A couple from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. was shocked when their SUV was stolen right out of their driveway as they were about to head to the hospital to deliver their first baby.
It was Dec. 30 and Stephanie and Mark Madigan had just finished watching a movie when the contractions came on.
“I was like, ‘I think we’d better go to the hospital now.’ I had all the bags ready, I had everything prepared.” Stephanie said.
Mark took their hospital bags out to the SUV and came back inside to help his wife, who was putting her shoes on. That’s when a thief saw an opportunity.
“(Mark) runs to the coatroom, grabs the keys and is like, ‘Someone just took off with our car!’ I’m like, ‘What?’,” Stephanie recalled.
Mark hopped into the couple’s other vehicle, ripped out of the driveway and gave chase — catching up to the thief when he stopped in a cul-de-sac.
“My husband asked (the thief) if he could swap vehicles because he really needed that vehicle,” Stephanie said.
Instead, the thief floored it in an attempt to escape, hitting a nearby truck in the process.
At that point, Mark decided to head home, where Stephanie was waiting.
“He came back for me because he knew he had to get me to the hospital,” She said.
After a quick debate about whether to pack another bag — which they opted not to do — the couple was on the road.
Unfortunately, the local hospital in Fort Saskatchewan was not delivering babies due to COVID-19, so they had a 25-minute drive across north Edmonton to the Sturgeon County hospital.
“I was on the phone with the RCMP the whole time, alerting them about the situation,” Stephanie recalled.
Because Mark’s cell phone was in the stolen SUV, she was able to use an app to track it and relay the information to police — until the phone was thrown in a ditch.
With all the chaos, the couple barely made it to the hospital.
“By the time I got my epidural, I was 7 cm dilated. The cutoff for the epidural is 8 cm dilated,” Stephanie explained.
As a first time mom, she said she’d watched YouTube videos on what to pack, and cross-referenced other people’s hospital-ready lists.
Packed into the stolen SUV, the couple had three bags full of everything from snacks, to postpartum care essentials, to scratch mitts and diapers. But, along with the vehicle and Mark’s cell phone, it was all gone.
“Going from 120 per cent prepared to nothing absolutely sucked,” Stephanie said.
“We showed up with just the clothes on our backs. No hospital notes, nothing. We weren’t at the hospital we were supposed to deliver at. All my notes, my birth plan, every single thing was in that vehicle.”
The nurses heard about their predicament, they rallied to get the parents the essentials. One nurse brought shampoo and conditioner for Stephanie, while others brought clothes, bottles of water and bags of ice.
Stephanie’s sister also dropped a bag off at the hospital with a change of clothes and deodorant.
Hours later, on New Year’s Eve, the couple welcomed a healthy baby boy to the world, Maximus Madigan.
“He is perfect. He’s the best part about last year, and the best part about this year,” his mom said.
The couple’s SUV was eventually recovered in Red Deer, Alta. with notable front end damage.
All three of their bags were gone, the thief only left their car seat and a winter snowsuit.
They’re hoping someone might find the bags discarded somewhere and return them to them.
“Par for the course for 2020,” Stephanie laughed.
“Literally a New Year’s Eve baby with the worst birth story ever.”