Authority Bridge and Tunnel agents George McCann and Jean Bernard came to their aid.

“The father was really frantic. I could tell he’s a new father,” McCann said. “He was running around the vehicle and yelling, ‘Help me, help me.’"

By the time the officers responded at 6:58 a.m., the baby was already on his way out, the men said. Little Nassim Mohammed Elkarhat was born just two minutes later.

McCann guided the newborn’s head and shoulders out and tapped the child’s arms, when the baby opened his eyes for the first time — then laid the boy on his relieved mother's chest.

McCann, who has worked for the Port Authority for 35 years, then created a makeshift "oxygen tent" around the baby, who was blue when he first came into the world, to shield him from the car fumes, he added.

EMS workers soon arrived to help cut the umbilical cord.

“Knowing the mother’s fine, the baby’s fine, it made my day,” said Bernard.

”The baby was looking at us like, ‘Why did you bother me? Let me go to sleep,'" Bernard added. "I’m glad it turned out well.”

Mother and child, whose name means "scent of a morning flower," were then taken to New York Downtown Hospital, where the pair are doing well, a Port Authority spokesman said.