November 02, 2010 05:00 PM

Matt Priestley/Courtesy Smith Family

The “true story” of how Matt Smith‘s newborn daughter entered the world is one he will surely never forget!

The Real World: New Orleans alum assisted in delivering Stella St. Clare by the side of the San Tan freeway just outside Tempe, Arizona, after wife Candyce‘s labor progressed more quickly than anticipated on Thursday, Oct. 21.

Weighing in at 7 lbs., 11 oz., baby girl was born without complication and both mom and Stella are doing well — despite the chaotic delivery!

According to Smith, at 10 p.m. Candyce’s contractions were about two hours apart but by midnight it became clear that their daughter’s arrival was imminent.

After carrying his wife to the family car, Smith began the seven-mile drive to the hospital; When Candyce told her husband to pull over just a few moments later, however, the couple realized they were out of time.

“I opened the door, the phone on 911 clenched between my ear,” Smith, 31, explains to The Arizona Republic. “[Candyce was] very calm, but you could tell that this was not our plan.”

With a push, Stella arrived — “when I heard my baby crying, I knew she was breathing,” Smith recalls — and paramedics soon followed. With mom and baby both safe and sound, the proud new papa admits he was overcome by a wave of emotion.

“It was late at night, under a full moon,” Smith says. “I watched them put my wife on a gurney and lifted my baby into the ambulance.”

As for baby girl’s name, the couple opted for Stella over suggestions by nurses that Santana would be more fitting given the location of her birth.

“We’d rather have a freeway named after her than name her after a freeway,” Smith jokes. “I felt very blessed and was thanking God that we made it.”

Stella joins big sister Norah Grace, 2, at home.

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