Seattle Highway Becomes Baby-Birth Corridor

Last month, three women separately delivered babies in their cars along Interstate 5 near Seattle. The new mothers describe their roadside births.

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

There is something about Interstate 5 near Seattle, and it's not just the traffic. Last month, three women delivered babies in their cars, all of them along I-5, two of them just this week.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

Twenty-eight-year-old Liz Kirkman(ph) gave birth in a van in the carpool lane. Baby Juliet is the Kirkman family's seventh, so Liz thought it was best if she did not make too much trouble while her husband drove the speed limit, 60 miles an hour, toward the hospital.

Ms. LIZ KIRKMAN: He looked over and said are you feeling like you have to push? And I said yeah. And then it started to happen so fast, and I felt her coming down, and then I put my right leg kind of up on the door and just delivered her. The head came out, and I just reached down and delivered the shoulders and just pulled her up on my chest, and that was really the first my husband knew that a baby was being born in the car, was when he saw her.

From his story, he says I was totally silent, which doesn't mean it wasn't painful.

BRAND: Wow. And so the very next morning - get this - Wendy Mesa-Jimenez(ph) was on her way to the hospital, also on I-5. She was also being driven by her husband. And at a certain point she too figured out there weren't going to get there in time. So she ordered her husband to pull over. As he jumped out to flag down a highway patrol car, Wendy gave birth to Alexa.

Ms. WENDY MESA-JIMENEZ: (Through translator) Was I worried? No. No, I took my clothes off in the car and opened my legs and had the baby. I just had to have her.

CHADWICK: About four weeks ago, Jenny Miller(ph) started all this on the shoulder of Interstate 5 near Seattle.

Ms. JENNY MILLER: My husband, he pulled over, and then the second push came and he caught the baby at that point of the second push. He just - he caught the baby. I said that he delivered the baby. He said no, I really just caught the baby, because the baby was practically out already.

And then after he called 911, he helped me get my seatbelt off and untangled the umbilical cord from the seatbelt.

BRAND: You can hear in the background there four-week-old Ian Miller. He is fine. He's healthy. As are the other two babies, three-day-old Alexa Rodriguez and four-day-old Juliet Kirkman.

You know, Alex, I guess giving birth in a hospital, well, overrated.

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DAY TO DAY is a production of NPR News with contributions from Slate.com. I'm Madeleine Brand.

CHADWICK: And I'm Alex Chadwick.

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