Geoff Briley holds his newborn daughter, Kahlista Rose, at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. He helped deliver her around 4 a.m. Tuesday on the the side of Hwy. 35E and Roselawn.

Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

Roadside birth in Maplewood had drama, happy ending

  • Article by: MARY LYNN SMITH and PAUL WALSH
  • Star Tribune staff writers
  • September 7, 2011 - 8:00 AM

If the St. Paul mother of two had known how fast her third baby would pop into the world, she would have stayed home.

"I expected her to come early," said Crystal Arevalo, who knew she would probably beat the Sept. 19 due date because her first two children were born early. "But I didn't expect her to come in the car."

After about 3 1/2 hours of contractions, Arevalo and her husband, Geoffrey Briley, headed to Regions Hospital in St. Paul at 3:45 a.m. Tuesday. "The contractions were coming fast but they didn't last very long." So Arevalo figured she had time on her side.

But as soon as the 27-year-old mom walked into the cold morning air, "I felt like I was going to have the baby."

As in right then, she said. "I should have just stayed home."

Instead, she got on her knees on the passenger seat, facing the back window of the 2008 Dodge Charger. Her husband drove and she called her mom. Five minutes into the drive on Interstate 35E, Arevalo told her mom she was having the baby.

"Now," she said, dropping the phone and telling her husband, "I'm having the baby."

"No, you're not," he said. "You're not having the baby now."

"I can feel her head," Arevalo said. That's when Briley looked over at his wife and saw that his new daughter was already defying him.

In a whirl of controlled chaos, Briley pulled over near the Roselawn Avenue exit, called 911 and jumped out of the car and ran to the passenger's side. As Arevalo gave birth, her husband took off his shirt to catch the baby. The baby wasn't crying, so he unwrapped the umbilical cord that was wound around the baby's body. Still, the newborn didn't cry, concerning her parents.

So remembering what he saw during the birth of their two other children and a little of what he'd seen on TV, Briley stuck his pinkie into the baby's mouth.

"She threw up some water, cried a little bit and opened her eyes," Arevalo said. "Then she was perfectly fine."

Within minutes, a state trooper arrived, helping her husband tie off the umbilical cord and wrap newborn Kahlista Rose in blankets.

A roadside delivery isn't something Arevalo would recommend.

"It was uncomfortable. It was cold," she said. "And random people kept coming up."

After the state trooper arrived, three police cars pulled up, followed by a television crew that heard about the roadside delivery on a scanner.

As her husband was interviewed, Arevalo was transferred to an ambulance. "I finally got to see her." • 612-673-4788 • 612-673-4482

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