When Myrtle Beach, South Carolina firefighter Marc Hadden was getting ready for dinner at his fire station on Nov. 14, 2011, an emergency call came in from a woman experiencing severe abdominal pain.
But when Marc and his fellow firemen arrived on the scene, they saw the woman was in labor.
"It was a normal slow day in November," Marc, 47, told Today. "We were sitting down to eat, hadn't had a call all day…It was a pretty serious call for us. We got her on some oxygen, started some IVs and literally as we were getting ready to leave the parking lot in the ambulance, my partner said, 'We're about to deliver a baby right here.' We had no time to prepare. Before we could do anything — we hadn't even cut her clothes — Gracie came right out. Immediately she was handed to me."
Rebecca Grace Hadden, who goes by Grace, was born that day.
Like straight out of a movie or This Is Us, Marc learned later that day that the woman, who was homeless, was putting the baby up for adoption. So he and his wife, who wanted a third child, decided to adopt her. Two days later they took her home. In March 2012 they got full custody. Grace has two big brothers, Parker, 12, and Will, 14.
"The boys absolutely love her and she loves them,” Marc says, “She's amazing. She takes gymnastics, she's getting ready to start kindergarten next year at the school where my wife teaches. She's a pretty remarkable kid. Every once in a while it will hit us, usually when we're out on a date night ... oh my gosh, my wife and I have been together for 15 years, we have three kids now! Sometimes it's a bit overwhelming. Holy cow, this happened overnight, but we wouldn't trade it for anything."
Grace, now 5, knows her story, says Marc.
“We have never hidden it from her…If you ask her where she was born, she says, 'My daddy delivered me in the back of an ambulance.' She knows the whole story. I wanted her to know as soon as she was old enough to understand. I didn't want it to be this huge surprise. It still breaks my heart to think of one day having to explain it to her more in depth ... because she doesn't really 100 percent get it.”
Five years later they are celebrating her story.
“She is part of our family and that is absolutely the way it is,” Marc said. “We love her.”
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