It was not long after he and his wife Juell jumped in the car and headed for Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center that Matt Fullner realized that time was not on their side. Juell was in full-blown labor, and the hospital was 30 minutes away from where they lived in South Napa, California.
He knew that they weren't going to make it. Their baby was coming.
Juell's labor started without much fanfare earlier that evening - her contractions were coming sporadically, but the soon-to-be parents of three didn't think too much of it. They were veterans when it came to childbirth, after all. They already had two older children, so they knew what to look for. They knew the signs.
At least they thought they did.
To be safe, they decided to head to the hospital, anyway.
“We figured, let’s just go down there,” Matt said. Little did he know, they'd never quite make it. On the way to the car, Juell's water broke - and that's when things really started to pick up.
As they drove south towards the hospital, Matt could tell by his wife's painful moans that things were progressing a lot more quickly than either of them expected. When he asked her if she felt the urge to push, she couldn't even muster a reply.
“She just kind of moaned at me,” he recalled. So he made a quick decision. He did the only thing he could think of at that moment - and that was to pull into the parking lot of the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, where he figured there might be someone around to assist.
But nobody heard his cries for help.
Realizing that it was up to him - and only him - to deliver his baby, he parked the car, ran to the passenger side, tilted his wife's seat back and got into position. To his surprise, he could already see the head.
With Matt's help, Juell delivered their tiny 6 and 1/2 pound daughter, Wilhelmina, right then and there. Although she came out with the cord around her neck, Matt was able to unwrap it without any issues - much to his relief. He called 9-1-1 and shortly after, Juell and Wilhelmina were transported to the hospital, with Matt in tow.
Juell and Wilhelmina were discharged the very next afternoon, heading home to join Matt and their two boys - Simon, 7 and Jack, 5 - as a brand new family of five. With renewed confidence in her own abilities as well as Matt's, Juell has little doubt they will tackle whatever comes their way next with ease.
"A woman’s body knows what to do, but she needs a support team helping her," she said. "I have known for 15 years that I married a smart, capable man. I am now convinced he can do anything!”