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Medina couple don’t make it to hospital in time for impatient newborn

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MEDINA — Heather and Hank Jontony know better than most expectant parents that babies are often born when they want.

London, their first child now 3½ years old, was breech and born by planned cesarean section.

Their second, Graham, was all natural. He came really fast.

But the couple’s third child, Grayson, has his two siblings beat in the birth story department.

He came out days before his due date and in the family’s car as Hank Jontony raced to the hospital from the couple’s Medina home Monday.

Heather, nine months pregnant, woke up her husband, Hank, early that morning with news that she had gone into labor and her contractions were about 15 minutes apart.

The couple started to make the trek to Fairview Hospital in Cleveland, when things went awry.

“She’s like, ‘The baby is coming,’ ” Hank Jontony said Tuesday.

Hank said he told his wife it just felt like the baby was coming, thinking this delivery would be like the birth of Graham, now 1½ years old.

“I don’t know what I’m talking about. I was just trying to calm her down,” he said.

The Medina couple, who now have three children under the age of 4, should have known something adventurous was about to happen. Graham was supposed to be born at Fairview, but the couple had to change their plans en route to the hospital when labor progressed fast and Heather gave birth at Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital.

That wasn’t an option this time since Medina Hospital closed its maternity ward July 2017.

So, on the way to Fairview — another Cleveland Clinic hospital — Monday morning, Heather Jontony couldn’t wait any longer. Even though she wasn’t due until Nov. 4, little Grayson was ready.

Hank was driving up Interstate 71, right past the Strongsville exit, when the baby was born weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces, and 19½ inches long.

The next thing he said he heard was his new son crying, a sound the pierced through the air at 6:20 a.m.

“He was crying really loud,” said the new father. “I had all kinds of thoughts going through my mind. I was trying to stay as calm as I could.”

The quick delivery forced Hank to make the sudden decision to get off I-71 at the Berea exit and high-tail it to Southwest General Health Center, 18697 Bagley Road, Middleburg Heights. It was the closest hospital at that point.

“I made it to the hospital in about 10 minutes,” Hank said. “I was trying to focus on the road. The last thing I wanted to do was get in an accident.”

Hank burst into the emergency room and announced his wife just had a baby in the car. Doctors and nurses rushed to her aid.

Hank reports that his wife is doing well and expects to be released from the hospital soon.

“She’s doing amazing,” he said.

Hank, 37, is a barber at Ledgewood Barber Shop in Strongsville. He’s also going to school to become a clinical counselor at Ashland Theological Seminary.

His wife, Heather, 32, is a high school science teacher at North Royalton High School.

Both are Strongsville High School graduates.

And now with three completely different birth stories to tell, it begs the question will the next Jontony baby be born at home? Not likely, said Hank.

“I’m pretty sure we are done,” he said. “… Looking back, I wouldn’t have chosen it that way. I’m thankful to live through it. It’s a unique story.”

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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