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Wisconsin couple’s baby born on I-94 in Twin Cities came ‘scary’ fast

Ariel Olive Marie Bieniek-Phelps was born in the passenger seat of her parents’ 2020 Ford Explorer on the shoulder of an Interstate 94 off-ramp around 11:40 p.m. Sunday.

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Ariel Olive Marie Bieniek-Phelps was born in the passenger seat of her parents’ Ford Explorer at Interstate 94 in Woodbury, Minnesota, late Sunday night, March 20, 2022. She weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces.
Courtesy of Baily and Timothy Bieniek-Phillips via St. Paul Pioneer Press
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ST. PAUL -- Baily Bieniek-Phelps has a history of fast labor, so she was extra prepared for the birth of her fifth child.

The New Richmond, Wis., woman scheduled a St. Paul induction for Friday, one week ahead of her April 1 due date. Her daughter, Ariel Olive Marie Bieniek-Phelps, had other plans.

When Baily’s water broke while lying in bed around 10:50 p.m. Sunday, she and her husband woke their eldest child, called Grandma and began racing to the Mother Baby Center at United Hospital and Children’s Minnesota.

Dad topped speeds of 80 mph on the interstate. “We figured we had a good excuse if we got pulled over,” Baily said in an interview Monday.

They got as far as the Radio Drive off-ramp on Interstate 94.

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“When we got to Woodbury, I said, ‘Babe, you need to pull over. She’s coming out,’” Baily said. “He was, like, ‘Are you serious?’”

Ariel was born in the passenger seat of her parents’ 2020 Ford Explorer on the shoulder of the Radio Drive off-ramp around 11:40 p.m. Sunday.

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Baily Bieniek-Phelps with her daughter, Ariel Olive Marie, and husband, Timothy.
Courtesy / Baily and Timothy Bieniek-Phillips via St. Paul Pioneer Press

After stopping the car, Timothy Bieniek-Phelps jumped out and ran around to open the passenger door. As he removed his wife’s pants, he saw that Ariel’s head already was out.

“He was such a champ about it,” Baily Bieniek-Phelps said. “Thank God, he paid attention to the other four kids when they were being born. He just looked at me and said, ‘Babe, take a big breath and push,’ and I pushed once and she was out.”

Timothy Bieniek-Phelps used a shoelace from one of his Chuck Taylors to tie her umbilical cord, she said.

Woodbury Ambulance medics arrived 10 minutes after the birth, loaded the mother and child into the back of the ambulance and let Timothy Bieniek-Phelps cut the cord, she said.

Ariel, who weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces, has blue eyes and dark-blonde hair. She was sleeping peacefully at the hospital on Monday, her mom reports.

The couple have four other children: Remington, 10; Wesson, 6; December, 5; and Benjamin, 2.

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Bieniek-Phelps, 33, said she labored for about 19 hours with Remington but the others took two hours or less.

“Our daughter, December, took about an hour and a half,” she said, “so we arranged for Benjamin to be induced. From water break to birth, it was 1 hour, 20 minutes.”

Ariel beat her brother’s record Sunday night with a 40-minute labor.

“They talk about these long, scary labors, but nobody says how scary a quick labor can be,” said Baily Bieniek-Phelps, who works for Andersen Corp. in Bayport.

There was no time to take a painkiller – not even an aspirin or ibuprofen, she said.

“The only one I had an epidural with was my firstborn,” she said. “I planned to do a natural birth anyway — just not, like, out-in-the-nature kind of natural birth.”

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