Rush-hour rash of babies on I-5
Seattle Times staff reporter
Rush of I-5 births
Alexa Rodriguez, born in a vehicle parked on the offramp to Airport Way South in Seattle.
Juliet Kirkman, born in a moving car near Northgate Mall in Seattle.
Ian Miller, born in a car parked on the shoulder near Northgate Mall.
State Patrol Trooper Chad Phillips was catching up on a little paperwork while parked on a freeway offramp when a man pulled up in a sport-utility vehicle, leaped out and made a gesture that needed little explanation.
Magin Rodriguez used his hands to outline the shape of a pregnant belly and frantically gestured toward his passenger door.
Phillips ran over to Rodriguez's SUV and opened the passenger door just as baby Alexa made her way into the world — and the Tuesday morning commute.
Phillips cradled the baby and placed her on the lap of her mother, Wendy Meza-Jimenez, and called for medics.
Meza-Jimenez and her newborn daughter were taken to Highline Medical Center in Burien, where hospital staff said the two were doing fine Tuesday evening.
"I am happy, I am very happy," Rodriguez said about his healthy baby and wife.
Alexa, who weighed in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces when she arrived on Interstate 5 near Boeing Field, is the third baby born on the freeway in King County since Jan. 5, and the second one this week.
On Monday, Liz Kirkman and her husband, Brian, were driving from their Snohomish home to Swedish Medical Center in downtown Seattle when the contractions hit the hardest. Unfortunately, they were stuck in morning rush-hour traffic.
"Once I was in the moving car, I was like 'Uh-oh,' " Liz Kirkman said Tuesday. "I started doing the math in my head and thought 'I am cutting this real close,' then I got this urge to push."
Kirkman, a 28-year-old stay-at-home mother, said that by the time they reached Northgate, she couldn't keep from pushing through the contractions.
Sitting in the front passenger seat of their van, she propped her leg up on the dashboard and delivered Juliet as her husband drove in the I-5 carpool lane.
He managed to stay on the road.
Kirkman believes prayer and her recent study of delivery are the reason for her roadside medical precision. She said her other six children were born in lengthy hospital deliveries.
The couple drove to the closest hospital, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, where mother and baby stayed until Tuesday night.
A little more than three weeks ago, on Jan. 5, a Brier woman gave birth to her son on the same stretch of I-5 in North Seattle. Jenny Miller, 29, delivered her son Ian on the way to Northwest Hospital.
Both Miller and her husband were surprised by how quickly their fourth child was born.
In yet another unscheduled arrival, troopers in Pierce County helped deliver a healthy boy in Puyallup on Jan. 19. Only this delivery was off the highway.
Rena Scarberry, 19, of Tacoma, delivered her son outside a Red Robin restaurant.
Why the rash of unusual births?
"We simply attribute it to coincidence," State Patrol spokesman Jeff Merrill said. "Who wants to have their baby in their car on the freeway?"
Merrill said all troopers are trained to deliver babies.
"It's part of our basic curriculum at the academy," he said. "You secretly hope you don't have to use it in the field."
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information in this article, originally published January 31, 2007, was corrected February 5, 2007. Due to incorrect information supplied by the State Patrol, a previous version of this story incorrectly gave Trooper Chad Phillips' last name as Williams.
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