Baby born during a speedy drive to the hospital

Updated: Feb. 5, 2020 at 4:45 PM CST
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MALDEN, Mo. (KFVS) - It could be the fastest baby delivery in the Heartland, and brings to mind Hollywood films like Talladega Nights.

A family from Malden, Missouri is celebrating the birth of a healthy baby boy who was born during a speedy drive to the Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center.

On Monday Feb. 3, Espen King Shepard was born to mother Esmeralda Gonzalez and father Nick Shepherd.

The baby boy weighed 5 pounds, 10 ounces, and arrived six weeks early while dad was at work.

Instead of taking his first breaths in a hospital, Espen came into the world inside a Chevy Cruze going 85 miles per hour.

Espen’s aunt Richelle Shepherd was behind the wheel helping rush her sister in-law to the hospital.

She thinks her little nephew could be destined to drive race cars.

“I hope so, I’ve been telling everybody he already has such a story and he is only 20 minutes old,” Richelle Shepherd said. “It just feels like he belongs with cars.”

Richelle’s husband, Eric Gonzalez, got the urgent phone call Monday morning from his pregnant sister Esmeralda.

After loading into the car, the family hoped they could make the hour-long drive to Poplar Bluff hospital in time.

“She was praying to herself to not have the baby in the car, but the baby was ready," Eric Gonzalez said. "Good lord we was there to help.”

The car was zooming down State Highway 53 when Esmeralda’s water broke as she was sitting in the passenger seat.

Eric Gonzalez was in the back on the phone with a paramedic, but quickly dropped his device and jumped into action.

“They said to me, ‘the baby has to be clean,’" Eric Gonzalez said. "So I cleaned his nose and his mouth. Right after I cleaned his mouth the baby started crying. It’s so beautiful to feel that. His very first breath in your arms.”

Richelle pulled off on a side street to wait for the ambulance to come and make the rest of the journey.

“We were still nervous, all knowing that we still have to get to the hospital ASAP," Richelle Shepherd said. "In fact, you can see a bruise line on the baby’s face where she was trying to not deliver the baby in the car.”

Soon enough Esmeralda and little Espen were rushed to the hospital where doctors stepped in to make sure the mother and son were happy and healthy.

“Everybody made jokes about Eric being Dr. Gonzalez,” Richelle said with a laugh.

“I’m so proud of myself," Eric Gonzalez added. "Esmeralda is OK, the baby is OK that is all that is important right now.”

The happy parents said they cannot thank their relatives enough for being there to help delivery the baby.

The family is already eyeing car-related toys to give Espen.

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