EVANSTON — Evanston Fire Captain Daniel Lynch never had occasion to use his paramedic training in childbirth until early Friday when he delivered his own daughter, Mary Margaret, near the Touhy Avenue ramp of the Edens Expressway.
When it became clear the baby wouldn’t wait until they arrived at NorthShore Evanston Hospital, Lynch pulled over after entering the northbound Edens at Touhy and delivered his 8-pound, 7-ounce daughter at 4:47 a.m..
Daniel Lynch and his wife, Beth, both 32, now have five children six years of age and younger, all of whom were on hand midday Friday for a media briefing along with grandparents Tom and Mary Lynch and Joy Moran.
Newborn Mary Margaret joined a clan that includes Madeleine, 6; Tommy, 5; Hank, 3 1/2; and Charlie, who will turn 2 in October.
The fast pace of Mary Margaret’s arrival took the couple by surprise. Beth Lynch said she was two days overdue and figured she would be delivering any day. She started to have some contractions at midnight.
“They were pretty strong, pretty intense for about an hour and a half but then they just totally stopped, and I had nothing. I felt fine,” she recalled. “Then they just came back with a vengeance.”
She woke up her husband at about 4 a.m. when she had three huge contractions. Her mother-in-law already had come over to watch the other children.
“When I was about to get into the car, I said, ‘I don’t know if we are going to make this,’” she told reporters. “He said, ‘Don’t push.’ I am lucky my husband is a fireman. I felt very safe in his hands.”
Daniel Lynch said he called 911 as he pulled over to the side of the expressway. He then walked around to the passenger’s side of the car and opened the door to bring in some light.
“He is very, very calm in a crisis, and he calmed me down a little bit,” Beth Lynch said, noting the delivery was over in about two minutes.
Lincolnwood Police Chief Bob LaMantia said police and fire officials responded to Lynch’s 911 call at about 4:47 a.m. Friday. The baby already had been delivered by the time emergency workers arrived, he said.
Two police officers parked their vehicles behind the Lynch family to shield their vehicle from traffic, LaMantia said.
Lynch declined emergency assistance, signed a police release form and continued on to the hospital.
The mother-of-five expressed some sadness that her “amazing midwife” at NorthShore Evanston Hospital didn’t have a chance to deliver her fifth child. “But we got a good story out of it,” she said. “I’ve always made it to the hospital in plenty of time.”
Emmet Hirsch, director of obstetrics at NorthShore Evanston Hospital, said, “It’s a great story with a happy ending. I’m sure his training helped him. It is not something I would advise people to attempt to do. It’s better for people to actually make it to the hospital. It’s not something you can do expertly unless you’ve had training, although nature does a pretty good job taking care of things.”
Hirsch added, “It makes it easier when it’s the fifth child. It would be different if it were the first child.”
Freelance reporter Natalie Hayes contributed to the story.