CHICAGO — A baby girl was born in gridlocked traffic Tuesday when her parents got stuck in the morning snowstorm on Lake Shore Drive, officials said.
The family was driving to Mount Sinai Hospital, said Chicago Fire spokesman Larry Langford, but the snow and traffic were so bad they didn't make it.
By the time they got to Hayes Drive and Lake Shore Drive in Jackson Park, the mother knew she'd have the baby soon, Langford said, so the family called 911.
Chicago Fire Department emergency medical technicians Anthony Prowell and Kim Bailey got the call to go to the couple. Prowell thought it was going to be a delivery, they said, even though they'd only been told it was a "maternity" call.
The two got to the scene just in time: The mom's water had broken 20 minutes before they arrived, he said, and she told Prowell and Bailey she couldn't wait and had to push.
The baby was safely delivered while the mom was still inside the mid-size car, Prowell said, with him catching the girl, checking the umbilical cord and making sure she cried.
"The baby had a good, strong cry," Prowell said. "The color was good and everything."
Prowell cut the baby's cord and gave her to Bailey, who took the baby to the ambulance to warm her up and check her vital signs. Prowell stayed with the mom and the family was taken to Comer Children's Hospital. There, after things had calmed down, Prowell went to check on the mom and her baby.
"The mom and the baby are doing great," Prowell said. "They were very thankful. It was good. The baby's still good."
The baby was named Renetta. She's healthy and weighs 7 pounds "and a few ounces," Bailey said. She was born at 7:45 a.m.
The baby's birth was the "most unique" in Prowell's 22 years of experience, he said. He's helped deliver five or six babies, he said, but never one where the mom was sitting in a car in the middle of a snowstorm.
The storm has raged on and off since Monday night and is expected to drop 5-10 inches of snow on the city before it ends Tuesday night. It was particularly strong Monday morning when the baby was born.
"It was just coming down like crazy at that point," Bailey said.
Prowell and Bailey weren't even supposed to be there to respond, Prowell said — their shifts were up at 7 a.m., but the snowstorm meant the people relieving them also got stuck in traffic and were late.
But "we feel good," Prowell said.