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Mom gives account on Tri-State tollway delivery
By Ashley Badgley and Vincent Pierri | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/29/2009 12:04 AM | Updated: 9/29/2009 4:10 PM

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Five minutes is all it took for Ashley Guzman to give birth in the back seat of her mother's Ford Explorer after telling her boyfriend the baby wasn't waiting.

Guzman, 20, and her boyfriend, Daniel Harris, both of Hanover Park, were shopping at Gurnee Mills on Sunday when Guzman started having contractions.

Leaving the mall, Guzman's mother, Charmane Barnes, hopped on the Tri-State Tollway, hoping to make it to St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, where Guzman was to deliver the baby.

They made it as far as the tollway's Milwaukee Avenue exit when they stopped and called paramedics.

"My mom was saying, 'Don't push, don't push,'" Guzman said Monday. "I was saying, 'I need to push.'"

Gurnee Fire Department Lt. John Skillman said the Hoffman Estates couple called 911 at 6:16 p.m. and rescue crews arrived at 6:22 p.m.

Paramedics arrived to find 4-pound Jayda Harris had been delivered about four minutes earlier with the help of a dispatcher providing instructions. Harris had used a shoelace to tie the umbilical cord, Skillman said.

Paramedics cut the cord, treated mom and baby and took them to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

Harris said he had couldn't have imagined he would deliver his daughter. The couple also have a 4-year-old daughter named Jordyn.

"I was nervous and didn't know what to expect," Harris said. "Ashley was screaming. Then I felt the head and said, 'Oh, my God.'"

The family was greeted with cheers by staff at Advocate Condell.

"All of them were clapping, I didn't know what to think," said Guzman, who added that she and the baby are doing just fine now.

Harris said he's grateful both are healthy. "The baby is beautiful," he said.