DETROIT >> There are baby birthing stories and then there are baby birthing stories.
Darren Helm has one of those baby birthing stories.
Helm and his girlfriend, Devon, welcomed their second daughter into the world from the backseat of the car as the Wings’ speedy forward tried desperately to get to the hospital on time.
He was five minutes way Providence Park Hospital.
“It was quite the experience, quite the ordeal,” Helm said. “But everything is good now. She came about seven days and five minutes too early.
“It was pretty intense,” Helm continued. “I’m extremely proud of what she did. The courage and the pain that she had to go through is amazing. How she did that I’m so proud of her, proud of the baby. It was a pretty good day when everything was kind of cleared and everyone was feeling pretty good.”
The delivery occurred at 2:15 a.m., Monday.
“It’s just a huge relief,” Helm said. “Five minutes too late to the hospital things could have got a lot worse, but luckily, fortunately, things worked out in the right way for us. Couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out and we have a pretty funny story now that we think about it.
“I don’t think I’ve been more nervous in my life and scared,” Helm continued. “I didn’t really have a chance to think about it until after. During, obviously, I was petrified, but things ended up working out great. Took me a good four to five (hours) … the whole day to calm down. It was an early delivery, so the whole day I was on edge just thinking about it.”
His daughter, Rylee Clare (six pounds, 10 ounces), and girlfriend were expected back home Tuesday afternoon.
“Right now I’m here,” Helm said after the Wings’ morning skate prior to their game Tuesday night at home against the Arizona Coyotes. “In five minutes my mind is going to be focused about getting home.”
A tired Helm was in bed around 11 p.m. after the team had just beaten the St. Louis Blues in overtime.
“She kind of woke me up and told me things were kind of happening, but not really fast,” Helm recalled. “So we kind of took our time. Should have been a little more (quicker) I guess.
“Devon kept on saying that she had the urge to push and they said when the baby’s ready, the baby’s ready,” Helm continued. “She can’t really control much about it. We tried to make it there. She tried to hold her back. But they said it happens every once in a while, but not often. They’ve always told us the second one comes quicker, but we didn’t expect it to be that quick.”
Helm’s other daughter, Reece, is three and a half years old.
“We called ahead and told them before we left,” Helm said. “But it was pretty much as we were leaving where things kicked into high gear. I went to the ER and they were ready. Then the people that we called came over. It didn’t take us too long to get us back into the actual baby room. She was cleaned up. Got to cut the cord and everything was fine.”
This birth really put a lot of things into perspective for Helm.
“I definitely haven’t been thinking about hockey for the last … this is probably the first time I thought about hockey,” Helm said. “Yeah, my mind is definitely on her and getting home. It will be the first time she’s home. It’s such a great feeling. Real proud of Devon and what she did.
“My older daughter is just so happy and excited to be a big sister and helping her out,” Helm continued. “She’s already trying to help us with changing diapers and giving her hugs. She couldn’t wait to get to the hospital (Monday). She was singing a little ‘I’m Excited’ song on the way to the room. She’s pumped. I think everyone is just real excited.”
Helm, who missed practice Monday, will be in the lineup Tuesday.
“Can you just imagine,” Wings coach Mike Babcock asked. “We’ve had a family program before home games all year basically, where guys present. He’s already done it but he sat down today and presented the story and the guys loved it and it was a lot of fun to hear him talk.
“Is that awesome or what? It’s unbelievable that that could still happen,” Babcock continued. “I just think back to many moons ago when we had ours, I can just imagine the urgency and the tension right there.”