Valley mother gives birth in minivan

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

MESA, Ariz. -- A Valley mother was on her way to the hospital Wednesday morning when her husband pulled over their minivan and delivered their baby in the passenger seat.

Ariana Critzer, exactly 38 weeks pregnant, started having contractions around 11 p.m. Tuesday and went to Banner Desert Medical Center with her husband, Ryan. But when nothing happened, the doctor sent them home.

They picked up their 6-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter and returned home. About 45 minutes later, Ariana knew her daughter was coming, and the whole family rushed back to the hospital.

"A little bit more than halfway there, I knew we weren't going to make it," Ariana said. "So I started screaming at him to pull over and telling him she's going to come now."

Ryan pulled the Dodge Caravan over on Country Club Drive near Fifth Place.

"I jumped out of the driver's seat and ran around to the passenger's side and didn't close my door, didn't turn off the vehicle," he said.

He was about to call 911 when he realized he was going to have to deliver his daughter himself.

"I was freaking out," Ariana said. "I mean, it's your worst nightmare ever not making it to the hospital on time."

But having taken an EMT class in 2008, Ryan was able to stay calm and coach his wife through the delivery.

"During the OB chapter of the class I was like, I could do this if it came down to it. In an emergency situation, I could give birth to a child, not knowing I'd ever get the chance to," he said.

Ariana had decided beforehand that she wasn't going to have an epidural. "And I got my wish in a way I did not expect," she said.

Ryan called 911 after delivering the baby and an ambulance arrived within minutes. Mesa Fire and Medical Department personnel cut the umbilical cord and took Ariana and her daughter to the hospital.

The Critzers aren't sure exactly what time Roxy was born but said she was 6 pounds, 5 ounces. She was named after Ariana's sister, whose middle name is Roxanne.

Thankful there were no complications, Ariana said she and Roxy are doing well.