Jacob Schindler was a Boy Scout, and the lessons he learned about being prepared came into play Monday when he delivered his newborn daughter on the side of the freeway in north Minneapolis.
Schindler, 22, a voracious reader who consumes more than 200 books a year, studied up on how to deliver a baby in the absence of a midwife, just in case.
“I was paranoid of this exact situation happening, so I read about it as much as I could and learned as much as I could,” he said Tuesday while holding Griffon Elizabeth Schindler in his arms, sitting on a hospital bed with her mother and his high school sweetheart, Abby Vanyo. “When I feel there is something I might run into, I read as much as I can.”
Chalk it up to intuition or a sixth sense, but Schindler was more than ready for the untimely birth when Griffon decided to make her entrance to the world just after 6:30 a.m. Monday on the eastbound shoulder of Interstate 94 near W. Broadway.
Vanyo, 23, had been scheduled to be induced at 7:30 a.m. on July 4th after being a week overdue. That morning, she started having contractions and the Brooklyn Center couple headed off to the Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.
Just minutes into the drive and not even up to freeway speed, Vanyo ordered Schindler to pull over.
“This baby is coming right now,” Vanyo remembers telling Schindler. “We are doing this now.”
With Vanyo lying in the back seat, Schindler called his sister-in-law, who is a doctor, for help, but the phone call cut out. So he called 911 and state troopers and firefighters were dispatched to the scene. As troopers held the blanket to catch Griffon, Schindler barked out instructions to them, drawing on what he had read and augmented by directions given over the phone by an on-call EMT.
Griffon was born happy and healthy. Paramedics arrived in time to cut the umbilical cord and take mother and daughter to the hospital.
“She was just ready to come,” Vanyo said. “She decided she didn’t want to wait anymore. I am thankful that everything went smoothly.”
The whole ordeal caught on a Minnesota Department of Transportation traffic camera lasted less than 30 minutes.
This was the third time this year that the State Patrol has assisted with a roadside birth. In May, troopers helped deliver a baby at the intersection of Cedar Avenue and the Crosstown in Richfield and another along Interstate 90 near Worthington.
The parents said they are grateful to troopers, paramedics and firefighters who responded, and send a special thanks to the firefighters who moved Vanyo’s car out of the traffic lanes and made sure it did not get towed.
Griffon is the couple’s second child. They have another daughter, Aria, 3½, who didn’t have such a dramatic birth.
“I was afraid this was going to happen. I was a Boy Scout. I wanted to be prepared and it was awesome,” said Schindler, who is unemployed and looking to get back to work.
“I got to deliver my kid on the side of the road. I’ll never do anything cooler than that for the rest of my life.”