Taylor Lindeman delivered his family's most precious Christmas present Monday along a frigid roadside in Chisago City shortly after his pregnant wife, Hannah, said he'd better call an ambulance.

The couple spent Christmas Eve at Taylor Lindeman's parents' home in Shafer, Minn., near Taylors Falls. Taylor Lindeman, 29, said his wife had been up and down much of the night with contractions but she wasn't especially concerned.

Christmas Day started about 7 a.m. when their daughters, Lilly, 5, and Dahlia, 3, began opening their presents. The adults started opening their gifts, but Lindeman said his wife couldn't get through hers because her contractions grew more frequent and "much more painful."

They left his parents' house about 9 a.m. for the 45-minute drive to United Hospital in St. Paul.

"I called United to tell them that we were coming. After that, my wife said that I needed to call an ambulance," Taylor said. "Her contractions were very, very painful. So I called the ambulance and stayed on the line and then eventually had to stop to have the ambulance find us, because they said if I keep driving they couldn't continue following me."

They pulled off Hwy. 8 in a windswept area at the edge of Chisago City and Wyoming. Taylor put the ambulance dispatcher on speaker phone and went around to the passenger side of the vehicle where Hannah, 31, was seated. He stood at the open door. He said it was minus-1 or minus-2 degrees outside with a windchill making it feel like 25-below.

No passers-by stopped to help, Taylor said. He guessed that it was too cold, and that other drivers had their Christmas destinations in mind.

"While I was on the phone with the dispatcher, her water broke," Taylor said.

That was 9:18 a.m.

Just two minutes later, out came their daughter Poppy. At 20.5 inches long and 6 pounds, 8 ounces — "She's our biggest baby yet," the proud poppa said.

A Lakes Area Police officer arrived a minute or two later and stayed with the Lindemans while they waited a few minutes for the ambulance. Taylor closed the passenger door and cranked up the heat.

The police officer cut a shoelace from Hannah's boot and tied off the umbilical cord, as instructed by an Allina Health dispatcher.

"The police officer did a really good job. The paramedics did a really good job, too," Taylor said.

He said both parents were doing well at United Hospital Monday afternoon as they braced for a crush of reporters and photographers. They expect to return to their home in Byron, Minn. sometime Wednesday.

Taylor, who teaches seventh-grade English in the Rochester Public Schools, said the delivery took him and his wife, a stay-at-home mom, by surprise. Hannah's first delivery took between seven to nine hours, he said. Her second delivery came about three hours after they arrived at the hospital. This one, he said, probably took 60 to 90 minutes.

"We weren't really expecting today to be the delivery — but obviously she had other plans," Taylor said of Poppy.

Dan Browning • 612-673-4493