‘I’m going to have this baby right now’: An amazing birth story in an Urbana parking lot

Faith Sanders, born a month ago, is here because of what’s being called a miracle delivery that seemingly only occurred when all the right people appeared in the right places at the right time.

Urbana resident Heidi Tuttle and her mother had no time to get to Springfield because her contractions had become so intense they were nearly unbearable.

“We got in the car,” Heidi recalled recently. “I knew right off the bat we weren’t going to make it to Springfield. (Her mother) said, ‘All right. We’ll go to Urbana. You know at least there’s a doctor there. We know it’s a hospital.’”

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The problem: Mercy Health Urbana Hospital has no obstetrics department. And, for security reasons, the doors of the facility stay locked.

Grandma (Faith was on her way to being Tuttle’s third child) banged on the doors while Tuttle remained in the van, screaming. Her water had broken.

“I was in a lot of pain,” she recalled. “It was way worse than the other two (children).”

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Enter Tricia Blanken, a registered nurse who just happened to be delivering blood samples to the hospital that day. When she happened upon the situation, she said her intention was to help Tuttle inside the hospital.

Faith was having none of that.

“(Tuttle) went into the next contraction and said, ‘No, I’m going to have this baby right now,’ ” Blanken said.

She literally caught the baby seconds later and wrapped her in her own coat and a blanket from the van.

“I’ve been a nurse for 18 years. I’ve never delivered a baby by myself or in a van for that matter,” Blanken said. “I was able to catch her by the grace of God right in that moment, which was so exciting. So at that point, I’m screaming as well.”

Tuttle said she’ll be forever grateful to Blanken and the hospital.

“If it wasn’t for Tricia, I don’t know what we would have done. It’s still crazy to me that I gave birth in a vehicle,” she said. “It’s not something I imagined.”

Faith, her mother said, is perfect.

“She’s such a great baby,” Tuttle said. “She really doesn’t fuss.”

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