It was a Christmas miracle for Minnesota couple, Taylor and Hannah Lindeman, when the pregnant mother-of-two went into early labour and was forced to deliver their little bundle of joy on a highway in freezing temperatures.
The Chisago City couple were in the middle of their Christmas celebrations, but had to end the merrymaking and rush to the hospital. The baby girl, meanwhile, had other plans and arrived even before reaching the hospital.
"We weren't really expecting today to be the delivery — but obviously she had other plans," the new father said of the surprise incident on Christmas day on Monday (25 December).
For the expecting couple, Christmas day began on a festive note with their daughters Lilly, 5, and Dahlia, 3, opening presents at Taylor's parents' house in Shafer, Minnesota. But halfway through the gift-opening ritual, Hannah became restless with unbearable pain as her contraction became "much more painful". She also had a rough night because of the pain, Taylor reportedly said.
At around 9am local time (3pm UK time) that day, the pair was forced to leave for the United Hospital in St Paul — a 45-minute drive from Taylor's parents' house. "I called United to tell them that we were coming. After that, my wife said that I needed to call an ambulance," the father-of-three told Star Tribune, narrating the incident.
"Her contractions were very, very painful. So I called the ambulance and stayed on the line and then eventually had to stop to have the ambulance find us, because they said if I keep driving they couldn't continue following me."
Taylor said that he had to pull over on Highway 8, an area at the edge of Chisago City, as he rushed around the vehicle to be by his pregnant wife's side on the front seat. All this while, he kept the ambulance dispatcher on speaker phone, standing near the open door in almost -2 degree Celsius weather.
With a windchill blowing, the outside weather felt like it was -25 or below at the time, said the expectant father. He added that they were not offered any assistance by the passers-by while they waited for an ambulance, possibly because of the Christmas Day rush.
"While I was on the phone with the dispatcher, her water broke," Taylor said, noting that it was around 20 minutes after they had left for the hospital. Within the next two minutes, the couple was forced to deliver their baby girl, Poppy, on the highway.
She was born healthy, weighing six pounds and eight ounces, and measuring 20.5 inches as the overjoyed father announced, "She's our biggest baby yet."
A couple of minutes later a police officer from the Lakes Area Police Department reached the spot and stayed with the Lindemans until the ambulance arrived. The officer, as instructed by an Allina Health dispatcher, cut off a shoelace and tied off the baby's umbilical cord.
"The police officer did a really good job. The paramedics did a really good job, too," said the happy father, who teaches seventh-grade English in the Rochester Public School.