Months ago, Texas couple Robert and Falon Griffin purchased a “Little Nugget” Chick-fil-A onesie for their unborn daughter. Falon, known as Maggie, told her husband “I have to have that,” and Rob replied, “Of course you do.” Little did they know how utterly appropriate the outfit would be.
Around 10:00 p.m. on July 17, the Griffins were on their way to San Antonio’s University Hospital because Maggie had started to feel contractions. The couple still had their two young daughters in the vehicle and were dropping them off at a meeting spot to stay with a family friend. The meeting spot was the local Stone Ridge Chick-fil-A.
By the time they got to the restaurant, Maggie says, “My hand hurt from gripping the door handle.”
“We came skidding into the parking spot, sideways, with tires screeching,” says Rob. In fact, Amanda, the friend that was picking up the two older Griffin girls, also came peeling into the parking lot at the same time. “I’m surprised [the staff] didn’t call 911 right then!”
At this point, Maggie realizes that her contractions have intensified, and she must use the restroom. The restaurant, however, was closed. They banged on the door and the staff, thankfully, let Maggie in, according to a Facebook post by Robert. “I could see the top of our little girls [SIC] head crowning,” he relays in the post. “I told Maggie, ‘Sweetie, we are gonna have to do this right here, right now.’”
Maggie’s pregnancy was considered high risk for numerous reasons. Prior to this pregnancy, Maggie had been at lunch with friends when she suddenly had a grand mal seizure. She flatlined and began turning blue when an ER nurse, who happened to be dining at the restaurant as well, began giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. CPR was performed in the ambulance, and Maggie was kept in the hospital for four days. Tests were run, and abnormalities were found on both sides of her brain, which is unusual. They were unable to determine why Maggie flatlined, but provided medicine that she will take for the rest of her life, which should prevent future episodes.
In addition to Maggie’s health, there were considerations regarding the health of the child. Rob, 47, and Maggie, 36, did not expect to become pregnant again. But God blessed them with this third daughter.
Due to Maggie’s epileptic seizures, she was recommended to an OBGYN who was also a maternal fetal medicine doctor, Dr. Patrick Ramsey. She had been seeing the doctor regularly when diagnostic tests came back 100% positive for Down Syndrome with a possibility of heart defects in the baby.
The delivery date was set for August 1st. The Griffins were told that there would be eight to ten doctors in the room to assist with the birth as well as residents from University Hospital to observe. It was planned that the baby would be rushed to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) following her birth where she would undergo testing, including an echocardiogram, to ensure her health was stable. Maggie was told that there would be no skin-to-skin contact following the birth until after all testing was complete.
While none of the Griffin’s doctors suggested it, there were other individuals and professionals who hinted at the “convenience of an abortion.” It would be a risky pregnancy, but Rob and Maggie insisted that there was “no way in hell it would cross our minds.” This child was a blessing from God, and He would ensure that the delivery was safe for both mom and baby.
The Chick-fil-A chain has made headlines with its strong Christian stance. The company’s founder, Truett Cathy, made the decision to close on Sundays “so that he and his employees could set aside one day to rest and worship if they choose,” according to the Chick-fil-A website. Patrons across the US know that if they are craving a chicken sandwich on a Sunday, they are out of luck. This Christian-based restaurant has upheld these values since opening its doors in 1946 in Hapeville, Georgia.
And here, at 10:00 at night, after the Stone Ridge Chick-fil-A had closed its doors and dimmed the lights, were two very insistent people banging on the door and asking to use the restroom. Brenda Enriquez, the Chick-fil-A drive-thru director, was done for the night and only waiting for the remaining three young workers to get rides home. But she opened the door to the couple.
Maggie raced to the ladies room while Rob helped Amanda get his daughters buckled in her car. By the time he got into the little stall, the baby’s head was already crowning. Rob yelled to Brenda to call 911 and prepared to catch his child. Maggie gave birth standing up right there in the Chick-fil-A restroom. “I was praying to God in the stall,” says Maggie. “That’s all I could do was pray.”
Maggie had planned for an epidural, as she had with her previous pregnancies. “I never knew that my threshold for pain was so high,” she writes in a Facebook post. “The contractions in active labor were the worst part of it all. I wanted an epidural so badly.”
The pain was intense, but the baby’s head had been delivered. Her face was blue, and Rob realized that the cord was wrapped twice around her neck. Maggie, who was unaware of the dangerous situation, rested a moment, while Robert managed to unwrap the cord. “With two more strong pushes, and using my shirt for a towel, out came Gracelyn Mae Violet Griffin,” says Rob.
But the baby wasn’t crying. She was blue, which could be related to her oxygen levels or her body temperature. Rob worried not only for his child, but was also afraid that his wife could go into a seizure at any moment.
“I couldn’t even cry,” says Maggie. “I was simply praying for the baby to cry. When she finally wailed, and I saw her… she was so beautiful!”
Rob and Maggie have been married for eleven years. “I never thought I could love him more, but I fell deeper in love when he delivered our baby,” Maggie says softly. Rob laughs and replies, “But it wasn’t all glitter and unicorns.” There was a lot of blood and fluids, and the couple was in a public restroom.
Like any mom, Maggie says she couldn’t help but cringe at the thought of the germs, but was thankful when hospital testing showed that Gracie had no infections.
“I initially only had two paper towels and my Trump t-shirt,” Rob says. He asked Brenda for towels. It was originally reported that the Chick-fil-A staff heated the towels, but when several members of the staff, Brenda included, visited the Griffins in the hospital later, they found out the truth. The new, clean towels were kept in a storage room next to the manager’s office. The air conditioning had just broke that day in only that room. With the Texas daytime temperatures reaching over 100 degrees, the towels were warm and toasty, the perfect temperature in which to wrap up little Gracie.
At this point, Rob and Maggie realized that because of the umbilical cord, they could not move. Maggie had to remain standing above the toilet while Rob stood beside her holding baby Gracie down by his knees. Rob had cleared the baby’s throat, and her color was slowly coming back.
Rob, with the help of the 911 dispatcher and Brenda, was able to keep Gracie stable and her mom calm until paramedics arrived at the restaurant about 15 minutes later. The paramedic was unable to get into the stall as well, so he handed both the clamps and scalpel to Rob to cut the cord.
The couple had pulled into the Chick-fil-a parking lot at exactly 10:22. Rob says he removed his wedding ring and watch at 10:30 so that he could catch the baby without hurting her. Maggie still had not delivered the placenta and when asked by the paramedic to push, Maggie said she just couldn’t. “I was physically worn.”
It took 25 minutes for the ambulance to get to the hospital. The couple laughs as they recall the confusion upon arriving. “I overheard the ambulance driver call in. It’s a giant hospital. There was at least a ten second back and forth between the hospital and ambulance as they tried to figure out where to take us.”
“Do we take ‘em to labor and delivery?” Rob recalls the driver asking. “Because they’ve already delivered the baby.” There was a slight pause followed by the static-filled response. “Stand by.”
The baby’s birth certificate was officially documented with Chick-Fil-A as the birthplace and the baby’s father as the attending physician. Robert adds, “I think it’s pretty ironic that a proud conservative, Christian family would have a baby in a Chick-Fil-A and wrapped in a Trump 2020 T-shirt!”
The baby, although born two weeks early, did not spend a minute in the NICU. Her oxygen levels were initially low, but evened out, and Gracie was in good health. “All the doctors kept saying ‘Good job, Dad!’” and the couple was left thinking, “Did that really just happen?”
Gracie and her family receives free Chick-fil-A for life, and she also got a certificate guaranteeing her first job at the store.
This Christian family experienced more than the miracle of birth that night. “There were a lot of things that were randomly appropriate that night,” says Robert in reference to the Chick-fil-A onesie, “and there were some that were outright divine intervention…. Something bigger than us just stepped in and put His hand on this situation.”
Written by Laurie Esposito Harley for Giantability Media Network