WGN photographer Steve Segers and his girlfriend give a first-hand account of how their daughter was delivered on the Dan Ryan expressway Wednesday morning.

It seems some Chicago-area babies are in a hurry to enter the world, with two being born this week while their mothers were en route to hospitals.

The welcome surprises arrived for a South Side couple as they were on the Dan Ryan Expressway early Wednesday and for a Harvey family that was two blocks from a hospital Tuesday.

Steve Segers, 44, helped deliver his daughter, Kylie Ann, on a shoulder of the Dan Ryan as he and his girlfriend were driving from their home to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Kylie’s mom, Leighann Coleman, 34, had awakened Segers around 1 a.m. because she was having contractions, Segers said. But by the time the couple packed their car and headed downtown, the baby was on her way.

“The head is out!” Segers recalled Coleman telling him.

Segers called 911 and an operator directed him to pull over. There, on the shoulder of the Dan Ryan near 31st Street, his daughter was born around 1:45 a.m., Segers said. He wrapped her in a blanket and handed her to Coleman to hold close to her chest, as directed by a 911 operator who helped him along the way, Segers said.

“It did not seem real,” Segers said. “I couldn’t believe it was happening.”

Segers said he and Coleman were “terrified” about the baby’s health as they waited for an ambulance to arrive but felt some relief after they heard her cough and take a deep breath.

“That ambulance could not have gotten there any faster,” Segers said.

Segers has children from a previous marriage, but Kylie Ann, who weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces, is his and Coleman’s first child together. Both mom and daughter were doing well Wednesday, he said, resting and greeting family at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, where they were taken after the birth.

Segers, a WGN-TV news photographer for 11 years, chuckled when considering details of his morning making the news.

“It is so bizarre,” he said. “If you work this job long enough I guess you will be the news one day.”

Earlier this week, Terrie Basley was only about two blocks away from a hospital in Southwest suburban Harvey when she delivered her grandson in the back seat of her Buick.

Basley’s daughter, Sheree Jackson, 21, began having contractions Tuesday morning at their Lansing, Ill., home. They accelerated so quickly that the family, along with Jackson’s 17-year-old brother, couldn’t make it to the hospital about 20 minutes away before baby Alexander arrived at about 1:40 p.m.

“Oh Mommy, he’s coming, he’s coming,” Jackson told Basley before Basely turned to look in the back seat, where her daughter held the baby’s head in her hands, Basley recalled.

Basley pulled over at an intersection, and “helped him out the rest of the way,” she said. The mother of two who works in customer service said she remained calm because she had a “sense” the boy would arrive early.

The baby was breathing and began to whimper, and Basley wrapped him in the bathrobe they’d packed for Jackson to wear, secured him in Jackson’s arms before driving to the hospital.

“Everyone just came running out, doctors, nurses,” Basley said.

For first-time mom Jackson, the experience was “exciting” and unforgettable, she said. While the contractions were painful, Jackson, who also works in customer service, said the natural delivery was bearable.

“It wasn’t that bad,” Jackson said. “He just came right on out, like ‘I’m here.’ ”

Jackson and her son could be released from Ingalls Memorial Hospital as soon as Thursday, Basley said.

Basley said she looks forward to sharing the story one day with Alexander, who was 7 pounds, 5 ounces.

“In retrospect, it’s like, wow,” Basley said. “That really was cool.”

 

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