Kendra Stein of Bowie was lying in the back of the speeding car when she realized that her baby, already a week overdue, was only minutes from birth.

"I've got to push!" she screamed at her husband, who was in the front seat, behind the wheel.

"Don't push!" yelled her husband, David, 23, who continued racing east along Route 50 on Saturday, just miles away from the Special Beginnings Birth and Women's Center in Arnold.

The debate came to a sudden end as family friend Jenny Nakao, riding in the front passenger seat, cried: "I can see the head!"

As the baby started to emerge, David Stein pulled off Route 50 onto the shoulder of Annapolis's Rowe Boulevard and prepared to deliver the infant himself. As soon as he stepped onto the road, Stein saw a welcome sight: the flashing lights of an unmarked Anne Arundel County police car.

"My wife is having a baby!" Stein yelled, his hands held high in the air. "My wife is having a baby!"

Officer Doug Brangan, who had picked up the trail of the speeding car on Route 50, sprang into action.

Brangan ran to the passenger side of the car, instructed Stein to begin helping his wife with the delivery, then called the fire department on his radio. While Brangan raced back to his patrol car for blankets, Stein coached his 20-year-old wife to push.

Then he caught his baby's head.

Kendra Stein heard her husband say gently: "'Look, the head's here. All you have to do is push out the body. You're doing good.'"

Ten minutes later, at 2:08 p.m., with cars whizzing by, Liana Stein, the couple's first child, was born.

"After he caught the baby, David just kept saying, 'I just delivered my baby, I just delivered my baby,' " Brangan recalled. "I could see that he was experiencing this euphoria, and [I couldn't] help but feel some of that, too."

Brangan, who had received first responder training, used a blanket and his finger to clean Liana's mouth and nose, then wrapped the infant in another blanket to keep her warm.

When the officer placed Liana -- a Hebrew name meaning "my God has answered me" -- into Kendra's arms, the new mom saw tears in the eyes of both her husband and the police officer.

"They were both very emotional," Kendra said. "It made me feel proud of my husband. I thought it was really sweet that the officer cared. He wasn't just doing his job. He was really a part of it."

The couple, members of the Unification Church, had prayed their child would be born before David, a youth minister, was scheduled to leave this past Sunday to direct a church summer camp in New York. But they did not expect their prayers to be answered so quickly.

Kendra Stein went into labor Friday night. She and her husband drove to the Special Beginnings birth center, but after four hours, they were sent home because the labor was not progressing. After returning home, Stein began having contractions more frequently.

"I had contractions Saturday morning," she said. "At one in the afternoon I finally told my husband, 'We've got to go. It's coming.' "

Her husband sped out of the driveway, hoping to make it to the birthing center in time for the baby's arrival.

Instead, an ambulance took mother and child from Rowe Boulevard to Anne Arundel Medical Center's maternity ward, where Liana weighed in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces. She measured 19.5 inches long.

Both Kendra and Liana went home Sunday.

The Steins said they hope to have more children, preferably in a hospital, though they are prepared for the alternative.

"Now that we know what to do," Kendra said, "we won't need to speed."