ANN ARBOR (WWJ/AP) – She wasn’t due until mid July, but her baby had other plans.

A pregnant Nicole Culwell was heading to St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital on Monday with her husband, Matthew, when she realized she wouldn’t make it in time.

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“It literally went from contractions every four minutes to being so close to the hospital and the baby’s head was crowning,” the new mother told “I just kept thinking ‘No, this can’t happen.'”

The Howell couple was only about 10 minutes from the hospital when they stopped on the side of US-23 and called 911.

With help from her husband and coaching from the dispatcher, Culwell gave birth to a healthy baby girl on the side of the freeway. Emergency crews arrived after the delivery and a firefighter cut the umbilical cord.

“He was great and stayed calm about it,” Nicole Culwell said of her husband. “I don’t even really remember her being born. I just remember holding her after and patting her back to make sure she was breathing.”

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Matthew Culwell said it was a “huge relief” to hear the cries of his new daughter, named Susannah.

“It’s not often that you get to see your name as the person who made the delivery on your daughter’s birth certificate,” he said. “It’s a pretty cool story to tell even though people don’t believe you right away.”

Dispatcher Carol Leellis told WDIV that hearing the cry was a relief to her as well, since that assured her the baby would be OK. She said she was honored to be part of the couple’s big day, and she wanted to wish the new parents good luck ahead.

Officials say baby and mother are recovering just fine.

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