Seth and his wife Bethany thought their third child was going to arrive on April 27, a day after Bethany’s due date, so they headed from their home in Highland Park to the hospital in Princeton. Since it was a false alarm, they went home, but quickly returned to the hospital, returning home again at 2 a.m. after another false alarm.
“On Friday morning, April 28, Bethany went into active labor at around 7:15 a.m.. Halfway to the Princeton hospital, the baby made it clear he was ready to join the family — in our 2006 Nissan Altima, with 131,000 miles on it. I pulled off Route 1 into the driveway of a not-yet-open auto-repair shop in South Brunswick called Jeff’s Garage and dialed 911,” said Seth Mandel, who is currently an Op-Ed editor for the New York Post.
The dispatcher located the couple and sent police and EMTs on their way, “but our new son wouldn’t wait,” Seth Mandel said.
“I kneeled down next to Bethany on the passenger’s-side, giving the play-by-play to the 911 dispatcher while catching our new 9-pound baby boy. I looked around for something to wrap him in and decided on my New York Rangers sweatshirt – hey, it’s the playoffs,” he said.
Seth Mandel said the baby looked purple because of the quick delivery and took a few seconds to breathe and start crying, “which felt like years,” he said.
“As he finally did, the stellar cops and EMTs from South Brunswick arrived. They were great – calm, competent, confident, reassuring – and put Bethany and the baby in the ambulance. I rode behind the ambulance and a police car rode behind me.
“When we got to the hospital in Princeton things went right back to normal, and everyone took fantastic care of us,” he said.
Days later, Seth Mandel said it is still hard to believe the two had a roadside birth.
“Bethany, who is a superhero and the strongest, toughest person I know, has bounced back right away and you can’t even tell she just had a baby, let alone in a parking lot off Route 1,” Seth Mandel said.
The baby, who will be named during a Jewish Bris ceremony on May 5, joins his sister, 3-and-a-half, and his brother, who is 2.