Ivy Kate was brought into this world at 7:12 a.m. on Monday — weighing in at 10 pounds, 6 ounces — after she was delivered by Gilbert police Detective Jon Halliday and Officer Michael Cluff in the passenger seat of her grandmother’s champagne-colored PT Cruiser.
When Ivy Kate Casteel is old enough to tell stories, she’ll have a good one to tell her family and friends.
Ivy Kate was brought into this world at 7:12 a.m. on Monday — weighing in at 10 pounds, 6 ounces — after she was delivered by Gilbert police Detective Jon Halliday and officer Michael Cluff in the passenger seat of her grandmother’s champagne-colored PT Cruiser.
Her birth came minutes after her parents, Matthew and Megan Casteel of Mesa, pulled into a church parking lot on the southwest corner of Lindsay and Elliot roads. Megan Casteel woke up about 6:15 a.m., nearly an hour before, with severe contractions and told her husband to get up out of bed.
“My wife woke me up and told me I wasn’t going to work today, and that we needed to go — and that we needed to go quickly,” Matthew Casteel said.
Leaving their other five children at home with Megan’s mother, they began driving to Mercy Gilbert Medical Center. But with contractions about three minutes apart, Megan Casteel told her husband she felt the baby coming. And in morning traffic, they knew they weren’t going to make it.
So, as Matthew Casteel was driving south on Lindsay Road from Guadalupe Road — and about 15 minutes from the hospital at 3555 S. Val Vista Drive — he dialed 911 at 7:06 a.m.
He told dispatchers that his wife was in labor with their sixth child.
“I thought when we left the house, I might not make it, but that we should try anyway,” Megan Casteel said. “Being familiar with the birthing process, I already was in transition. My water usually breaks, then it’s the contractions. This time, it was just the contractions. I knew I had less time. The police officers were quick — they knew what they were doing. They did great and we’re thankful they were there.”
Halliday, who was off duty and on his way to work, already was at the intersection a few cars behind the Casteels and assisted the couple as they stopped. The delivery happened about two minutes after they pulled into the parking lot, according to police, but the baby was ultimately born at 7:12 a.m.
Halliday said after he opened the passenger door, it was about 30 seconds before he saw the baby’s head. Taking what he learned from an EMT class he took in the 1990s, he rotated the baby’s shoulder and the rest was history. Both officers drew from their experience of each seeing the births of their four children and from EMT training.
“It was just an incredible experience,” Halliday said of helping to deliver the baby. “I had never delivered a baby before. It got my adrenaline running as if I were in a pursuit or in a fight, but this was a positive experience, and in the end, everyone was happy.”
Matthew Casteel, who had a camera, was clicking away, taking a lot of pictures.
“It was a fast and furious, exciting event,” he told the Tribune about Ivy Kate’s delivery Monday.
Ivy Kate was four days overdue, he said.
Ivy Kate initially was having trouble breathing when she was delivered because of mucus obstructing the infant’s airway. Cluff was able to clear the mucus and the child began breathing normally, police said. Fire EMS personnel arrived and took over the medical treatment.
“It was a pretty exciting event,” Cluff said. “By the time I pulled up, Jon already had the baby in his hands. It was pretty cold, so I got a blanket out of my car, and we wrapped the baby up. Honestly, Detective Halliday did all the hard work, or the mother did all the hard work.”
Matthew also said he is proud of the new dark-haired addition to the family, and her big brothers and sisters are excited to see her.
Mother and baby are doing fine, Matthew Casteel said.
The Casteels’ other five children range in age from 1 to 11.
Now, the couple have three sons and three daughters.