Bridge Birth Reunion

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A man believed to be the first person born on the Mackinac Bridge has been reunited with the emergency medical technician who delivered him nearly 24 years ago.

Medic Cathy Flores said Shawn Shuman entered the world at 5:10 p.m. on May 11, 1983. His mother, Kim, had visited her doctor in Kinross in the Upper Peninsula when she thought she might be having contractions even though she was just six months pregnant.

"I didn't feel well at all," she told the Cheboygan Daily Tribune for a Friday. "The doctor said I should go to the hospital in Petoskey because they had a specialist and the only neonatal unit in the area at the time if the baby did come early, but he didn't think I would have the baby that day."

Flores said she had been with the Kinross Ambulance Corps for about a year and a half when she helped Kim Shuman in the back of the ambulance as they crossed the 5 mile-long Mackinac Bridge. Mary Fletcher, the driver, decided to head back to the hospital in St. Ignace, at the bridge's northern end.

"I told Mary we didn't have much time, and she made a U-turn in a service cut-across on the freeway," Flores said. "We had our emergency lights on and had crossed already."

A police officer pulled over their vehicle for making an illegal turn.

"I yelled out that we were having a baby in the back if he wanted to help and then he let us go," Flores said.

The ambulance pulled off the bridge roadway at Pier 17, the bridge's south anchor block, to work on the delivery, Flores said.

Shawn Shuman, 23, weighed just 2 pounds, 3 1/2 ounces upon arrival at Mackinac Straits Hospital. He was transported in a mobile incubator to the Petoskey hospital, where he stayed for about two-and-one-half months.

Shuman said his birthplace occasionally comes up in conversations.

"I've had people bring up where I'm from and the bridge and they are like, 'no way' when I tell them where I was born," he said. "I'm glad my mom didn't name me Mac, though."


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