A man got an emergency do-it-yourself lesson Monday when he helped his wife give birth to their son on the shoulder of the San Diego Freeway while a 911 operator calmly talked them through it.
"I had a cell phone stuck to my shoulder," Michael Jorgensen, 43, said after delivering 6-pound, 11-ounce Zachary in the front seat of their Ford truck as a California Highway Patrol officer looked on.
Four hours later, the baby and the mother, Antoinette, were resting comfortably at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and recounting their adventure.
The couple were on the way from their Lakewood home to the hospital at 2:45 p.m. when the mother realized they weren't going to make it. "I was hoping it would be quick," she quipped later, "and that's what I got."
Said her husband: "I was trying to hold out to the very last moment, but the second time she told me that she had to push, I decided it was time to pull over."
He parked off the southbound San Diego Freeway near the San Gabriel River Freeway in Los Alamitos. There, straining to hear over the sound of whizzing traffic, Jorgensen followed the step-by-step instructions of the 911 dispatcher for about three minutes until the baby was born. Paramedics from the Orange County Fire Authority arrived just after the birth.
Authorities did not release the dispatcher's name. In a recording of the 911 call, which they did release, the male dispatcher can be heard calmly telling the father what to do as the earsplitting screams of the mother are heard in the background.
"Do you see anything yet?" the dispatcher asks.
"Here it comes," says Jorgensen, also calm. "I see the head. Hold on, honey, I got him. He's out. He's all the way out!"
The parents, who also have a 6-year-old son, agreed that Zachary will be their last child. "This is a nice way to end it," Michael Jorgensen said.