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'Did that just happen?': Kasson woman delivers baby in car at Walgreens parking lot

Adam and Tessa Leen had already decided the newest child’s birthday. The couple planned to induce labor Monday at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Methodist.

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Baby Mya joined the Leen family, from left, Caden, Adam (dad), Liam, Morgan, and Tessa (mom) at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Methodist on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (Ken Klotzbach / kklotzbach@postbulletin.com)

Adam and Tessa Leen had already decided the newest child’s birthday. The couple planned to induce labor Monday at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Methodist.

Half of that plan came together.

Mya Leen was born Monday at about 11:22 a.m. — in the Walgreens parking lot, 1112 Civic Center Drive, while police and medical personnel were en route to help.

"It was like something you see on TV, you see on a sitcom, you think would never happen to you," Adam said, describing the moment his daughter was born.

Tessa had her legs up on the dashboard. Adam parked the truck, got out and ran to the passenger side of the truck, opened the door and leaned into the vehicle to help Tessa, who was in active labor.

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Earlier in the day, at about 5:30 a.m., the Kasson couple had called Methodist hospital to confirm their appointment. Tessa was told it had been pushed back to midday.

At about 9 a.m., she began having contractions close enough to time their frequency. By late morning, the two decided to make their way to Rochester via U.S. Highway 14.

"It was almost like a switch got flipped when we got in the vehicle," Tessa said.

The contractions came one right after the other.

As they arrived in town, Adam called Olmsted County dispatch as Tessa labored in the truck. The dispatcher advised him to pull over.

"They could hear her in the background," he said.

Kneeling in a parking lot, half in and half outside of the truck in single-digit cold, Adam tried to reassure his wife through the delivery. Mya is the couple’s fourth child.

He told Tessa the baby was almost delivered.

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"Just the shoulders left," he recalled telling her.

Once Tessa delivered the baby, Adam turned the infant onto her stomach, pointing her head downward to help her breathe. It was a technique the couple learned in first-aid training they take as part of Tessa’s requirements for the day care she runs.

Mya took her first breaths and began to cry.

"We both just froze," Tessa said. "We looked at each other like, ‘Did that just happen?’ "

Seconds later, police arrived on the scene. Adam recalled seeing the officer putting on latex gloves and hurrying toward the truck. An ambulance arrived shortly after that.

"I was just relieved she was out, healthy and crying," Tessa said.

The couple and Mya finished their journey to Methodist by ambulance while one of the responders drove the couple’s truck to the hospital.

An EMT asked Adam what the baby’s name was. He hesitated. Before their trip to Rochester, the two hadn’t yet agreed on a name. Adam was in favor of Mya.

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He replied, he wasn’t sure, but was thinking maybe Mya. Another EMT confirmed that’s what Tessa had said, too.

"After he helped deliver her, her name was Mya," Tessa said.

On Tuesday, after a night at the hospital, Tessa was ready to go home. Mya’s older sister and two older brothers were in the hospital room getting to meet the newest member of the family.

Word has already spread to friends, family and neighbors, the couple said.

Adam said he has probably told the story a dozen times as word spread about what happened.

"I think we’re getting better at telling the story," he said, adding that they have a couple years to practice before telling it to Mya.

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Liam Leen tries to get his new sister, Mya, to take a pacifier while in her mother, Tessa's arms at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Methodist on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Mya was born on her way to the hospital when her father, Adam (background) pulled over in a Walgreens parking lot. (Ken Klotzbach / kklotzbach@postbulletin.com)

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