The mother of two was due to give birth to her third child on July 14, but when Julie Cacoilo awoke early Tuesday morning with sharp contraction pains, she knew that the baby wouldn’t wait.
“We had a feeling that she wouldn’t make it to her due date,” said the Aspen Hill, Maryland, resident.
And the healthy baby girl was born while Dad was speeding them down the Intercounty Connector toward Adventist Health Care Shady Grove Medical Center.
“He’s panicking. We’re just driving. … ‘Oh my God, her head is out,'” Cacoilo recalled. “A few seconds later her whole body was out, and I just caught her,” she said.
The experienced mom, 28, braced her left arm on the center console, reached down and caught the baby with her right arm.
“She just came super quick,” Cacoilo said.
It’s at that point that Mom figured Dad should pull over and summon help. So Cacoilo’s fiancé, 27-year-old Wayne Jackson, pulled to the side of the toll road and called for an ambulance. The panicky dad momentarily calmed down enough to hold the newborn while Mom rearranged the umbilical cord, which had been draped over the baby’s shoulder.
“She came out crying, and she was fine,” Cacoilo said. “She didn’t sound like she needed any suctioning, so I just tucked her into my nightgown.”
Xyla Brielle Jackson — who couldn’t wait to get into this world — was born near Exit 3 on Maryland state Route 200 shortly before 5 a.m. Tuesday, weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story had misspelled the baby’s middle name. The story has been updated to correct that.