Marc Hadden was once a typical firefighter, saving people from burning houses and helping cats climb down tall trees. He always found his job rewarding and being able to make a difference in the world was something that put a smile on his face.
A Life-Changing Moment
Nothing, however, could have prepared Marc for the moment when he’d be forced to deliver a baby at an emergency scene. At first, the situation was extremely stressful and life-threatening, but it ended up turning into something amazing.
A Very Devoted Man
Serving as a brave firefighter at the Myrtle Beach fire department, Marc felt like he was living his life to its fullest. Every day offered new challenges, adventure, and opportunities to make a difference in peoples’ lives. When not hanging around the firehouse or tending to emergencies, Marc fills his other main duty as a devoted husband to his wife, Beth, and father to his two sons, Will and Parker. Nothing, however, could have prepared him enough for November 14, 2011.
November 14th, 2011 started like any other regular day. Hadden brushed his teeth, put on his boots and headed towards the fire station. There wasn’t much action that morning, but it wasn’t long before all that changed. Just as the fighters sat down to eat lunch, Hadden and his peers received an emergency call. Marc recalled, “It was just a somewhat normal call… Very quickly, we realized that it was going to be a life changer for us…” What the father of two didn’t realize was that this day would be life-changing particularly for him and his family.
Once the call came in, the woman on the phone frantically explained that she was experiencing severe pain in her abdomen and she didn’t know what to do. With no time to waste, Hadden bolted to the scene with his crew to see what they could do. Although the woman’s situation needed paramedic-attention and less firefighter-care, all emergency personnel are required to help anyone in need, no matter the circumstances. When duty calls, there’s no time to transfer or make calculations.
Once Hadden arrived at the scene, it didn’t take long for him to realize why this woman was in agony. It wasn’t appendicitis or bowel obstruction – it was labor pain and an increasing series of contractions that were causing her discomfort. There was no question, this woman was about to give birth! As the clock ticked, Hadden and his crew calculated that she was going to have a baby in just a matter of minutes. As the contractions became closer and closer, the fighters began to doubt if they’d make it to the hospital on time.
No Time To Spare
Hadden told People magazine, “It was a pretty serious call for us…” Hadden told People. “We got her on some oxygen, started some IV’s and literally as we were getting ready to leave the parking lot in the ambulance, my partner said, ‘We’re about to deliver a baby right here.’” With zero time to spare and no physician on site, the men realized they were going have to deliver this baby all by themselves and that’s what they did.
Saving the woman and her baby required acting fast. The firefighters had to cut off her clothes and deliver the child asap before any complications would come about. What started out as an ordinary workday turned into an extraordinary struggle of saving two lives. For years, Hadden has been saving people, but delivering a baby was certainly something he never expected to check off his bucket list. At this point, the only thing Hadden and his friends could do was hope for the best. Marc never imagined how this ‘ordinary’ day at work would shift his future.
As Hadden took the baby girl into his arms, he went from caring for one damsel in distress to worrying about both. He recalled, “She struggled from the minute she was put in my hands…” When the baby wasn’t breathing, Hadden gave her oxygen and just when they thought all hope was lost, the baby let out her first cry, which was the biggest relief they had the whole year. “It was amazing to hear her cry,” he reminisced to People.
Soon after the girl was delivered, the mother and her newborn were admitted to the hospital and tended to. Already a single mother, struggling to raise her teenage son alone, the woman expressed her concerns to the hospital staff about caring for her baby. She made it clear that she didn’t have the means to care for her child and was planning on putting her up for adoption. When Hadden heard the woman’s words, something inside urged him to call his wife, Beth.
The Answer To Their Prayers
Just the mere thought of this child having to go through the adoption system sent shivers up Hadden’s spine. Already a father of two, he worried they wouldn’t find the newborn girl a loving home. He joked around with the doctors and told them he would be her father. Before any of this happened, Hadden and his wife were desperately wishing for a baby girl. Marc thought to himself, ‘maybe this innocent child is the answer to our prayers?’ So, was she?
Can We Keep Her?!
When Marc called his wife to share how he delivered a baby, “…He was ecstatic. I mean, he delivered a baby and who in the world gets to deliver a baby in their lifetime that’s not a doctor…” When Beth first discovered what her husband did that day, she joked with him on the phone, “Can we keep her?” After that, Hadden told her that the baby is scheduled to be put up for adoption, and that’s when Beth decided to pay a visit to the new mother.
For years, the Haddens dreamt of adopting a child and the minute Beth heard the news, she knew she could not miss this rare opportunity. Beth lamented to People, “Ever since we had the boys, we knew that we wanted more children, but I was preterm with them so we knew that it wasn’t possible to have any more babies…” Who would have guessed that the emergency call dialed just hours ago, might just turn into the biggest miracle for the Haddens? So, was the couple actually able to adopt this beautiful angel?
A Special Visit
The day after the delivery, Beth, who is an instructional coach at an elementary school, came to the hospital, to visit the woman and her newborn baby. She came with a prayer book in her hand and high hopes. “My heart just went out to this woman,” she recalled. Beth was determined to help the mother in any way she could. The two women chatted a bit and soon, the doctor came into the room to let the mother know everything was ready in order to move forward with the adoption.
Moment Of Truth
As the doctor began to discuss adoption options with the mother, her face fell as if she’d finally realized what this meant for her child’s future. Once the physician finished his words, the mother turned to Beth, looked her straight in the eye and said, “I want you to adopt my baby. I can’t give my baby to someone I’ve never met.” She then asked one of the nurses to bring in the baby girl for Beth to meet.
Love At First Glance
The moment Beth laid her eyes on the newborn, it was love at first sight. She called her husband and joyfully exclaimed, “I think we just had a baby!” This adoption was a rare opportunity, the couple had been searching for for years and now it was within arms reach. Although Marc knew he wanted to adopt the child from the get-go, receiving the mother’s blessing to adopt her was extremely meaningful and important to the Hadden couple.
It’s A Girl!
Not long after the ecstatic couple signed the adoption papers, they were given the okay to take her home. They named her Rebecca Grace, but today, she goes by Gracie. As the two lovebirds drove off with their beloved Gracie in the back, one of the first things Beth said to Marc was, “Oh my gosh, we have to pay for a wedding.” After having two boys, it felt different to finally have a girl in the family.
A Helping Hand
Hadden shared with CNN how it felt bringing Gracie home for the first time, “To see my wife’s face light up when we brought Gracie home. I can’t even begin to tell you…” The Haddens weren’t the only ones who overjoyed with their family’s new addition. Their community was extremely supportive and welcomed in Gracie with open arms. As Gracie’s touching story spread, people in the neighborhood decided to pay it forward and helped the family accommodate their new baby girl in any way they could.
A Kind Contractor
Once the story went viral, Buddy Satterfield, Hadden’s contractor, joined forces with the community and paid to add an extension to their house, in order to make room for the new baby. They added one more bedroom to their already three bedroom house, by building a partition which separated the dining from the living room. Marc announced “I don’t know what we would have done because we have definitely outgrown our home. So we’re just truly blessed to have friends that will pull together for us like this.”
The Greatest Gift Of All
Shortly after Gracie’s birth, the Myrtle Beach Fire Department awarded Marc Hadden a Firefighter of the Year Award on account of the courage he displayed and for giving little Gracie a fair chance at life. Although awards do in fact excite Marc, he still believes the greatest gift of all was being given the opportunity to adopt his precious baby girl. From the moment the Haddens and Gracie set foot in the house, she immediately became a central figure in the family.
Broaching The Subject
Although the Haddens consider Gracie their child just as much as any of their other biological kids, Beth and Marc never hid the truth about her adoption. “We told her pretty much from day one. I’ve taken her to the back of the ambulance where she was born, so she knows – no doubt about it…” It was important to the Haddens not to broach the subject as a sudden surprise, so just when Gracie was old enough to understand, they slowly and carefully introduced the subject.
Gracie is now an electrifying and happy six-year-old child who knows the entire story about her unusual birth and owns it. She tells people, “My daddy delivered me in the back of an ambulance and helped me take my first breath.” Gracie’s parents make a point to discuss with her the real story and although the circumstances of how Gracie entered the family are unconventional, the adorable little lady shares a bond with her parents stronger than any blood ties.
With a rare and beautiful history like theirs, it’s no surprise that Gracie and her dad share an especially unique bond. There’s no denying that the Haddens only daughter is a total daddy’s girl and it makes sense. Gracie tells her pops everything. Marc mentioned, “She is my best friend. We share an amazing bond… We’re tighter than thieves…” The daughter and father even have regular date nights at their favorite fast food place, Chick-fil-A, where they spend hours chatting and sharing secrets.
A Happy Family
Marc Hadden eventually retired from his firefighting job and currently works on a volunteer basis. His days, however, are even fuller now that Gracie is in his life. “Every day I look forward to waking her up, getting her ready for school, then picking her up later on…” Marc told a CNN reporter. “She has contributed to all of our lives. She is part of our family and that is absolutely the way it is. We love her.”