LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. - It was a big surprise for a Lincoln County couple on their way to the hospital.
They pulled into the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant and the father had to deliver his own baby girl.
It is hard to tell that anything went wrong for little Harper Lynn Dupree now that she is home from the hospital.
However, the 6-day-old never made it to the delivery room, arriving early in the parking lot of a Jack in the Box on Highway 16.
"I just stepped out and came around the front,” said father Paul Dupree.
Dupree sprang into action when his girlfriend told him the baby wasn't waiting another 15 minutes to get to the CMC Main. He called 911 and put the phone on the dash and went to work.
"She told me, ‘I think the head is out,’ and I said, ‘Ohh my,’” Dupree said.
"I never thought I could have a baby without medication and I kept telling him, ‘I can't do this I can't do this,’” said mother Erin Castro.
The delivery was captured on a 911 call as the dispatcher tried to help the couple.
“Is the baby completely out?” the dispatcher asked.
“Yes, I have her in my hands,” Dupree said.
Fortunately, Dupree was prepared.
For two decades, he has worked as a paramedic and had delivered babies twice before. The couple had gone to the hospital earlier that day after contractions but was told to go home because the baby wasn't ready.
Once home, the contractions got worse.
Dupree had to think quickly during birth. He said the umbilical cord was wrapped around the newborn's neck and he didn't have any of his medical gear with him.
"We had to maneuver her a bit to get the cord untangled and once I got the cord untangled I used my shoestring to tie the cord off,” Dupree said.
"I was yelling and hollering. I don't remember what I was saying, but I was praying,” Castro said.
Dupree and Castro saved the shoestring.
They are thankful for the 911 operator and firefighters who arrived. The birth took only a few minutes but will give them a lifetime of memories and stories for little Harper Lynn.
"Looking back, it was what was meant to be because her daddy got to deliver her,” Castro said.