29-year-old Elana Nightingale Dawson was in the middle of her exam for the Illinois bar when she started going into labor.

Instead of leaving, she made sure she finished the exam first.

Why would she do that?

In Illinois, the exam has to be finished to be valid. If she had left, the exam would have been invalid.

“I thought if I put my head in my hands and breathe deeply and do what I learned in (birthing) class, I would get through it,” the first-time mother said. “My goal was to get through the exam as fast as I could and leave, barring anything happening that made me think there was something more imminent going on.”

Once she completed the exam, she walked with the proctor to a downtown chicago hospital where she delivered her son, Wilson, by C-section about two hours later.

“That was certainly not my plan,” said Nightingale Dawson, of Downers Grove. “With everything that I had been taught and told, I thought I had time.”

she will only be told in Otober whether she has passed the bar or not.

“The last hours of the exam were not my strongest moments in terms of focus,” she said, “so I am perfectly content with what happens.”

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