- Associated Press - Sunday, January 22, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A rural Bismarck couple en route to the hospital for the birth of their fifth daughter were interrupted when they totaled their vehicle in a crash on icy roads.

In less than 30 minutes, little Natalie Elaine Lockwood arrived unharmed Wednesday in an ambulance on State Street instead. Her parents and four siblings also avoided injury in the crash.

It was shortly after 7 p.m. on Jan. 11, when homemaker and home school teacher Jeana and Joe Lockwood, a supervisor at Cloverdale, piled their four daughters into the family Ford Expedition six miles north of Bismarck. The plan was to drive Joanna, 8; Naomi, 5; Esther, 3; and Julia 18 months to church where friend Lisa Schmidt was, but everything changed by the minute.

“Her water broke. You have a 25-minute window before the baby arrives. Two cars had gone down in the ditch,” said Joe Lockwood. “When I came over the last hill, there’s a truck sitting sideways, blocking the entire road. I was trying to slide into the ditch to avoid him. There was nothing I could do. I hit him in his front. I was worried about the air bag deploying on her side. I was concerned the air bag would harm the baby.”

The Expedition spun around 180 degrees, but didn’t roll. “I had to pry the door open on her side. She started having heavy contractions by then,” he said.

All were unharmed, but the vehicle was totaled and Joe Lockwood had to get his wife to the hospital or she risked giving birth in the wrecked car, The Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/2joI4AR ) reported.

“I was going crazy. You have to do what you have to do when this is going on,” said Jeana.

A nearby ambulance arrived within seven minutes and took Jeana to the hospital. She thinks Natalie was born somewhere near Interstate 94 when the ambulance pulled over on State Street. She doesn’t remember much. “They just took care of me. They said ‘oh boy, get the OB kit,” she said. “It just kind of happened. She just kind of came out.”

Natalie was born at 7:38 p.m., weighing in at 6 pounds, 10 ounces and 20 inches long.

“I was just praising God the kids were fine. The car was crunched badly,” Jeana said.

Joe managed to calm his young daughters down by telling them to pray and moved to keep them warm in his car and a neighbor’s car before the Schmidts drove them to the hospital. Schmidt said her plans changed every few minutes as she received messages about the baby’s arrival and the accident.

Joe wanted to accompany his wife in the ambulance, but knew he had to stay with his daughters. “I knew she was in good hands,” he said.

A worried Joe was expecting to assist with the delivery. “I show up at the hospital. A security guard brings me up near the delivery room. “It was ‘oh what’s that she’s holding?’” he said.

Big sister Joanna said, “She’s a pretty little baby,” vying for a turn to hold the newest family member.

“I’m just very thankful it wasn’t worse,” Jeana said. “It could have been bad. I’m just amazed we’re all fine. It’s awesome.”

___

Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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