Lacey Gonzalez arrived at HCMC on the morning of March 8 with no time to spare. Her baby was on the way and there was no stopping her.
Gonzalez's husband dashed inside to get help and found Tiffany Owen, a security officer. Owen sprang into action and helped Gonzalez deliver the baby in the drop-off/loading zone of HCMC's emergency department.
To honor the woman who caught their healthy baby girl, the Gonzalezes decided to name their daughter Tiffany, after Owen.
"She came to the rescue," Lacey Gonzalez said Monday during a news conference at the hospital. "The whole time I just kept looking at her eyes, and all I could see was courage, and I knew everything was going to be OK."
The expectant mom had called HCMC around 6 a.m. that morning, but she and her husband, Luis, did not immediately leave their south Minneapolis home. Her water hadn't broken, and they were anticipating a three- to four-hour laboring process at home.
But everything moved much more quickly than expected, and after two hours, Gonzalez was having heavy contractions. They headed downtown.
As they arrived outside the emergency entrance, it was clear the baby was coming. There wasn't even time to get his wife into a wheelchair; Luis needed to find help fast.
"I was concerned about somebody being able to catch her, that she was going to continue her entrance to the world safely," Lacey Gonzalez said.
Luis ran inside the hospital to the emergency department entrance, where Owen was sitting. She asked if Lacey was pushing. Luis said yes. Owen alerted the medical staff about the emergency and bolted out to the Gonzalezes' van.
Owen had trained for situations like this and, as a mother, knew about the experience of giving birth. That all kicked in as she helped Gonzalez stay calm and push.
"I was by myself for what seemed like eternity, but it was just a minute or two," Owen said. "She continued to push. I got the baby when she was born."
"One of the most amazing moments of my life."
Tiffany Gonzalez was born at 8:33 a.m. at 7 pounds, 1½ ounces, and 18 inches long. She was born at 38 weeks, and Lacey Gonzalez said baby Tiffany's first checkup went very well.
The Gonzalezes didn't know if they were having a boy or a girl, so Owen broke that news to mom upon the baby's birth.
Then she made sure both mother and baby were OK as the medical staff arrived at the scene. They brought Gonzalez and her baby into the emergency department before transferring them to the birth center.
Tiffany was not on the family's list of potential baby names, but the parents thought it was a fitting name for their fourth child.
Owen said having a baby named after her is awesome and something she will carry with her the rest of her life.
"I'm still processing it," she said.
The hospital gave Owen, who has worked at HCMC since July, a pink stork pin for her vest and an award that names her an honorary midwife.
Owen's performance impressed the staff at HCMC. Kathryn Leggitt, a certified nurse-midwife at HCMC, said Owen did a great job delivering the baby.
"I think she drew on her training, drew on her personal experience and drew on her professionalism to stay calm in an unusual situation," Leggitt said. "Pulling all those things together, she made a really safe experience for Lacey and for the baby."
Peter Warren • 612-673-1713