HOLLAND, Mich. — A couple from Grand Haven got an unexpected delivery Friday morning while driving along U.S. 31 in Ottawa County: the birth of their son.
The incident happened around 11 a.m. while Kristian Balangero was driving his wife Dana to the hospital. Before they could arrive, her water broke forcing her to give birth to their son Bryce in their S.U.V. on the shoulder of U.S. 31 near Olive Township.
"I didn't even push, I was trying to hold him in honestly," Dana said.
"I just kept thinking to myself this happens to other people, and then I asked the paramedic when they got there how many times this happens and he said in his 25 years he's only seen one other person."
Kristian said by the time he had gotten out of the car to go assist his wife the baby had been delivered. He acted quickly, taking off his own shirt to keep the baby warm and tied the umbilical chord using one of his shoelaces, a trick he said he learned from watching old 'Rescue 911' episodes.
"You watch TV and you see all these shows and these situations happen and I just kind of pulled that up in my mind and just started at step 1 and worked my way through," he said. "Next thing you know there's a baby in my hands."
Jack Nederveldt was the emergency dispatcher on the other end of the line Friday morning. In his more than 25 years at the Ottawa County Dispatch Center said he couldn't believe how calm the couple remained throughout the entire ordeal.
"They handled everything perfectly," Nederveldt said. "Usually you have to talk them through everything but this gentleman knew exactly what he was doing."
Family members slowly trickled in and out of the room at Holland Community Hospital Friday night to visit, all saying they were just grateful this wild delivery ultimately made it home safe and sound.
"I've watched too many shows like E.R., it's just amazing, it really is," said Holly Russo, Dana's sister.
Dana remarked this experience was nothing compared to when she gave birth to her first child when she was in labor for more than 86 hours.
Bryce Alexander was born weighing 6 pounds, 5 ounces.