A baby boy was in a rush to enter the world during the morning rush hour Monday.
Around 7 a.m., Stephanie Stonis went into labor and birthed her son inside a vehicle along a stretch of Interstate 64 in Chesapeake.
Stonis told 8News sister station WAVY-TV 10 she started to feel contractions just before 6 a.m., so she got her daughters ready for school and told her husband, Mark, it was time to get to the hospital.
The couple had been through this twice before. For their first daughter, Victoria, Stephanie was in labor for a while, but when their second daughter came, she was two weeks early. The family barely made it to the hospital in time for Kaleigh’s birth.
“So, I had that thought running through my head, too. So, I kind of thought this could happen fast, so let’s get in the car and be ready and get there,” Mark Stonis said.
The couple started the 30 minute drive from their Virginia Beach home to Sentara Obici Hospital in Suffolk, where Stephanie was supposed to deliver. When they got in the car, Stonis said she wasn’t sure they had enough time to get to the hospital — and she didn’t.
“When we were on the High Rise Bridge my water broke and I felt the need to push,” Stephanie said. “I was telling my husband that he needed to pull over because I needed to push,.”
They were just past the bridge on I-64 East when Mark had to pull their vehicle over. VDOT officials told WAVY.com there was a call for a medical condition just before 7 a.m., between the High Rise Bridge and George Washington Highway.
“I really did not want to pull over. I did not want her to have that baby on the road in the car, on the side of the road,” Mark Stonis told WAVY.com. “I wanted to be in the comfort of a hospital, the professionals dealing with what they do best.”
“I was in denial, this just can’t happen like this,” Mark Stonis said. “I had my hand over her, almost like trying to hold the baby in as she was pushing, but nature has its way, and I couldn’t stop it.”Mark Stonis was on the phone with emergency dispatchers when he delivered his son. He even had to use his shoe lace to tie off the umbilical cord.
Paul Mark Anthony Stonis was born on the side of the road, before first responders got to the scene, Chesapeake Fire Captain Scott Saunders said.
The story is just one of several Mark plans to tell his son when he gets older.
“When I was born, I was in the newspapers as well because I was the first one in this particular hospital up in Maine,” Mark said. “So, I was in the newspaper and he’s now going to be in the newspaper, so that’s pretty exciting, like father, like son.”