Home sweet garage

Tyler and Wendy Hansen (center) are pictured with their newborn son, Earl John, and 7-year-old son Kevin, along with Tyler’s best friend and fellow firefighter Adam Kletscher, who was there, in the Hansen’s garage on Dec. 28, when Earl John was born. Photo / Per Peterson

Tyler Hansen’s garage is a typical mancave, and the newest member is his son, Earl John, who was born there in the wee hours of Dec. 28 — in dad’s truck

By Per Peterson

For one very memorable December day last year, Tyler Hansen’s mancave was transformed into a babycave.

During the early-morning hours of Monday, Dec. 28, Earl John was born to Tyler Hansen and his wife, Wendy, of Walnut Grove — not in a hospital, not even in an ambulance. No, this baby decided to join the world in the passenger seat of his father’s Chevy pick-up. So eager to be born was Earl John — who is named after Tyler’s grandfathers — that he was born before the truck even left his father’s heated garage.

“If we’d have gotten out of our garage, we’d have probably had him on the train tracks,” Tyler said. “He came that fast. Somebody asked me if I was nervous — we didn’t even have time to be nervous.”

At 4:01 a.m. on Dec. 28, Tyler called his best friend and fellow firefighter, Adam Kletscher. The two buddies had previously agreed that if anything came up, Adam — who lives about 8 blocks from the Hansens — would get the call and would do whatever he had to to help, such as care for Kevin, who is Wendy’s first child and was recently adopted by Tyler.

“He’s like, ‘Can you come here?’” Adam said. “I heard (Wendy) making noise in the background, so I came quickly across town and helped her get into the truck. You could tell that she was in pain. We got her in the truck, and she was like, ‘It’s coming, it’s coming.’”

Tyler said he remembers opening the garage door while his wife was telling him the baby was coming. Only 7 minutes between that phone call to Adam and the birth of his son.

“She said she felt the head coming and she kind of stood up in the truck,” Tyler said.

“My water broke once I got into the truck,” said Wendy. “I was in pain and I wanted to go to the hospital.”

In the heat of the moment, Tyler wondered if he should drive to Tracy or Marshall, or just call 9-1-1. As it turned out, there was no time for any of those options.

“Wendy was screaming out in pain, and … here’s the baby, “Adam said. “I just kind of swooped in to grab him so he wouldn’t fall, and then Tyler ran around the truck and grabbed him and I started calling 9-1-1.”

That call ended up putting them on the line with North Memorial Hospital, where they got instructions on what to do next.

“The baby was crying, he was good,” Adam said. “We checked to make sure Wendy was fine, and she was. We got towels to wipe the baby off and keep him warm”

The Hansens made a trip to Avera Regional Medical Center the day before, because Wendy was having more intense contractions. Wendy wrote it off as a false alarm, and the couple was sent back home to Walnut Grove.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.