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New moms give birth on I-80 and in Payson Wal-Mart checkout line

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TOOELE — A pair of women gave birth a little earlier than they were expecting over the weekend — one while standing in a checkout line at Wal-Mart and another on the side of the I-80 freeway.

Just after 5 a.m. Monday, a couple from Wendover started driving toward Salt Lake City after the wife began having contractions.

"They had had labor pains so, they decided they were going to start heading to the hospital," said Tooele County Sheriff's Sgt. Marshall Evans.

But about 16 miles over the Utah-Nevada border, the baby decided she couldn't wait any longer.

The father pulled over and the mother gave birth to a baby girl, Evans said. When emergency dispatchers got the call from the couple, it wasn't to report that the woman was in labor but rather that the baby had already been born, he said.

When emergency crews arrived, Evans said mother and baby, who were in good condition, were transported the rest of the way to the hospital.

That incident came less than 24 hours after a woman at Wal-Mart in Payson went into labor while standing in the checkout line, said Payson Assistant Fire Chief Terry Reilly.

The woman's husband and another relative were with her at the time.

"She had flagged down one of my managers and said she needed help," said store manager Dustin Haight.

But the situation escalated quickly.

"She was clearly having trouble with the baby, so he brought her over her to register 11 with her stuff, and my customer service manager went to get her a wheelchair," Haight said.

But by the time that manager returned, "which was probably about 30 seconds," Haight said, "she was in the process of having the baby."

Reilly said 911 dispatchers were told that the woman was in labor. But before the call was over, the baby was already born.

"It was very fast," Reilly said.

Staffers at Wal-Mart and customers assisted with the birth. When paramedics arrived, Reilly said it was a "calm" situation. Both mom and baby were doing well, he said.

After the child was born, Haight said the mother of three wanted to bring home the groceries.

"She was down on the ground in a lot of distress, but she insisted on paying for her merchandise," he said, adding that while no one wanted to argue with her, the store may invite her back to receive some free diapers and other supplies.

"It's probably something in 20 years of doing this that I'll never forget," Reilly said.

The two incidents come on the heels of an episode last week on I-15 when a woman headed to the hospital became stuck in a massive traffic backup caused by a tanker rollover and freeway closure. A South Jordan fire paramedic crew was able to get to the woman quick enough to put her into the back of an ambulance where she gave birth.

Contributing: Peter Samore, Mike Anderson


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