Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dad delivers baby in front seat of car

By Patrick Tepoorten

Six pound, thirteen ounce Taylor Marie Freundschuh was born sometime just before 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, in the front seat of a Toyota Highlander on County Road 22 somewhere near Wyoming.

Taylor’s father Tony, 24, of Lindstrom, didn’t quite believe it at first when mom Renee, 22, said she had to push. But when he looked over he saw the crown of Taylor’s head emerging and knew they weren’t going to make it to Fairview Regional Medical Center, just a few miles away.It wasn’t supposed to happen that way. Renee told Tony Tuesday morning she was feeling some contractions, but they were mild and she sent the expectant dad off to work like usual. Even when she called later that morning to say maybe they should get to the hospital, things still felt pretty casual.Just before leaving home though, Renee was hit with a whopper contraction and she said “call 911.” But it immediately subsided and she changed her mind, and said “No, hang up.”

Not 10 miles later Tony, who, coincidentally, makes deliveries as part of his job too, first saw his daughter’s head. He was still driving. “It didn’t seem like it should be a head,” he said in a Tuesday afternoon interview at Fairview.He immediately pulled over and called 911, and though he did receive some advice from the dispatcher, Taylor was born before any help could arrive on the scene. Tony was concerned at first because Taylor wasn’t crying, but a few light taps on the chest and she made her audio debut.Renee said, “It’s a girl,” as Tony plopped brand new Taylor on mom’s stomach and went to flag down cars. When a passerby stopped to help, Tony remembered thinking “Thank God, it’s a woman.”

The Freundschuh's Toyota Highlander has already been dubbed the "birth mobile."
The good Samaritan, who Tony did not get a chance to identify, made sure Renee held Taylor close and told Tony to shut the door to keep the heat in the car. Soon after an officer arrived and cleared nasal passages, and an ambulance wasn’t far behind.Mom and baby, wrapped in dad’s brand new sweatshirt were transported to the hospital via ambulance while dad followed in the Highlander, which has already been dubbed the “birth mobile.”Aside from the unusual circumstances of Taylor’s arrival, everything else happened as planned. Taylor basked under a warming lamp (she was a little chilly from the experience), mom was treated typically post birth, and dad spent his time going back and forth between Taylor in the nursery and Renee, already in a birthing center bed. New grandfather Mark Freundschuh sat in the lobby fielding calls from anxious family and trying to figure out how to send pictures with his cell phone, and new grandmother Julie Freundschuh watched her new baby granddaughter through the nursery window.

At one point a nurse emerged from the nursery and told Mark of Tony, “He did a good job,” and Mark noted that the extraordinary circumstances of Taylor’s birth was “payback” for the grief Tony put his parents through during his own birth.A little later, and almost as an afterthought, it was recalled that Tony had recurring dreams throughout the pregnancy, in which he was forced to deliver his own baby, which would be a girl (the couple was not aware of the baby’s gender). Except for the part of the dream in which the umbilical cord turns out to be a piece of licorice, the reality almost perfectly mirrored the dream.By 3 p.m. Taylor was happily sleeping off the day’s events in mom’s arms, and dad’s adrenaline levels were back to normal. “I can’t believe she’s here,” said Renee of her first child.Given the circumstances, it begs the question: How could your next birth top this one?, and indeed the question was asked of the young couple by nurses and family alike.“I don’t know,” said Renee. “Maybe we’ll go sky-diving or something.”