Father delivers baby in truck on interstate

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Jimmy Murray, 1, shares a laugh with his mother, Heather Murray, at ParkView Regional Medical Center Tuesday while his newborn brother, Gregory Murray, catches a nap. Gregory was born Monday at 8:04 a.m. in the cab of a truck on I-20. Gregory’s father, Greg Murray, center, delivered the baby. (The Vicksburg Post/C. TODD SHERMAN)

[06/27/01] The cab of a Ford pickup doesn’t exactly look like a delivery room, but Monday morning one served the purpose.

Heather Murray, 26, gave birth to 8-pound, 3-ounce Gregory Lucas Murray Monday at 8:04 a.m. in an F-150 parked on the shoulder of Interstate 20 between the West and East Clay Street exits.

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They were just a few minutes from ParkView Regional Medical Center, but Gregory Lucas wouldn’t wait.

Instead of having a trained medical staff delivering the baby, Gregory had his father, Greg Murray, 25, as his primary physician and 911 dispatcher Jerry Samuels reading from a manual.

“He did an excellent job,” Samuels said of Murray. “He was excited but he just listened and did what he needed to do.”

The couple has lived in Warren County only about eight months and Heather found out she was pregnant shortly after their arrival. Both are from Nebraska but are living in Bovina as Greg Murray works on the new River Region hospital for Murray Dry Wall of Omaha.

On Sunday night, Heather Murray went to ParkView with contractions but decided to return home because they didn’t think it was quite time. However, by 6:30 a.m. Monday, she knew she was ready to return, but Heather Murray said, early into their 10-mile drive she knew they weren’t going to make it.

“I was in terrible pain and I was afraid it was going to get worse,” she said. Mrs. Murray said she worried early in the trip that they wouldn’t get to the hospital in time for anesthesia. Turns out that wasn’t an issue.

“She did good though,” Greg Murray said. “She’s pretty tough.”

Murray said he just got a cell phone a couple of weeks before because of the pregnancy, but didn’t expect to have to press it to his ear for guidance on how to deliver his new son. After his wife told him the baby was coming, Murray pulled over to the shoulder of I-20 and called 911.

“I’d never guess I’d be able to do something like that,” Murray said. When he had the baby in his hands, he swiped the mouth and tied off the umbilical cord with one of his shoelaces.

“It went real smooth,” Heather Murray said. “He did great.”

Murray said he was thankful to Samuels. “The 911 operator coached me through it,” Murray said. “I didn’t know what to think. I was just doing what he told me to.”

Samuels said advising on the delivery of a baby was a new experience for him as well.

“That’s the first time I ever had to do that,” he said. He said 911 dispatchers have medical cards at their disposal to deal with emergency situations and he referred to a card to advise Murray.

Samuels said it was a team effort with everyone working together. Family and friends of the Murrays have been good-spirited about the event, giving Greg Murray a toy doctor’s kit and a wreath that reads “Welcome Baby I-20.”

Mother and son were expected to leave the hospital Wednesday.

The Murrays have been married for five years and have another son, 1-year-old Jimmy, who was at home with Murray’s brother and sister-in-law at the time of his brother’s birth. They said the experience on I-20 in their F-150 was definitely a bonding one for the family.

“It definitely brought us closer together,” Heather said. Murray said it also brought them closer to their pickup truck.

Although Murray said the experience was a frightening one and one he doesn’t plan to do again, there was one other advantage to delivering Gregory himself.

“If I saved $2,000, then it was worth it,” Murray said.