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Archive for Tuesday, November 5, 1996

NT WAIT FOR DAD TO FIND HOSPITAL

November 5, 1996

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— A newborn Lecompton girl took a wild ride into the world Monday morning.

Troy Clark was sure he would make it to the hospital before his wife, Victoria, gave birth to the couple's second child.

Then came the wrong turn. Then came the stalled motor. Then came Alexis Brittany Clark, born at 3:54 a.m. Monday in the back of the Clarks' rushing van.

"It was a pretty crazy morning," Troy Clark said Monday afternoon.

The Clarks' manic Monday began about 2:50 a.m., when Mrs. Clark told her husband she thought the baby was on the way.

The family hopped into their van, dropped off their 2-year-old son at a neighbor's house and set out for the Columbia Overland Park Regional Medical Center.

When they hit Lawrence, Mrs. Clark suggested to her husband that perhaps he ought to take her to Lawrence Memorial Hospital. But Clark pushed on, partly because Mrs. Clark was still able to resist the urge to push the baby and partly because the family's insurance carrier listed Overland Park as a preferred provider.

"We got pretty close, and I was driving probably 80, 85 mph," Clark said. "At one stretch I was going about 90. I don't think my van was meant to go that fast."

At the Interstate 435 exit on Kansas Highway 10, Clark took a wrong turn. When he tried to turn around, the van died.

He was able to restart the van, but only after getting out and pushing it for a few minutes -- which, as it turned out, the couple didn't have.

"I kept myself from pushing almost all the way there," Mrs. Clark said. "But when I started pushing, the baby just came right out. I only pushed for about 2 minutes."

Clark said the family was about 4 minutes from the hospital when Alexis was born.

"I was basically just a driver until then," Clark said. "But I got on our cellular phone and called *47 (an emergency number for the Kansas Highway Patrol). They kind of talked me through it."

Having stopped the van, Clark cleared his daughter's airway, tied off her umbilical cord with one of his shoelaces and wrapped her in a blanket.

Within a few minutes, an ambulance and fire truck were on the scene to transport Alexis and Mrs. Clark to the medical center. Authorities said Alexis suffered no ill effects from her unusual birth.

"They (the Clarks) did a wonderful job," said Mary Hart, a registered nurse and community education coordinator for the medical center. "They never panicked."

True, said Mrs. Clark.

"I figured it's happened before," she said. "And kids make it all the time just fine. We weren't that far from the hospital, anyway."

Besides, she said, the incident will give the family plenty to talk about on Alexis' birthdays.

"She probably won't believe us," Mrs. Clark said, laughing.

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