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Raleigh Couple Turns Minivan Into Mobile Delivery Room

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RALEIGH — In a world full of technological and medical advances, life still does not always go as planned -- just ask a Raleigh family about their big surprise.

Monica and Ezekiel Brooks planned to have their second daughter at Raleigh'sWakeMed, but the baby could not wait.

Bethany Cianna Brooks was born Monday at 10:13 a.m. in Raleigh -- in the front seat of a Mercury Villager minivan on a Capital Boulevard service road.

"It was the most incredible experience I've ever had," Monica said.

On the way to the hospital, Monica's contractions quickened. Suddenly, nine months turned to minutes -- then seconds.

The Brooks say instead of a doctor, Bethany's healthy birth was guided by God.

With a laugh, Monica said, "I prayed for an easy delivery, and said, 'My God, you answered my prayers' -- even though I didn't want to have her in the van."

Raleigh 911 dispatcher Tom Meehan took Ezekiel's emergency call. He says it was a call he will not soon forget.

"It was a connection there. It was a great feeling to be part of bringing life into the world," Meehan said.

Despite bad directions from Ezekiel, Meehan, a father himself, directed the paramedics to the van. He even told Ezekiel to use his own shoelace to tie off the umbilical cord. Ezekiel says he may get his shoes bronzed along with the baby's.

The proud father jokingly calls himself a "mid-husband," but he knows he experienced the miracle of life in a way few fathers can.

"I was the first one to touch her and lay hands on her when she came into the world. I pray and hope and believe she'll always remember that her father is always here for her," Ezekiel said.

If not impatient, baby Bethany is at least punctual -- Monday was her due date. Also, the family's doctor was following the couple to the hospital, but they got separated in traffic.

The Brooks say they may keep the minivan as a family heirloom.