Father delivers baby girl born along Highway 6 in West Liberty

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WEST LIBERTY, Iowa (KWWL) — The West Liberty Police Department responded to a call for a woman giving birth along Highway 6, Friday morning around 6:30 am.

Police Officer, John Houser was the first to arrive on the scene and captured the moment with his body camera.

The West Liberty Police Department posted the video below to their Facebook page.

They say, mom and dad, Ali and Jay Shellabarger and baby Iris are all doing well.


UPDATE: The Muscatine couple were on their way to Mercy Iowa City along Highway 6 when Ali felt the baby coming.

“My wife was clearly in a lot of pain but I mean that was kind of to be expected, I guess, so I wasn’t really freaking out. Then we got through West Liberty and she said no, this is going to happen right now. So I pulled over,” said dad, Jay Shellabarger, as he described the scenario over the phone.

It was a roadside birth caught on body camera as West Liberty Police Officer Houser arrived on the scene just in time to here Baby Iris’ first gasp of air. Houser approached to find dad, Jay visibly in awe, as he just freed his new daughter from her umbilical cord, that was wrapped around her neck.

“Dispatch had instructed me to tie the umbilical cord off with a string, so I used a shoe string from my golf shoes and just when he walked up in the video is when I tied it off with a string,” said Jay Shellabarger.

He described their feeling of relief as Iris began crying, signaling that she had made it into the world safely.

“Her shoulder came out and I was able to get her out and untangle her from her umbilical cord and she started crying, I started crying and my wife started crying,” said Jay Shellabarger.

A birth story her parents won’t soon forget. It was also a first for Officer Houser and First Responder Katrina Rogers, who said everything went smoothly, giving credit to the 911 operator.

Rogers heard the call for service ring through, as she was about to head out on her way to work.

“When I got on scene the dad was ready to go, he already had been on the phone with dispatch. Dispatch told him to clap the cord, he did great. Dad was there and supportive. Dispatch did great kind of walking the dad through it,” said Rogers, who is a volunteer at West Liberty Fire and Ambulance Service.

The happy, healthy family is now safely resting at Mercy Iowa City, after an exhausting morning.

Shellabarger said they hope to be joined by now big sister Violet and family from their home town of Muscatine.

Ashley Neighbor

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids
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