Maverick delivery: Anxious baby leaves mom on her own
by John Peel
Copyright ©1999 The Durango Herald, Aug. 14, 1999 – Jenni Jessen, a midwife, was the only one around to bring a healthy baby boy into the world recently at her Dalton Ranch home.
Let’s emphasize that again: The only one.
She is the proud mother and deliverer of 8-day-old Maverek Jessen, who was born a couple weeks early and very suddenly Aug. 6 at Jenni and Kelly Jessen’s home.
The Jessens had planned a home birth, but wanted to have at least immediate family members there when it happened.
“It was a really, really intense 20 minutes,” Jenni said.
Maverek is their third child. Both Grayson, 8, and Scarlet, 2, were born after quick labor periods — 4 hours for Grayson and 3½ for Scarlet — but Maverek was by far the speediest.
Jenni, 27, said that at 5 p.m. on Aug. 6 she was feeling “yucky.” She was nauseous, clammy and thought she might have eaten something bad.
Kelly, 28, took the children to go look at a dirt bike at about 5:30 p.m. At about that time Jenni felt a contraction and thought it might be early labor pains. But she had experienced contractions periodically for several weeks, and assumed that at the very least, she had several hours before birth.
She began to run water in the bath to prepare for a water delivery. A week before, she had set up the basic equipment needed — oxygen, a heartbeat monitor and other various items.
Then she had an “awful contraction” and got in the bath. The second contraction really made her take notice; she didn’t remember such intensity during two previous births.
A doctor and a midwife had offered to help with the delivery if needed, but at this point, Jessen was on her own.
After the third contraction she could feel the baby’s head, and on the fourth, she brought Maverek out, underwater.
It was 5:50 p.m., just 20 minutes after Kelly had left.
“I thought I had a good couple of hours to go,” she said Thursday, holding a very mellow baby. “He was anxious to get out.”
The next immediate task was to contact Kelly. She couldn’t reach him by cellular phone, so she called his pager, leaving this message:
“It wasn’t something I ate. It was your son. Come home.”
Kelly and the children had just reached the Durango city limits. He had to listen to the message twice to comprehend it; the first time he wondered why Jenni was referring to Grayson, who was in the car with him.
He did a U-turn and called Jenni.
“Is it here?” he asked, and then sped home. They found mother kneeling in the bedroom, nursing child No. 3, the umbilical cord still connected.
“I leave home for 20 minutes, come home and my son’s there,” Kelly said.
Said Jenni: “He was just kind of in shock.”
“I knew that he was in good hands,” said Kelly. “She remained calm, did exactly what she had to do.”
The excited Grayson took off down the street and shared the news with neighbors. Later, when Kelly peeked out the front door to see where Grayson was, several neighbors waved in congratulations.
Meanwhile, Jenni’s brother and sister-in-law and their children were en route to Durango to help with the birth. The Jessens contacted them by cell phone in New Mexico the evening of the birth. They arrived a day too late to witness the spectacle.
As Grayson played outside Thursday afternoon with his relatives and the new dirt bike, the Jessens enjoyed their quiet son. He has only cried twice, when we were changing his clothes, Jenni marveled.
The couple has been in the Animas Valley since mid-May, having moved here from Dallas. Kelly is a software engineer for Sprint, and can work from anywhere in the country. They hope to stay here.
Maverek seems content here. He has been to church and to the rodeo, and most of the time sleeps blissfully.
He made an unconventional entrance. The name they chose months ago fits, Jenni said. Maverek has been a maverick.