Melissa Jones almost made it.
The South suburban mom was heading to the hospital to give birth. She got as far as the hospital's driveway, but her daughter just wasn't going to wait any longer to come into the world. While nurses rushed out and her children looked on, Jones delivered her baby in the family's minivan Thursday -- just feet from the front door of Northwestern's Prentice Women's Hospital in downtown Chicago.
A doctor leaving work assisted with the front-seat delivery, calling out for gloves and blankets.
"All I could do was hold onto the dashboard and the side of the car" and push, said 30-year-old Jones of Calumet City.
Earlier that evening, Jones was at work as a restaurant cashier at a downtown Chicago hotel when she started having contractions. She called her fiance, Marcus Ross, and asked him to come get her, then made sure one more customer got his order, a milkshake.
Meanwhile, Ross put the four children in the couple's minivan and headed into the city. The plan was to head to the suburban hospital where they'd planned to deliver. His mother would meet them there and they'd hand off the children to her.
But it was soon clear the baby wasn't going to wait long enough to get to the suburbs. With contractions getting stronger and closer, they drove to the Northwestern Memorial Hospital campus and searched for the correct entrance.
"We passed it two or three times," Jones said. In the driveway at last, her water broke. "It pops like a balloon, I kid you not. I felt her slip down the birth canal."
Jones expects that her daughter -- 6-pound-8-ounce Mariah Faith Ross -- will be an unstoppable child because of the way she came into the world.
"She's going to give me a run for the money," Jones said. "She made a grand entrance."
The other children, Jones said, now know for sure where babies come from.