ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Of all the deliveries Santa could have made Christmas morning, the precious gift in Hannah Lindeman’s arms is the last one she expected.
“I wasn’t due until January 21,” said the 31-year-old who started the day with only two daughters. Her newborn daughter, Poppy, decided to come early. Hannah said the contractions came on strong and painful as she was celebrating the holiday with relatives in Chisago County.
“Finally somebody in the room said, ‘OK, we’re done trying to open presents. You guys are gonna go to the hospital,'” she said.
Along Highway 8 just south of Chisago City, Poppy once again intervened. Hannah said she could feel the baby coming, so she told her husband, Taylor Lindeman, to call 911 as they were driving.
“It didn’t really occur to me until I was calling 911 that [the birth] might actually not take place where it’s supposed to take place,” he said.
Dispatcher Jake Prager took the call. On the job for a little more than a year, he said he’s learned to expect the unexpected when the phone rings. Once he learned Hannah was in labor, he told the couple to pull over. Police and paramedics were called in, but Prager knew the baby likely wasn’t going to wait for them.
“Figured out the baby wasn’t out yet, but the water had broke. At least during the call I think the water broke,” Prager said.
He then guided Taylor, who said he’s not a big fan of the sight of blood, through the process of delivering the baby on the side the road.
“One important thing we make sure we do is we tell them to get towels or a blanket or something to dry baby off, wipe out the mouth and nose, and then also a shoe lace or a cord or a string of some sort to tie the cord,” Prager said.
Taylor said he was able to stay calm thanks to Prager’s calm demeanor on the phone.
“You’re not really doing a whole lot of thinking, you’re just following directions and doing what needs to be done,” said Taylor.
All the while, the temperature outside was below zero with a wind chill near -20.
“I definitely could feel the cold because the door was open for [Taylor] to help,” said Hannah.
Despite the freezing weather, lack of pain medicine, doctors, and a hospital bed, Hannah gave birth to a happy, healthy, and warm girl.
“We had a really thick blanket in the car that my mother-in-law threw in right before we left the driveway,” Hannah.
“It was a weight off the shoulders,” Prager said. He added that the other dispatchers in the room were eagerly awaiting the news of the successful birth. Prager said Poppy is the fourth baby he’s helped deliver as a dispatcher. “We usually celebrate when there’s a child birth up here,” he said, along with getting a commemorative pin of a stork.
Hannah and Taylor were grateful for Prager, as well as the police officer and paramedics who arrived shortly after the birth.
Later Monday, the Lindemans were joined by their relatives at United Hospital in St.Paul, all of them excited and relieved over the big day.
“This might be our last go around with pregnancy,” said Taylor.
Hannah said although Poppy’s name has already been picked out, they might add another middle name with a Christmas influence. The entire experience is a story they can’t wait to tell her once she’s older.
“I think I’ll talk to [Poppy] about how it was pretty miraculous that she was OK and that there were no issues,” said Hannah.