MIAMI – A Haitian pregnant woman endured three long months of bus rides and hikes from Chile to Miami. Her journey through 11 countries was full of perils. She was robbed several times and on Monday she started to bleed while on South Miami Avenue in Downtown Miami.
Stela Niznik had finished a yoga class and she was on her way to work. When she saw a car parked in the middle of the avenue, she knew something was wrong. She stopped and ran to help. She saw the pregnant woman was wearing a dress. There was blood on her legs. Niznik called 911 shortly after 8:30 a.m., on Monday.
The 911 dispatcher asked Niznik what she had in her car. She had her yoga mat and clean towels. The woman was on the mat when Niznik saw the baby’s head. She followed the dispatcher’s instructions even though she didn’t even have time for hand sanitizer. She shouted and encouraged the woman.
“Eventually the baby just perfectly like landed in my hands,” she said, adding the baby girl was born at 8:45 a.m.
Miami Fire Rescue arrived to help and took them to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Niznik was shaken and couldn’t stop thinking about them. On Wednesday, she was able to hold the baby girl again at the hospital’s maternity ward. She got to know the mother and realized her mission wasn’t done.
“They are in need of a home, clothing, food, and money for medical bills,” Niznik wrote.
Fundraiser: Here is how to help Darlie
The co-owner of the Chicken and The Egg, a restaurant in Downtown Miami, has thought about the intention she set during her yoga class that extraordinary morning. It was to do something good for someone else. Niznik and the baby’s mother both feel it was all just meant to be.
“There is definitely a special connection ... She definitely came into the world and made her first friend ... I don’t think it was a coincidence that I just happened to be there and that I just happened to stop.”
The baby’s Haitian mother agreed and said in Spanish there is no doubt God placed Niznik in her path. She traveled with her husband and four-year-old daughter as part of an ongoing exodus of fellow Haitians from Chile to the United States.
After the 2010 earthquake, Haitians migrated in large numbers to work in Chile and Brazil. The coronavirus pandemic created enough desperation to prompt many of them to leave South America and make the 4,000-mile journey north.
On Wednesday, while they all walked out of the hospital, the Haitian mother decided to name her baby Darlie Stela in Nzinik’s honor. Niznik is asking the South Florida community to join her effort to help. She set up the “Miracle Yoga Mat Baby” page on Wednesday evening on GoFundMe.