'Remarkable:' Darren Helm's daughter born in car

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Darren Helm holds his new daughter, Rylee.

Detroit — Darren Helm is a speedy hockey player. His newborn already has shown that quality.

Helm and his girlfriend, Devon, welcomed their second child, a girl named Rylee, into the world 2:15 a.m. Monday — on the way to the hospital, not at the hospital.

Devon delivered Rylee in Helm's car, about five minutes from Providence Park Hospital in Novi.

"It was all her (Devon), by herself," Helm said Tuesday after the Red Wings' morning skate. "I was just in the car with her and she was able to take care of business herself.

"It is very remarkable, incredible. I was just trying to get to the hospital as quick as I could."

Rylee Clare, 6 pounds and 10 ounces, was scheduled to arrive in about a week, but decided to get on the fast track.

Helm described Sunday night's events:

"After the game (Sunday afternoon) I was in bed around 10:30 or 11, pretty tired after the game, and she kind of woke me up and said things were happening real fast. It came on so quick. We thought we'd have some time to get to the hospital.

"The baby was ready to come out and say hello, and that's what she did.

"Pretty funny story now that we think about it."

Helm and Devon live about 20-25 minutes from Providence Park, but Helm was able to get out there in less time than that because so few vehicles were on the road in the middle of the night.

But Rylee wouldn't completely wait.

"We tried to make it there (to the hospital) and hold (Rylee) back, but they (doctors) said it happens once in a while," Helm said. "Not often, but they always told us the second one comes out quicker than the first.

"We didn't expect it to be that quick.

"When we got to the ER, they reassured us that things were going to be OK after they got a good look at the baby and Devon was feeling good. It took a us a while to get over what had just happened."

The entire episode is rare, said Dr. Peter Stevenson, an obstetrician/gynecologist based in Dearborn, although not unheard of.

"Very unsual," Stevenson said. "Every so often you might hear about a family with many kids who didn't get to the hospital quick enough because they were taking care of the kids at home.

"But that's just not very common. You usually have some time. It's not the norm."

Although the Helm case turned out successful — mother and daughter are doing fine — and other cases have been as well, it's still significantly safer to have a baby the old fashioned way — in a hospital.

"A lot safer," Stevenson said. "In case something does go wrong, if there are complications, obviously you want to be around a room full of professionals."

Wings coach Mike Babcock was glad to hear Rylee had arrived safely.

"Good for them," Babcock said. "We're happy to have a new Red Wing and that's exciting stuff. Glad mom is happy and the baby is happy."

Babcock said Helm shared the story with the team before Tuesday's practice.

"We've had a family program before home games all year," Babcock said. "He sat down today to present the story and guys loved it. It was a lot of fun to hear him talk."

A little over 24 hours after the birth, Helm was still in awe of Devon, and her poise and courage during the birth.

"It was pretty intense," Helm said. "I'm extremely proud of what she did, the courage and pain she had to go through. It's amazing how she did that.

"I'm so proud of her."

Helm has played in Stanley Cup Finals games and overtime playoff games, but nothing was as nerve-racking as this.

"By far," Helm said. "I mean, you have a woman in the back screaming to 'get me to the hospital' and yelling the baby is coming out. It was pretty intense."

The happiest member of Helm's family could be daughter Reese, 3, who suddenly has a baby sister.

"She couldn't wait to get to the hospital," Helm said. "She was singing on the way to the room. She's pumped.

"Everyone is just real excited."