WESTON (WAOW) -- Rebecca Herrick has given birth before, but she did it in a hospital -- like most mothers would probably prefer. This time around, she found herself in the passenger seat of a minivan, far away from the delivery room.
Elijah James sleeps peacefully in his father's arms. But when he first came into the world, his dad's hands were on a steering wheel.
"I just kept going," said Shawn Lewer. "I knew I had to get her here so that's what I did."
Herrick and Lewer were excited about the delivery, which they thought would come Saturday evening. When Herrick's contractions got stronger, the Mosinee couple headed toward St. Clare's Hospital in Weston. But their timing was off. Doctors told them they needed to wait a bit longer before they could deliver their little bundle of joy.
"They said we should go home," said Herrick. "So we did."
"People that we have to send home, they get disappointed," said Annette Scott-Chadwell, the interim director for St. Clare's birth center. "They think they're having contractions but they're not causing their cervix to change."
A few hours later, Herrick got that feeling again. And they started the drive back to town.
"We couldn't go past 30 miles per hour because it was so foggy," said Lewer.
"The contractions were getting stronger but it wasn't anything -- it didn't cross my mind that we wouldn't get to the hospital in time," said Herrick.
"There were times when she was screaming uncontrollably and when we hit about Cedar Creek is when it really got intense," said Lewer.
"I think [he] told me not to push once," said Herrick. "And I said I couldn't help it."
Right around Rothschild, Herrick realized her baby didn't plan on waiting until they got back to the hospital. So with dad still driving, baby Elijah was born.
"He was born at that point in the passenger seat of the van," said Lewer. "The front passenger seat. She was kind of not sure what to do, so I told her to put him upside down and pat him on his back to make sure that he's breathing."
Lewer kept driving the whole time until finally, they arrived at the hospital.
"We were just glad to get there at that point," said Lewer.
"They cut the cord in the van and took him one way and took me the other way," said Herrick. "They did a great job. And now we're both okay so that's the good part."
Elijah weighed eight pounds and two ounces and was born a little after midnight on Sunday morning.
"He's perfect," said Herrick. "He is."
"Next time we're staying at the hospital," said Lewer. "I don't care what they say."
Nurses at St. Clare's said they deliver about 700 babies a year, but most of them are born inside the hospital.
Herrick and Elijah are both doing well. They went home from the hospital on Tuesday afternoon.