News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
No time for the hospital: Dubois baby born in car
Mar 27, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer
Milepost 114 on U.S. Highway 26 between Kinnear and Riverton always will hold a special place in the hearts of Leeanna and Jason Horn.
That's where Jason pulled over March 18 after his wife gave birth to the Dubois couple's daughter, Kaige Kolbi, while en route to Riverton Memorial Hospital.
"My husband was so calm," Leeanna said.
Mother and baby were taken by ambulance to RMH afterward, where Kaige was deemed healthy at 4 pounds, 10 ounces and 16 inches long.
"She had her first doctor's appointment on Friday, and they said she was looking real good," Leeanna said.
The news was welcome after the experience that Leeanna said was "something you would only see in the movies."
It started March 17.
"I was having contractions," Leeanna said. "I was feeling different."
The contractions woke her up that morning. At about 11:30 a.m., she called her nurse in Riverton, who advised her to take medication that was given to her the week before to help stop contractions.
The baby's due date was April 7, but Leeanna was scheduled for an inducement March 20 because she had low fluids.
"The nurse told me to take a pill, stay off my feet and lie on my left side," she said. "It was helping. As long as I was lying down, I didn't feel anything."
Leeanna called her nurse around 3 p.m. and was told to take a second pill.
"It didn't seem to quit the contractions," she said. "But it didn't get any worse."
She called again at 7 p.m. and was told to take another pill.
Leeanna suggested to her husband, a school music teacher, that he go into work and prepare his lessons for Monday in case they might have to leave for Riverton in the morning.
At that time, the contractions were 15 to 20 minutes apart.
Not long after Jason left for work, Leeanna called him.
"The contractions were three minutes apart. I said 'Jason, you need to get right home,'" Leeanna said.
The couple loaded up in their Kia Sportage, a four-door mini-SUV. They dropped off their 2-year-old son, Koi, with family and headed toward Riverton.
Leeanna said her husband tends to speed from time to time, but under the circumstances, the rush was needed.
Leeanna was leaning backward over the passenger seat because she was uncomfortable sitting.
Shortly after 10 p.m. and about 44 miles outside of Riverton, between Crowheart and the rest area, a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper pulled the couple over for speeding.
"The trooper comes up to the window, and Jason explains what is going on," Leeanna said. "I really wondered if I opened the door if the trooper would shoot me. I just wanted to die."
The trooper took Jason's driver's license and as he walked back toward his car, Leeanna said she could see that the trooper realized what was going on.
"It dawned on him," she said.
The trooper returned to his patrol car and followed the couple.
But shortly after passing the turnoff to Lander, Leeanna said she could feel her water coming out.
'Then I caught her'
"Jason kept telling me to hold and, don't push, don't push," Leeanna said. "I tried to sit there for a bit, and the contractions went away for two or three minutes.
Then I got a bad one. I said, 'Oh her head's right there, Jason.' And then I caught her."
"The first thing I thought was, 'Oh crap, I just cleaned the car and shampooed that seat,'" Leeanna said. "There was stuff on the baby, and I thought, 'That's so gross.'"
Jason pulled over and told the trooper Leeanna had given birth. Because the baby was still attached, Jason told the officer he needed a clamp and a nose sucker. The trooper handed over his medical kit.
"I must say Jason was very calm throughout this whole thing. He knew exactly what needed to be done after Kaige got here," Leeanna said.
Jason handed his wife a blanket to cover up Kaige, who was breathing on her own.
By then, paramedics and another trooper arrived on scene.
In a news release, Highway Patrol Sgt. Stephen Townsend said the second trooper on scene was a former paramedic at a fire department and was able to help by suctioning the newborn so she could breathe, checking vital signs, and tying off the umbilical cord.
"The trooper then allowed the proud new father to cut the cord," Townsend said. "Once the ambulance arrived on scene, care of mother and daughter was turned over to EMS personnel. Both mother and newborn were subsequently transported to Riverton Memorial Hospital."
Townsend said the new father and troopers were excited at the night's events and the successful outcome.
"The troopers advised that the remainder of their shift that evening was fairly mundane compared to the excitement of participating in and witnessing a brand new life come into the world at roadside," Townsend said.
Leeanna doesn't know the exact time that Kaige was born.
"The ambulance came at 10:32 p.m. so I estimate she was born at 10:25 p.m. on March 18," she said.
Double birth certificate
Later that night, the couple rested in a hospital room.
"We just laughed, thinking 'did this really happen?'" Leeanna said.
Kaige was discharged two days later, and the family returned to Dubois.
"She is doing fine, but I still have to laugh about it," Leeanna said.
Kaige's official birth certificate will say she was born at RMH because the delivery process was not fully complete until they arrived at the hospital.
"But the hospital gave us a special birth certificate that says she was born while en route to the hospital, and I put that on our birth announcements," Leeanna said.
Kaige wasn't the first in the family to be born in a car. Leeanna's grandfather was born Aug. 18, 1923, while en route to the hospital in Medicine Bow.
"My mom thought that was kind of cool," she said. "I still think this all sounds like a movie or a TV show."