Like mother, like daughter for car births

April 02, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

MINNEAPOLIS -- Margie Coffeen was born in the front seat of her parents' car on a cold February day 31 years ago while her father was driving her mother to Children's Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y.

"He jokes that he held out his hands and caught me," says Margie Coffeen, who now lives in Eagan, Minn.

Yesterday, Margie Coffeen was on the other end of the catch game when her husband, Paul, delivered their son in the front seat of the family car while on the way to the University of Minnesota Hospital.

Paul Coffeen was a little more prepared to deliver a baby than was Margie's father, an electrical engineer. Paul, 32, is an internist at the university, training to be a cardiologist, and has delivered babies while in medical school.

"It was a little nerve-racking," said the doctor.

The couple's other child, John Andrew, 2 1/2 , was born 11 weeks early, so precautions had been taken during Margie Coffeen's second pregnancy to prevent another premature delivery. She had been confined to bed for the past seven weeks and was taking medication to prevent early labor. Her mother was staying with the family to help out.

Yesterday morning, Margie Coffeen awoke to what felt like a hard kick. Then her water broke, and she started to have hard contractions. It was about 7 a.m. when she and her husband got into the car to drive to the hospital.

"We were 5 miles short of the hospital, and I knew I wasn't going to make it," she says.

Her husband pulled onto the right shoulder in the westbound lane of Interstate 94.

L "My husband just pulled over and caught the baby," she says.

It was 7:45 a.m. Little Robert Connor, just two weeks short of his due date and tipping the scales at 7 pounds, 12 ounces, was just fine.

Other motorists were oblivious to the roadside birth.

"People were so focused on getting to work," says Paul Coffeen. "We had flashers on and all that. It could have been my transmission as far as anyone else was concerned."

The family of three drove on to the hospital. The whole birth event took only a couple of minutes.

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