Baby born in back seat of Cadillac

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Candy McDonald gave birth to her 5-pound, 15-ounce daughter Jaliyah Marshall in the back seat of her grandmother’s Cadillac SUV Wednesday while enroute to the hospital. Mother and baby, nicknamed “Escalade” by hospital staff, are doing j

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

A Cadillac Escalade was the location of a special delivery for a Farwell woman.

Candy McDonald, 19, delivered her own 5-pound, 15-ounce bouncing baby girl in the back seat of the SUV while enroute to Plains Regional Medical Center in Clovis.

The birth of baby Jaliyah in the vehicle was witnessed by four generations of her family while enroute to Plains Regional Medical Center in Clovis.

Hospital staff playfully nicknamed the newborn “Cadillac” or “Escalade.”

Candy McDonald said she woke in the early morning hours to labor pains. But having experienced a prolonged and difficult delivery with her son, she expected this to be ruled a false alarm. She had no plans to go to the hospital.

When the pains came one after another, four in a row, she alerted her grandmother and the family loaded in the car.

With her grandparents in the front and her mother and 1-year-old son in the back beside her, Candy McDonald said, “I kept telling my Grandma (I felt pressure) but she thought it was just me.”

But when she felt the baby’s head, McDonald said her grandmother instructed her to remove her pajama bottoms and along came Jaliyah.

“I didn’t look, I was holding my hand back there for her (Candy) to hold it and squeeze it for pain, but it didn’t last long enough,” Myrtle McDonald said of her granddaughter.

“She (Candy) said, “I got it, I got my baby’. She was strong. She was stronger than me… I just couldn’t have done it,” said the good natured mother of nine and grandmother to “so many” she would, “have to count them up on the calculator.”

Candy McDonald said as she held her newborn, crying daughter in her arms, she unwound the umbilical chord from her around her neck and wrapped the infant in one of her son’s blankets.

A Clovis ambulance met the family on U.S. 60/84 a few miles inside the New Mexico state line, cut the baby’s chord and drove mother and daughter the rest of the way to the hospital.

It wasn’t exactly a first in the family, Myrtle McDonald said, recalling that she helped care for one of her sisters born on the way to the hospital and later, two of her sisters delivered children while trying to make it to the hospital.

“I know I never was that lucky,” she said laughing.

“Born in an Escalade… I told (Candy) this morning we’ll have to keep (the Cadillac), it’ll be a keepsake.”

Safely bedded down at PRMC Wednesday afternoon, Candy McDonald said she and Jaliyah are doing well and expect to go home sometime today.

“I’m going to have to tell her when she gets older,” the new mother said, a smile lifting her voice.