A Christmas miracle: That’s what Taylor and Hannah Lindeman are calling their newborn baby. Poppy Marjorie Noelle decided to come early and was born a perfectly healthy baby on Christmas morning along Highway 8 just south of Chisago City, near Wyoming, in their car.
“I’m feeling a little bit tired, and probably still in shock, still,” said Hannah, who was 36 weeks pregnant and had not anticipated on a December baby. “It was really fast.”
The Lindemans had traveled from the Rochester area to spend Christmas with Taylor’s family in Shafer and had even discussed the possibility of a birth during their travels with their doctor.
“I had a discussion with the doctor down there, and we were both pretty confident it wasn’t going to happen,” Hannah said. “So I was totally fine coming up for the holiday.”
After celebrating with extended family on Christmas Eve, Hannah had been up during the night with some contractions. Still, she didn’t expect to have a Christmas baby.
“I called my mom at 6 a.m. and we joked about having a Christmas baby,” she said. “I was joking about it, so obviously my contractions weren’t painful.”
Alison Lindeman, Taylor’s mother, awoke early on Christmas morning to find the lights in the living room and the Christmas lights were on. Alison is a teacher at Columbus Elementary School, and her husband Jeff is an agri-science teacher at Chisago Lakes High School.
“The grandchildren weren’t awake, so I thought that’s funny that they’re up,” Alison said. “So we got up and Hannah said, ‘I’ve been having contractions at night, so I think we need to wake the girls and open the gifts.’”
Still, Hannah wasn’t expecting to have to go into the hospital.
“I didn’t realize I was in true labor until probably like 20 minutes before I left,” Hannah said.
While they were opening their Christmas gifts, Alison was keeping a watchful eye on her daughter-in-law.
“She was timing her contractions on her phone. You could tell when she was needing to stop. And she was just breathing and you could tell she was in pain, but you know, it was their third child. I figured she knew what she could do and not do,” Alison said. But when she noticed Hannah starting to cry during a contraction, that was the final push to get her son and daughter-in-law on the road to the hospital.
“I said ‘That’s it, you guys are stopping. You are getting packed and you are going to the hospital.’”
So Hannah and Taylor packed up their bags, including their hospital bag, which Hannah had brought to show off to her family.
“I had just bought it and wanted to show it to my sisters, and I thought we’d be getting some presents we’d want to throw in there,” she joked.
Taylor’s family helped them get packed and out the door, but one last-minute grab turned out to be one of the most important.
“As they were going to leave I said: ‘Wait! You have to have a blanket,’” Alison said.
So she ran back into the house and grabbed an old tie-blanket that Taylor and Hannah’s other two daughters were using and rushed it out to the van. That blanket would end up being the cloth used to wrap up the baby after she was born.
“Then I said to my son, ‘If anything happens, dial 911, that’s what they’re there for,’” she said.
That reminder turned to be some important advice, because just down the road Hannah realized they weren’t going to make it. So her husband dialed up 911, getting dispatcher Jake Prager at Allina Health Emergency Medical Services, who, within his first year on the job, had already helped deliver three babies over the phone, making Poppy his fourth. When Hannah’s water broke while Taylor was driving, he instructed Taylor to pull over. Taylor got out of the car to assist his wife with the birth, which Prager talked them through.
“He really kept us calm,” Hannah said.
At 9:20 a.m., less than three minutes after Hannah’s water broke, Poppy made her entrance into world on the cold Minnesota Christmas Day. She was born healthy, weighing 6 pounds 8 ounces and 20 1/2 inches long, the biggest and earliest of the Lindemans’ children.
“I could feel it was cold,” Hannah said, refering to the -20 windchill outside. “But I wasn’t that worried about the cold until she came and I wanted to get her warm. I was more worried about other things: Is she going to be OK? Is she going to be breathing?”
Officer Brian Carlson of the Lakes Area Police Department arrived on the scene just a couple minutes later and as Prager instructed, Carlson cut a shoestring off of Hannah’s boot to tie off the umbilical cord. The ambulance arrived shortly after, and after checking mom and baby out to make sure both were healthy, they took them to United Hospital in St. Paul, with Taylor following in their vehicle. That’s when Taylor made the call to his parents and Hannah’s parents, telling them the news. Taylor’s parents brought their other two daughters to the hospital, and Hannah’s parents drove from Hastings to greet the newest member of the family.
“We were ecstatic, shocked, surprised and amazed. We’re just totally blessed to have a new grandchild safely a part of our family,” said Alison, who also said Hannah and Taylor’s oldest two daughters were very excited to meet Poppy. “They’re very excited and very happy. They just loved having Poppy arriving.”
For Hannah and Taylor, this Christmas gift is truly special. They had suffered a miscarriage after their second child, so to have Poppy born healthy given the conditions was especially meaningful.
“I’m really thankful to have a third baby. I’m really happy she’s healthy and we’re just really excited,” Hannah said. “It’s a little more meaningful that she came out perfectly healthy. We’re grateful everything worked out.”