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The Nicolet family includes, from left, Russell, Abram, 2, Andrea, and Gabriel.

Hudson mother gives birth at gas station

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Hudson resident Andrea Nicolet was nine days overdue with her son Gabriel, but when it was time for him to come, he did not want to wait a minute longer.

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Gabriel Dale Nicolet, 7 pounds, 14 ounces, 21 inches, came into the world in his family's car at the Holiday gas station on Manning Avenue in Lake Elmo, Minn., on July 3. Andrea, a 1999 Hudson High School graduate, and her husband Russell were on their way to Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury when it became clear the baby was not going to wait.

"Nope, pull over," Andrea told Russell as they raced westbound on I-94.

The couple attended Andrea's overdue appointment in Woodbury that morning. She was not far along so she was allowed to return to their home. Russell was skeptical of leaving the building; he knew how quickly their son Abram's birth went just two years earlier.

"I was telling her I think we should stay there," he said, "I had a feeling based on (Abram's) delivery it was going to be pretty soon."

On their way home Andrea's contractions picked up. Russell wanted to return to Woodbury, but she did not.

"I said no, I don't want to labor at the hospital," said Andrea, "We'll labor at home."

Once she settled in at home, Russell returned to his office in Woodbury. When he called later, Andrea told him she needed to return to the hospital.

"Contractions picked up more and got stronger and stronger and I knew I needed to get back to the hospital," she said.

Russell drove back to Hudson as quickly as possible. He took side roads as the interstate was "basically a parking lot" due to the Fourth of July traffic.

When Russell arrived, they packed up the car and started toward Woodbury. Andrea's mother, Kim Beaudry, followed the couple in a separate vehicle, while her father Joseph stayed back to watch Abram.

As they reached the interstate, Russell began to worry about making it to the hospital. He called 911 and they told him they could designate a location for an ambulance to meet them. It was difficult to select a spot as Andrea wrestled with deciding if she could make it to the hospital in between contractions. Finally, just before they reached Manning Avenue on the interstate, she knew what had to be done.

"I knew we needed to pull over," she said, "All I was thinking was I need to get the baby out."

Russell pulled into the Holiday station. Everything happened quickly.

"She's in the front seat saying the baby is coming. I'm running around trying to figure out what to do," he said.

Despite the commotion, Andrea remained calm.

"I had my eyes closed the whole time," she said, "I was in my own labor land."

Russell was able to flag down Washington County Deputy Nick Sullivan, who was in the area and responding to the call.

Sullivan did not know how big his role was going to be.

"He didn't realize when he got there that he was going to be 'the guy'", said Russell.

Sullivan asked for a blanket, which was not available. They used sweatpants for the process instead.

Beaudry, a registered nurse, also arrived in time to help Andrea deliver the baby out the passenger door.

"She knew what was going on," said Andrea.

When Gabriel came out, the umbilical cord was around his neck. Sullivan quickly unwrapped it. There were no other complications.

The entire process took mere minutes from the time they pulled into the parking lot, said Andrea. When the ambulance arrived after the birth, Russell cut the cord and they went off to the hospital.

"It was fun going to the hospital with baby in hand," said Andrea.

The couple had the car cleaned by Service Master following the ordeal.

"It looked like a delivery room and not a car in the front seat," joked Russell.

Andrea did not mind the experience.

"It wasn't that bad," she said, "It was really fast and I got to control the situation a little bit more. Doctors weren't telling me what to do."

Russell did not find it as soothing; he said he would prefer any future experiences took place in the hospital.

"I think I was able to keep my calm, but inside I was panicking pretty badly."

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