Washington (CNN) -- On Capitol Hill, a debt ceiling deadline loomed. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords made an emotional surprise visit to the House floor. In the rest of the nation's capital, thousands of rush-hour commuters dotted the city on their way to work.
On New York Avenue, a deadly motorcycle accident jammed the street. Traffic piled up and stopped moving.
A man driving a silver Chevrolet van was frantically making his way toward a hospital. His 24-year-old daughter was about to have a baby. She was screaming in pain.
Panicked, the man dialed 911.
"My daughter is having a baby," he said.
"What's the address?" asked the dispatcher.
"I'm not at an address. I am in the car on the way to the hospital. Her water had broke."
The dispatcher asked for a location.
"I'm on New York Avenue and 1st Street," the man said.
He said he was trying to make it to a hospital; his voice drowned out by piercing wails.
"Can you put your flashers on?" the dispatcher said, trying to direct the man to the closest fire station. "Hello?" Hello?"
"The baby just came out," the man said.
"You said the baby came out?" the dispatcher asked, wanting to make sure he understood. "How is the baby doing right now?"
The man said she was crying but breathing. The dispatcher told him his daughter needed to hold the baby in her arms.
"Keep the head elevated," the dispatcher said.
The baby was born moments before emergency crews arrived on the scene to whisk mother and child to a hospital.
Paramedics had arrived an hour earlier to a grim scene of death: The driver of the motorcycle was killed when he struck the back of a truck, reported CNN affiliate WJLA. This time, they arrived to celebrate new life.