He did not run screaming from the house. Instead, the moment 37-year-old Rob MacMurray realized he wasn’t going to be able to get his pregnant wife, Mary, to the hospital in time, he did what he says “anyone else would have.”  He delivered his daughter Grace at 1 a.m. in their Franklin home late last year. Grace — named in honor of her incredible arrival — is happy, healthy, and well-loved by her big brother, 3-year-old Peter.

What type of classes did you and your wife take to prepare for Peter? Did you take a refresher for your daughter?

We did take a natural birthing class. It covered the basics. We didn’t take a refresher for our daughter. We wouldn’t have needed half the stuff anyway! We did go back and look over the notes and handouts, and it was helpful. Peter’s delivery was long. I was mentally prepared for that [scenario].

When did it hit you that you and Mary were probably not going to make it to the hospital before the baby arrived?

There was a precise moment when it hit me. We called the hospital and got an on-call nurse on the phone and she started asking questions. I was filling her in. I’m thinking something is really wrong. I hear [the nurse] talking to someone else in the office saying, “You need to call 911 right now. This woman is having a baby.” In my head, I’m like, “Is she talking about my wife? This woman?” I really had no idea until she said that. It was shocking. That’s when I was thinking, “No, no, you’re wrong!”

In your wildest dreams, did you ever think it was going to come down to this?

No. It’s funny, a few weeks before, I remember Mary and I saying, “How could that [emergency at-home/in a car delivery] ever happen nowadays? That seems impossible!” The thing that made it easier for me is that it all happened so quickly. From the time [the nurse on the phone] said, “This woman is having a baby” until the baby came was probably 3 minutes. I didn’t have time to process it.

Is there anything you remember the nurse saying that maybe calmed you down a bit? 

She was incredibly calm and very direct: “Do this. Now do this.” It was exactly what I needed. I was in a state of panic. “Have her lie down on the floor. Get a towel.” And then she said, “And now…” and then I was holding the baby. I give this woman tons of credit. We wrote her a letter thanking her.  After she was born, I think I dropped the phone and realized [my daughter] was not crying. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. I unwrapped it and she started crying.

You had a hard job, for sure, but your wife may have been in the much scarier, painful situation, comparatively speaking. How did she handle all that in the moment?

She is a champ. She has an incredibly high tolerance for pain. She is about to give birth to a baby and didn’t realize it. She told me later, “Once that baby came out and the pain stopped I was good to go.” For me, that’s when it got crazy, but for her she was able to calm down. She was much calmer than I was. Looking back, she can’t believe how calm she was.

When Grace was delivered, your work wasn't done. What did you have to do?

The nurse had me hand the baby and the phone to Mary. Mary is, like, “She wants you to go get a shoelace.” I’m thinking, Did I hear that right? I remembered my basketball sneakers were in the closet, so I grabbed one. Mary talked me through [tying off the umbilical cord]. The EMTs show up and one looks down and asks me, “Is that shoe still attached to the shoelace?”  He thought that was awesome. I wear a Size 12. So there is this rather large basketball shoe hanging off my poor daughter.

What did you learn about yourself and your wife as a result of this experience?

A lot of women have said to me, “My husband would not have been able to do that.” And I say, “Yes, he would.” Then they say, “He would have passed out!” I guess I get credit for not passing out. I feel like anyone in that situation, where it’s your own child [and wife], can get it together and focus and do what they need to do. I think that’s what anyone would do. I think people try to give me a lot of credit. I was just there and I just did what I was told. That was definitely the most dramatic event I’ve been through. It is good to know about myself. I handled myself well and I didn’t run out of the house screaming.

What do you think Grace will think about her birth story?

We’ve talked about when to tell her. When will she be old enough when it will make sense? We imagine it’ll be a story she wants to hear over and over again. She’ll feel special. I’ve thought about Peter and wondered if he’d feel like his birth story was boring, but I think every birth is so special. Peter’s story, to us, is very special. Your own child being born, no matter the story around it, that’s what is special.