New Life

In the Midst of the Chaotic Winter Storm, with No Power Or Water, a Baby Was Born

A Magnolia woman gave birth at home during the historic Arctic blast.

By Brittany Cristiano February 19, 2021

It was Monday, February 15, the second day of the rare winter storm that was slamming the entire state of Texas. The roads were slick with icy snow that had fallen the night before, most households in southeast Texas were without power and a stable water supply, and, by the looks of it, it wasn’t getting any warmer.

As Monday evening arrived, and it became increasingly clear that the power not be back any time soon, Magnolia resident Jenny Passman, 29, who was nine months pregnant, and set to give birth to her second child on Wednesday at a birthing center, grew increasingly worried. Crying to her husband, Josh, as they huddled near the gas fireplace in their bedroom for warmth, she ran through every possibility. It wouldn't be happening at the birthing center, which had closed earlier that day when both the power and the water went out. Would she have to give birth here? What would they do if there was a problem and the ambulance couldn't reach them? She couldn't make herself stop rattling through the options. 

“All of these ‘what if?’ scenarios are running through your mind,” Jenny tells Houstonia. “Plan A and B aren’t working, so what are plans C, D, and E?”

And just a couple hours later, at 2 a.m., Jenny went into labor.

Despite the nerves, she says her contractions were manageable for the first two hours. Josh had been siphoning gas from their lawnmower to power their generator so they could light some lamps, while also heating some water in pots to put in their bathtub hoping to quell the pain of Jenny's contractions. But then her body took over, moving more quickly than either of them had expected.

“It just really ramped up extremely fast,” Jenny says. 

Josh was now tasked with carefully driving his four-wheel truck on the slick streets across town to pick up Jenny’s midwife. In the meantime, a couple of neighbors stayed with the anxious mother in case something went awry during Josh’s drive. The pain became unbearable, she says. In the nick of time, Josh and midwife Holly bursted through the bedroom door and got to work.

It was like something out of Little House On the Prairie. She was giving birth in her own bed with a fireplace being her only heat source, whether she liked it or not.

“I wouldn’t say the experience was traumatizing because my midwife was there and my husband was there, and they did such a wonderful job,” Jenny says. “But I was definitely begging to be put out of my misery by the end.”

By 6 a.m Jenny was cradling a healthy baby boy named Clyde. Two days later, the Passmans' electricity came back on—at least one happy ending to a nightmare of a week.

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