RIGBY, Idaho — Katie Clay knew she was expecting a baby but had no idea her child would be delivered in the parking lot of a potato processing plant.
She didn't know the gender (she wanted to be surprised) and didn't know her little bundle of joy would arrive three weeks early.
But the biggest unknown? Katie had no clue she's been carrying twins for the past nine months.
The 22-year-old was napping with her 2-year-old son, Marcus "MJ" Clay, at her parents' Rigby home Tuesday when her water broke around 11 a.m. She told her dad, who was home at the time, and called her midwife.
"I wasn't having contractions, so the midwife told me to meet her at the birthing center at 1:30 p.m.," Katie tells EastIdahoNews.com. "My dad called my mom at work, and she rushed home so she could take me to have the baby."
Katie tried calling the baby's father, 24-year-old Marcus Clay, but he was driving a truck for work in Idaho Falls and couldn't answer. She left a message explaining what was happening, and once he heard it, he went back to company headquarters, dropped off the truck and started driving to Rigby.
By the time Katie's mom, Karen Scott, arrived at the house, her daughter was having serious contractions.
"They were coming strong. I was throwing stuff in bags so we could get to the birthing center, and Katie kept saying, 'Mom, we've got to go,'" Karen recalls.
Karen reclined the passenger seat of her 2003 Nissan Altima, and Katie climbed inside. The two left for the Selah Midwifery Center in Rigby, about a 15-minute drive from their house. Along the way, contractions became more intense.
"Suddenly, I started feeling different — lightheaded and a lot of pressure," Katie says. "I told my mom I didn't think we were going to make it and told her to pull over. She said we were close, but I just knew something was happening."
The mother and daughter were two minutes from the birthing center when Katie screamed, "Mom, it's coming!"
Karen pulled into the parking lot of Webster Potato Company on Spud Alley, threw open her door and ran around to the passenger's seat. Katie's midwife, on her way to meet them, was on speakerphone as Karen yelled, "The baby's coming now!"
"Katie's pants were down, and her feet were on the dashboard. I saw the baby's head come out, and she pushed out the rest," Karen says. "I took the cord from around his neck and put him on his mom's chest."
The midwife arrived within minutes and made sure Katie and her baby boy were fine. The placenta was not coming out, but the group figured they'd slowly drive to the birthing center where it could be delivered.
That's where Marcus met his new son.
"I got to the birthing center and learned that she had the baby in the car. That was crazy to hear, and then they cut the cord and handed the baby to me," Marcus recalls. "Katie was still trying to deliver the placenta, and they were wondering why it wasn't coming out."
Katie tried to push out the placenta for nearly 20 minutes when she says there was a pop followed by "a lot" of amniotic fluid.
"It was a gush – just like another water breaking," Karen says. "Everyone was surprised, and Katie said, 'There's not another baby, right?'"
Before she knew it, Katie was instinctively pushing as the midwife exclaimed, "I think there's another baby!"
"As soon as she said that, two seconds later, the whole baby just came out," Katie says. "Everyone was just in shock. The entire room was silent except for the baby, who was crying."
Marcus recalls, "I'm like, 'Holy crap!' That one slid out real fast. I couldn't believe it. And then I thought, 'I hope there isn't another one!'"
"It was just surreal. We were all quiet, except for the baby, and then everyone just started to laugh," says Karen. "Oh my gosh! Did this just happen?"
The midwife placed the second baby, also a boy, on Katie's chest.
"I didn't know what just happened. I was like that for a good couple hours. I just sat staring at two babies," Katie says.
Both boys were in good shape. Emmanuel Azariah Clay, born at 12:36 p.m. in the potato company parking lot, weighed in at 6 pounds 10 ounces. His fraternal twin, Elijah Abel Clay, arrived at 12:58 p.m. at the birthing center, weighing 5 pounds, 11 ounces.
The family left the birthing center at 7:30 p.m., and MJ met not one, but two new baby brothers.
How couldn't they know?
When Katie learned she was pregnant, she and Marcus decided to do things the "old-fashioned" way. They made appointments with a midwife, who checked their baby's heartbeat during every visit, but they never had an official ultrasound.
"In December, I had a gallstone and went into ER. They did do an ultrasound on my stomach to make sure the baby was OK," Katie says. "But I didn't see any pictures or video (because she chose not to), and they never said anything about having two babies in there."
Karen was at the hospital visit and saw the ultrasound.
"You can see arms and legs and they thought it was a girl. I saw the whole side view, and there was not a lick of another baby in there. That was at 32 weeks," Karen says.
It never crossed Katie's mind that she might be carrying two babies, although she admits that during her pregnancy, people joked she was big enough to have twins. She also remembers one unusual moment during her second trimester.
"I felt kicks two separate places — at the top and at the bottom. But then I didn't think much of it," Katie says.
Katie and Marcus were prepared for one baby — but not two. They're scrambling to get extra clothes and premie diapers and realized Wednesday afternoon that their vehicle isn't big enough for MJ's seat, plus two additional car seats.
"Emmanuel and Elijah are sharing the crib right now, and fortunately, we already had two car seats," Katie says. "I still don't think it's set in, but we're going to figure this out. We're just so happy they're healthy and here."
Karen says Katie is "a rock star" and her hero. The proud grandmother looks forward to playing with two baby boys over the coming years.
Marcus describes having an unexpected baby as an "undisguised blessing." He was worried he wouldn't be able to love another child, let alone two, after the birth of MJ. But he's amazed at how instantly he fell in love with his new sons.
"God was there. Love was there. Everything you could worry about was gone," he says. "God had his hands on this pregnancy and births. Everything happens for a reason, and it all worked out perfectly."