The holidays were to be the last for Hannah Lindeman as a mother of only two. Her third child wasn’t due until Jan. 21 and she decided to spend Christmas with relatives in Chisago County, north of Minneapolis. Yet on Christmas Day morning, her future daughter Poppy started to mix things up.
As the family gathered to unwrap presents, Lindeman’s contractions came with a force.
“Finally, somebody in the room said, ‘OK, we’re done trying to open presents. You guys are gonna go to the hospital,”‘ she told CBS Minnesota.
Her husband Taylor jumped behind the wheel and the two sped off toward a hospital in the subzero Minnesota cold. As they drove along Highway 8, Hannah told Taylor to call 911. He did and while doing so it started to settle in what his wife actually meant.
“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.
Indeed, Poppy was coming and there was no stopping her.
Dispatcher Jake Prager took Taylor’s call. He absorbed the importance of the situation and alerted police and paramedics.
Just over a year on the job, Prager had already gone through some dramatic situations. He reasoned this time it will be just Hannah, Taylor, him, and the baby.
“Figured out the baby wasn’t out yet, but the water had broke. At least, during the call, I think the water broke,” he said.
He told the couple to pull over.
The delivery started.
“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 shoelace or a cord or a string of some sort to tie the cord,” Prager said.
Taylor said he’s not a big fan of blood, but Prager’s calm voice helped him settle.
“You’re not really doing a whole lot of thinking, you’re just following directions and doing what needs to be done,” Taylor said.
Wind chills outside were pushing the temperatures down to -20 degrees, but Taylor had to open the car door to help Hannah.
“I definitely could feel the cold,” she said.
Hannah pushed and Poppy came into the world—a very cold world.
“We had a really thick blanket in the car that my mother-in-law threw in right before we left the driveway,” Hannah said.
The blanket helped keep Poppy warm until police and paramedics arrived.
“It was a weight off the shoulders,” said Prager, who also had the added responsibility to keep his colleagues updated, as they eagerly awaited news about the delivery.
“We usually celebrate when there’s a childbirth up here,” Prager said. It was already his fourth assist of a delivery.
Hannah and Taylor were grateful for Prager. Their relatives joined them at United Hospital in St. Paul, celebrating the new family member.
“This might be our last go around with pregnancy,” Taylor said.
They were considering giving Poppy a Christmas-themed middle name.
“I think I’ll talk to [Poppy] about how it was pretty miraculous that she was OK and that there were no issues,” Hannah said.