NEWBERG, Ore. -- The first baby born this new year in the Newberg-Sherwood area has quite the story to tell. He absolutely couldn't wait to come out Tuesday night.

Little Jace Malay was born so fast, his parents were still driving on Highway 99 just minutes from the hospital, and his mom delivered him all by herself in the front seat.

It happened where Highway 240 and 99 meet in Newberg. There's a local burger joint and a Papa Murphy's on the corner. That's where baby Jace met his mom and a whole bunch of paramedics.

"He's been opening his eyes a lot, looking around trying to figure out what's going on with everybody," said dad Josh Malay as he looked at his newborn son in their birthing suite at Providence-Newberg Medical Center on Wednesday.

Baby Jace.
Baby Jace.

Jace doesn't know what all the fuss is over. He just wanted to see the world, a little quicker than everyone else planned.

"It was really, really fast," laughed mom Brooke Gregor. Just before 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Brooke felt her water break after a few hours of minor contractions. She and her husband Josh hopped in the car from their home in Carlton. Down curvy Highway 99 toward Newberg, at just over 25 mph, Brooke knew, this baby was moving faster than they were.

"A contraction hit and I could feel the urge to push and I thought oh no, this can't be happening, that doesn't happen! Maybe two contractions later, I was like he's coming! He's coming, I can't stop him and he just popped right out," she said.

Josh was still driving. Panicked and with his wife holding their brand new son, the Papa Murphy's was the first landmark he could think of.

"I just got on the phone with 911 immediately and tried to keep pace with them and this was the first place in town I thought of it and I said I'll meet up with you there," Josh said.

Police blocked the street while medics checked out mom and baby. "I was panicking a lot, she was calm and cool as a cucumber," Josh said. "EMTs spent more time with me than they did with her, I was a mess, they did a great job."

Everyone is happy and healthy with Jace crossing the finish line at 7 pounds, 14 ounces, and with the title of first baby of the new year for Providence-Newberg Medical Center.

"What if he wasn't breathing, or the cord was wrapped around his neck, there's so many things could have happened and we're just so blessed that everything was okay when he came."

Brooke had planned to have a medicated birth with an epidural and everything. She said her adrenaline was going so hard, she really didn't have any pain. They plan to go home Thursday.