A 32-year-old woman driving 75 miles per hour on I-15 in Utah on Sunday, Feb. 1, had to switch from the fast lane to the side of the road because she was about to give birth.
Devi Mariah Ostler of Mantua, Utah gave birth to a 9.9-pound baby boy on the side of the road just a minute after highway patrol troopers arrived to provide assistance.
According to the Deseret News, Ostler was driving her six-year-old son to her mother's house in North Ogden so he could play with his cousins when she felt the contractions coming. When the contractions didn't stop, she knew she was in labor and started driving herself calmly to the hospital.
"I knew the baby was coming and it doesn't help to panic," Ostler said. "So I just stayed calm and said, 'Well, if I deliver it on my own, then I deliver it on my own. If somebody gets here, somebody gets here. The baby is here. There's not much more I can do about it.'"
She was on the fast lane when her water broke, so she called 911 for help.
"Obviously the first issue was to get her off the road so she wouldn't deliver a baby while driving," said Brittney Chugg, the 911 dispatcher who received Ostler's call. "We knew. We just knew it was going to happen. There was going to be a baby on the side of the freeway right then."
Police chief Jean Loveland from the nearby town of Willard and Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Josh Carr raced to Ostler's location. By the time they arrived, Ostler was dilated to a 10, unable to move.
The responders had just enough time to place a sterile sheet under Ostler so the baby would be born into something clean. Just a minute and a half before the police arrived, Ostler delivered a baby boy right on the side of the road on the shoulder of the highway just a little bit past the Willard exit. Her baby was supposed to be due in two days.
Ostler had not yet given a name to the baby as of Sunday. She was unable to find out ahead of time whether it was a boy or a girl. Both mother and baby were flown to the Brigham City hospital some 60 miles north of Salt Lake City.
Highway Patrol Trooper Jalaine Hawkes said roadside births occasionally happen in Utah, especially in rural areas where it takes longer to get to the hospital. Patrol troopers are equipped with a delivery kit and trained in situations like this. When the delivery is successful, it's a cause for celebration for everybody.
Despite being an EMT for 14 years, Carr said he considers this one of the most satisfying moments of his career and places it up there with the experience of seeing his own children being born.
"They tell you to be prepared to take a life and give life. Thank goodness this was one of the two I had the opportunity to do," he said. "To train for it, there is no training. They tell you how to do it. But... the only way you're going to learn is to actually do it."