Margaret and Cal Markland expected to welcome their third child into the world at Good Life Birth Place on Monday night. They didn't quite make it.
Once Margaret began to feel contractions, their plan was to drive from their home in Bellevue to the Lincoln birthing center for the delivery. Originally from Missouri, they were used to at-home births with their other two children.
But 10 minutes from the birthing center, as their car rolled down U.S. 6, Margaret's contractions grew more frequent. She knew what was coming.
"I thought I gave myself enough time," she said Wednesday. "But right when we got off of Interstate 80, I told my husband we had to pull over."
That was at about 11 p.m. Cal called 911, and a dispatcher began coaching him as he stood on the side of the highway.
"The baby was here literally 5 minutes after we pulled over," Margaret said. "My husband was awesome — so calm and collected through the whole thing."
When little Jason Scott Markland emerged, Cal wrapped him in a beach towel.
And, after waiting 3 minutes to make sure Jason was breathing correctly, Cal tied off the umbilical cord with the drawstring from a pair of swim trunks.
Police closed off a lane of the highway for an ambulance. With Cal following in the car, paramedics took Margaret and Jason to CHI Health St. Elizabeth to be checked out.
Jason is doing well, his parents say. He's met his big brother and sister.
"It was a bit of a surprise," Margaret said. "I thought we were going to make it. It was so surreal. I remember thinking, 'I just delivered a baby on the side of the road!' Not many people can say that."