Born on the interstate

It’s not every day a baby is born on the Interstate 35 southbound on-ramp at North Branch.

But that’s exactly what happened on Halloween morning when two Lakes Region EMS personnel helped deliver a baby girl in the back of their ambulance.

Paramedic Kirk Winkelman and emergency medical technician Nicole Lundeen, along with North Branch Police officer Becky Lawrence, reunited with the family in surprise fashion Nov. 14 at the Lakes Region base in North Branch.

“It was a good delivery with no complications,” mother Sara Turner, of Braham, said at the surprise gathering she and family planned for the crew. “We’re very blessed, and there were no complications on either end.”

Joining Turner at the gathering were her fiance, Dale Smith, his son Jake and of course little Kallie Rose Smith, who weighed 8 pounds 1 ounce at delivery. Turner’s first child, Kade Smith, is 19 months old.

It was a special evening for the crew, too, whose actions spoke louder than words as they smiled and took turns holding the life they helped bring into the world. For Lundeen, who has a year under her belt with Lakes Region, and for Winkelman, with 23 years, the baby delivery marked a first for them while on the clock and the second time in company history.

“We’re trained for a wide gamut of situations,” noted Ken Larson, quality coordinator for Lakes Region EMS, prior to the surprise event last week.

Lawrence, who also had a role in ensuring a safe delivery, was recognized by the family, as well.

At approximately 4:24 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, the emergency crew was called to a woman in labor who was en route to Fairview Lakes Medical Center from her home in Braham. With her fiance driving, Turner was about to have her second child and knew their Buick LeSabre was not going to make it to the hospital in Wyoming in time.

Thanks to a 911 call and coordinated efforts, Lakes Region EMS and the North Branch Police Department responded and met the couple at 4:31 a.m. on the I-35 southbound ramp at Highway 95 in North Branch. There, Lawrence switched vehicles and got behind the wheel of the ambulance, while Winkelman and Lundeen helped Turner in the back.

Kallie Rose was born a few contractions and pushes later at 4:40 a.m. while the ambulance was stopped and ready to go at the bottom of the interstate’s on-ramp. At 4:51 a.m., Lawrence began to drive, completing the trip to Fairview Lakes.

“Nicole was so supportive in the ambulance; she was a great coach,” recalled Turner, who voiced appreciation for everyone involved. “I didn’t think I could do it without meds, so that was good. We couldn’t have timed it any better.”

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