CADILLAC — Jessyca Griswold, 28, was on her way home from a doctor's appointment in Gaylord when she felt the sudden urge to use the restroom.
Nine months pregnant at the time and within a week of her due date, Jessyca had been experiencing what she thought were Braxton Hicks contractions, sometimes known as false labor pains.
"I was super uncomfortable," said Jessyca, who didn't think the baby was on its way, since she had had two kids already and was pretty familiar with what that feels like.
She stopped at the Beacon & Bridge gas station on M-115 southeast of Cadillac to use the bathroom.
Almost immediately after getting in to the bathroom, she started screaming in pain, which drew the attention of several Beacon and Bridge employees, who rushed to Jessyca's aid.
"I couldn't say anything," Jessyca said. "I was in so much pain."
One of the employees who had a big part in helping Jessyca was Carolynn Taylor, who didn't see her come in to the gas station but heard her screams.
"I knew immediately it was labor pains, " said Taylor, who is a mom herself. "She proceeded to push the baby out, and I was helping ... doing my best to catch the child."
The next 10 minutes were a blur: standing up the entire time, Jessyca's first push broke her water; the next push brought out the baby's head, then moments later the baby was fully out.
When the baby came out, the umbilical cord broke and the child dropped into Taylor's hands, but since he was so slippery, she lost her grip and he fell a couple of inches onto the floor.
"I didn't believe it at first," Jessyca said. "I was shocked it happened so fast."
The baby, who has been named Trip, was born Sept. 29, weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounces.
Taylor and the other gas station employees wrapped Trip in towels and waited for an ambulance to arrive.
"I'm just glad I wasn't alone," Jessyca said. "I don't know what I would have done. If I didn't stop when I did, I would have given birth in the car."
Griswold's fiancé and the baby's father, Rhett Shook, 28, was working on a roof when he received a text from his brother-in-law about the unexpected delivery.
Rhett and Jessyca met in 2011 when he first moved to the area with his father, Rob. Within about a year of first meeting, Rhett and Jessyca started dating.
"There was something there when we first met," Rhett said. "I just kinda knew ... there was a spark."
When he finally was able to get ahold of Jessyca after the text from his brother-in-law, she told him what happened and that his baby boy was safe and healthy.
Rhett said he experienced "too many emotions all at once" when he heard the news. Of course he was happy and relieved, but he said he also was disappointed that he wasn't able to be there like he was for the birth of his other two children.
The baby's name, which the couple picked out of a name book, is pretty fitting considering the circumstances surrounding his birth, Rhett said.
"I was pretty amazed," Rhett said. "I didn't believe it at first. He's definitely got a story to tell now."
"The most important thing to us was that the baby was OK," said Trip's grandfather, Rob Shook. "I heard it through the grapevine that she gave birth in Kalkaska and my first reaction was, 'she did what?!'"
When more accurate information about the baby's birth location in Cadillac at the Beacon & Bridge eventually made its way to Rob, he was just as amazed.
"Man oh man, that's super," Rob said regarding Trip's unorthodox birth, in addition to the assistance rendered by gas station employees. "Hats off to them."
Rob crafted an amusing message days after Trip was born to be printed in the Cadillac News. It reads: "New Birthing Center opens in Cadillac Michigan Beacon Bridge, just kidding but: Trip Robin Shook was born on their bathroom floor with the assist of a few very gracious employees. Yes the first name is correct and he is definitely a Trip coming into the world the way he did. We cannot express our Gratitude enough for what those employees did, so from our New comer Trip, Shook’s and Griswold’s families: Rock on, you Gals were awesome! Pizza on Me."
It took about a week for Taylor to fully process what happened.
Taylor said she regrets that she wasn't able to keep her grip on the slippery child when he was born but when she heard news that he was healthy, she said it was "like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders."
"When I look back at it, I can't believe I was there in time to do it," Taylor said. "I'm so proud of that lady (Jessyca). She was doing awesome."
Jessyca said while Trip has been having a little trouble gaining weight because he may be lactose intolerant, he's totally healthy in every other respect.
"I couldn't have had a more perfect baby," Jessyca said.