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Fasten seat belts, Van's here
Family vehicle is site of newborn's birth

His parents have given him a perfectly proper name -- Grayson James Ruff -- but all of his relatives want to call him Van.

That's because of where little Grayson was when he greeted the world Tuesday -- in the back of the family minivan.

When his dad, Eric, left home in Hamburg for work that morning, his mom, Tonya, who had been feeling contractions for a couple of days, told Eric to be ready to come get her at a moment's notice. That moment came about 15 minutes after Eric arrived in downtown Buffalo at Shea's Performing Arts Center, where he is a development associate.

Tonya said goodbye to their two girls -- Lila, 5, and Gillian, 3 -- and was waiting in the driveway when Eric returned. They immediately took off on Route 219 for Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo.

"When I finally realized we would not make it, I told him to pull over and call 911," Tonya said.

But Eric kept driving and talking to the 911 operator.

"I was panicking at first," said Tonya, "then I felt this calm come over me. I thought, we've just got to do it. And we did."

Emergency medical technicians from Windom Volunteer Fire Company arrived moments after Eric pulled over near the Milestrip Road exit. Grayson's head already was showing, and they helped complete the delivery.

"They just jumped into the back of the van," Tonya said, "and two or three pushes, and he was out."

The medics, fearing that the baby would suffer from the cold, whisked him into the ambulance. Tonya joined him, and they rushed to the hospital, where Grayson was taken to the nursery, where he stayed until his body temperature was normal three or four hours later. He weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces.

"He's doing well," Tonya said. "He's the most laid-back and calm baby, considering how he arrived."

His relatives are already calling him Miles, for Milestrip Road, Tonya said, as well as Van-tastic or Van.

"I've got to stop the family from calling him that," she said.

e-mail: danderson@buffnews.com

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