Sac City mother delivers baby during drive to St. Anthony Regional Hospital

Jodi and Jake consider themselves very lucky that the delivery went smoothly. “Honestly, he was my easiest one,” says Jodi.

Jake and Jodi Randalph with baby, Ellis

posted on 7/29/2022 in Features

Jake Randolph is calling his wife Jodi a superhero after she gave birth their son Ellis in the front seat of their car on the way to the Carroll hospital Monday, July 4.

The Sac City couple has roots in Storm Lake. Jake graduated in the Storm Lake High School class of 2006 and Jodi from St. Mary’s Class of 2012.

So they were spending The Fourth in Storm Lake with their sons, ages three and five, along. The family enjoyed the Big Parade. They stayed with Jake’s parents David and Trish Jaehrling.

Jodi, nine months pregnant, noticed a few contractions during the day, but didn’t feel the need to panic.

Her due date was July 11 and her OB-GYN in Carroll had set July 6 as the date to induce labor at St. Anthony Regional Hospital in Carroll.

But late in the afternoon the contractions came on faster.

Suddenly they were seven minutes apart! The Randolphs jumped in the car to rush home.

They dropped the kids off in Early with Jodi’s sister Jenny, then sped to Sac City.

Jodi took a quick shower. Now the contractions were coming two minutes apart. “I’m not gonna be able to make it!” she exclaimed. “You have to!” Jake replied.

They decided to drive to Carroll, 30 miles away. Loring Hospital in Sac City doesn’t handle deliveries and its ambulance was out on fire works-related assignments.

Jake hit the gas, reaching 90 mph. Meanwhile he was on the phone with the Carroll medical staff. They alerted the local com center, so that no one would try to stop the speeding car.

“I remember screaming for him to take off my shorts,” Jodi says, because she couldn’t do it herself. She rested her feet on the dash and reclined the seat.

After a monstrous contraction she asked Jake, “Is there anything out?” He looked over. “The nose and up,” – the top half of little Ellis’s head!

Jodi Randalph and EllisJodi Randolph and Ellis, not long after the birth. Photo by Jake Randolph.

Ten seconds later, another huge contraction – at 8:40 p.m. – and the baby was born. Jodi had hoped Jake could somehow put his hand “there,” but that proved difficult while driving.

Instead, “I grabbed him and put him on my chest,” she said. Luckily a hand towel was in the car, which Jodi wrapped around her bundle of joy.

Ellis cried right away, which was music to his parents’ ears. He was a big boy – 8 lb. 3 oz. and 19.5 inches tall.

He moved his head back and forth for the 15 minutes it took to get to the hospital.

Before Jodi got out of the car, medical staff cut the umbilical cord. She was hurried inside to deliver the placenta. 

“Our friends couldn’t believe it,” says Jodi, when they heard of the Randolphs’ experience. She felt well enough to go out Saturday, July 9 and the word had gotten around. “We heard you have a wild story!” Jodi and Jake were told.

“It’s a running joke,” she says, “that we saved a lot of money.” It’s true. The hospital bill was highly reduced.

Nor was the ruined car seat a financial setback. “One of the nurses said, ‘You should call your car insurance and ask if it’s covered.’”

Jodi did so, and the Randolphs’ insurance (State Farm) paid to have a new seat installed, plus the use of a loaner while the seat was being replaced.

Jodi and Jake consider themselves very lucky that the delivery went smoothly. “Honestly, he was my easiest one,” says Jodi.

But Jodi, a 7-9 school counselor at East Sac County School District, says it’s far more stressful looking back on the incident than it was actually birthing the baby in the car. She’s found herself worrying.

“Even though everything went well, I think about what could have happened,” she says. For that reason, she’s decided, “We’re done having kids.”

They’re more than occupied with their busy household though.

“Looking back, it was amazing how calm and collected we were,” says Jake. “I never would have thought we would be able to handle it, but we did and I’m so grateful everything turned out the way it did…My wife is a superhero.”

Republished by permission: Delores Cullen, Storm Lake Times Pilot, July 28, 2022


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