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Yorkville mom gives birth in gas station parking lot

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Frank Pavlik was born parking lot just like his daughter Hannah Grace Mary Pavlik.  |

Use old newspaper clipping Frank Pavlik was born in a parking lot, just like his daughter, Hannah Grace Mary Pavlik. | Submitted

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Updated: September 21, 2013 6:16AM

As far as incredible stories go, little Hannah Grace Mary Pavlik’s tale is one for the books.

The 6-pound, 3-ounce bundle of joy raced into the world early Saturday morning in true Pavlik fashion ... she was born in a parking lot, just like her dad, almost exactly 33 years ago.

On Aug. 18, 1980, Frank Pavlik’s parents were making a mad dash to the hospital when he decided he was ready to make his grand entrance. Mom and dad pulled over into a parking lot at the Louis Joliet Mall, where Frank came barreling into the world.

Baby Hannah was welcomed in much the same way, 10 days early, and on the eve of her dad’s birthday.

In the parking lot of an Oswego gas station, Erica Pavlik gave birth to her healthy baby girl, who will forever have a story to tell.

“I never thought I would have a child without an epidural,” Erica said from her Yorkville home on Monday.

With two boys and 20 hours of labor experience under her belt, Erica said she felt she knew what to expect. False labor pains during her second pregnancy left Erica feeling like Saturday morning’s warning signs could just be a false alarm. She figured rather than call her husband Frank home from work, she would wait things out. But as time ticked on, the contractions came swifter, and harder, and Erica decided to make her move.

She called her mother, who rushed over to take her to the hospital.

“I figured that even if it was real labor, I still had another good nine hours or so to go,” Erica said.

But her soon-be-born daughter had other plans.

Just five miles from her home, Erica’s water broke, and so her mom pulled the small sedan they were riding in into the parking lot of the BP gas station at Orchard Road and Route 34. The duo called 911, but there was just no time for help to arrive.

“Here I am, at a gas station, looking a wreck, and I’m thinking, is my baby going to be OK? The car is not the most sanitary place to do this, but I didn’t have a choice. My body took over,” Erica said.

In the front passenger seat of the car, Erica’s mother delivered a happy, healthy Hannah.

“So many things could have gone wrong, but she came right out. She wasn’t messing around. It took her a minute to cry, but after that, everything went well.”

The new father Frank made it to the gas station just minutes after his first daughter was born, and rode with Hannah to the hospital while Erica was transported separately.

“The (police and paramedics) were so great. They did such a good job taking care of her and me,” Erica said. “We are home now, and her big brothers are very excited.”

Karen Werrbach, director of Women’s Health at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, said that only between six and 12 of the hospital’s 3,300 yearly deliveries happen at home or en-route.

Flipping through this year’s birth log, Werrbach said there were just three out-of-hospital deliveries on the books.

“It’s unreal,” she said of Hannah’s birth. “Fortunately this was a very good outcome, but when the environment is not controlled, there is always potential for (problems.)”

Hannah could have gotten an infection, been born with her umbilical cord around her neck, or undergone a host of other complications, she said.

“Thankfully, this had a happy ending,” Werrbach said.

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