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Principal delivers baby on highway

By Astha Agarwal
Published: September 2010

Every child is special, but Alora Grace Nardelli decided to give her parents a real surprise. At about 2 AM on September 8, the wife of Horace Mann Elementary Principal Mark Nardelli gave birth to their daughter on the side of highway Route-128 North. Nardelli delivered his wife’s baby alone in the car, waiting for the paramedics to arrive.
“I thought we were going to make it [to the hospital], Nardelli said. But after they had been driving for ten minutes, it was clear that the baby was not going to wait.
“My wife woke me up at around 1 AM, [when] her contractions were about seven minutes apart, and said, ‘ËœWe gotta go,’ he explained. Nardelli called the neighbors and asked them to look after his two daughters, then packed the car and left for the hospital with his wife. But soon, his wife’s contractions were about two minutes apart.
Nardelli immediately called 911, and was told by the operator to pull over. His wife urged him to keep going, and so they drove on, in the hopes that they might make it in time to the hospital.  Not long after, however, the baby could wait no longer, and they were forced to pull over.
“[When] my wife said the baby was coming, Nardelli said, instead of being nervous, “I just switched into problem-solving mode, thinking, ‘ËœOkay, what can we do now?’ He went to the back of the minivan, got out the blanket, helped his wife get ready, and called 911 again to let them know that the baby was coming.
In the end, all went well. “There were no complications, Nardelli said. “If there had been complications, I don’t know if I would have been able to handle it¦ it was a pretty powerful experience.
All the attention he received, Nardelli said, “is strange, and I don’t think I really deserve it. Lots of people were supportive, and filled in for me. I’m thankful that I have really supportive people I work with, and a nice school community.
Nardelli was able to make it to the first day of school, but missed the second. On his day back, he received a lot of attention from his students. “They were really funny and asked a lot of questions, he said. “They said, ‘ËœI saw you on the news, I saw the baby in the car!’ They asked her name, and they were really excited.
Now, according to Nardelli, Alora and her mother are both doing well. He continues to maintain a humble attitude about his composure during the stressful moment. “My wife did all the hard work, he said. “She was the one who went through nine months of pregnancy, and the painful moments of birth. I didn’t do anything magical. I was just lucky to be there.

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