OREM — A couple welcomed their son into the world Monday morning on the side of I-15 in Orem.
Officers from the Utah Highway Patrol and Orem Police Department responded to a call at about 5:25 a.m. that a woman was in labor near the 1600 North northbound off-ramp in Orem. When they arrived, they found the "woman had delivered her own baby," according to Sgt. Hoby Metz with UHP.
"The father was standing next to her, the door was opened, the baby was breathing and looking fine," Metz said. "There looked to be no distress on either the mother or the baby (They) looked just fine, so that was a relief."
In audio of the 911 call the father had placed less than 10 minutes prior to the officers' arrival, he tells the dispatcher, Kim Hicken, "We just delivered a baby in the car." He says his new son, baby No. 2, was "not crying as much as we want."
"Buddy, breathe. Come on, buddy," the father tells his newborn son between the dispatcher's questions.
"Is there anything we need to do to make sure he stays breathing and everything?" he asks.
The dispatcher informs the father to keep the baby wrapped up and warm, and to make sure not to pull on the umbilical cord.
"Gently wipe the baby's mouth and nose, and dry the baby off with a clean towel or whatever you've got right there," she said. "Have you got something to wrap the baby in?"
The baby was wrapped in a blanket, but the father found a sweater to help keep him warm.
"Don't pull the cord. Make sure you don't pull the cord," the dispatcher said.
The father told the dispatcher the baby had been delivered five minutes before, while the couple was on their way to the hospital. When officers arrived, they waited with the family for an ambulance.
Metz said the mother was in pain "from just delivering her baby," but both mother and son appeared to be in good condition as they were loaded into an ambulance to be transported to American Fork Hospital.
Metz said the father was "excited, but he wasn't out of control."
"I've heard some pretty panicked dads, and he was very, very calm," Hicken said.
Officers allowed him to drive the family's vehicle to the hospital, where he was reunited with his wife and son.
"Everything went according to textbook, the way I looked at it. It looked just fine," Metz said.
He said this is the second time he has been on the scene when a woman had a baby on the side of the freeway. "It's exciting each time," he said.
Hicken said this was the sixth time she has received a call as a dispatcher to help delivering a baby before the couple can get to the hospital. Usually, she said, she has to do more coaching.
"As far as delivering a baby, it wasn't a very hard one, because the father had done all the work before he called," Hicken said. "This was the first one that had actually been born before they called in."
Like Metz, Hicken said assisting these parents is a rewarding part of her job.
"It's one of the most nerve-racking calls you can do while you're doing it. But, after it's done and everything is okay, it's the best call," she said.
Contributing: Jed Boal