Mom has baby on I-96 ramp

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD)– Some of the most memorable days of our lives are the days when life begins. The birth of our children is a day most parents can recall in detail for years. But the birth of baby Levi is one even strangers won’t soon forget.

Baby Levi, who was born on I-96. (April 2, 2014)
(Baby Levi)

They’re a lot like most families with young kids. Emily and Jeff are busy with life, careers, two little boys and a new baby. “We have three boys. Our lives are crazy. We have holes in our walls, we have posters covering the holes and our house is very loud.”

Emily, known as Emily Zangaro, used to work with 24 Hour News 8. She thought she’d left the news business behind, but she found herself on the other end of the story with the birth of her third son, Levi.

“I know a lot of people who say I want to do a home birth, a lot of people who say I’m going to have my baby the traditional way in a hospital,” Emily said. “But I don’t know anyone who writes a birth plan that says I’m going to have my baby in the back of an ambulance off the highway.”

But babies don’t make birth plans.

Matt, the LIFE ems worker who delivered baby Levi on I-96. (April 2, 2104)
(Matt holds baby Levi)

“As soon as I got on the phone with the nurse, my water broke,” Emily said. “And what happened afterward … I didn’t know it could happen that fast.”

As they traveled down M-6 and then I-96 toward downtown Grand Rapids, the expectant parents had to make a decision. Should they keep on keeping on to the hospital or pull over and get help right there on the highway?

“I’ve worked with these guys enough times that the look on their faces usually spells it all,” said Matt from LIFE ems Ambulance.

Cascade Township firefighters were the first to arrive, and then Matt and his partner Phil from LIFE ems Ambulance.

“We explained very clearly that we were going to be delivering on scene and explained to her and Jeff, who was also in the back, that this was something we were going to be doing right then and there,” Matt said.

The pin Matt received from LIFE ems for delivering baby Levi. (April 2, 2014)
(The pin Matt received from LIFE ems for delivering baby Levi)

And in the back of that ambulance, on the off-ramp to 28th Street, Matt coached Emily through the birth of her third son.

“God’s grace. He’s always going to provide when you’re in need,” Emily said. “Whether it’s a good friend, a family member or a complete stranger. And in this case it was a complete stranger.”

Levi was born healthy and strong at 9 lbs. 6 oz., which is only right for a boy born on the off-ramp from I-96.

Levi will have a lot of stories to share as he grows. He was born on Fat Tuesday, on the only day of the year that gives direction — March 4th.

“If you’ve ever seen a father hold his first born for the first time and how careful they are and how nerve wracking that is and understand that at the time, I wasn’t even on their gift registry and I was the once to get to be able to hold Levi….and just how precious that is,” Matt said. “Matthew means “Gift from God.” And we got two gifts that day.”




Full interview with Emily and Matt on Levi’s birth

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