Midwife uses inflatable swan to get through Texas flood to a woman in labour

Andrea Haley

Good news stories have been in high demand amid all the tales of hardship from Houston’s unprecedented flooding.

One story has been getting widely shared which, though it isn’t actually from this year, serves to remind people that Texas has been through this before and survived – and that you should never underestimate a midwife.

Back in April 2016, the state was hit by a storm system coming not from the gulf coast but from the Colorado mountains, dumping more rain on Houston and Galveston in a day than could run over Niagara falls in 88 hours.

In the flooding that followed, a midwife was widely praised for doing everything she could to get to her client and deliver her baby, eventually seeking alternative transportation in the form of a giant inflatable swan.

Cathy Rude, who had been a midwife for 24 years, was caught up in the waist-high waters in the city of Katy just west of Houston.

Rude told Today Parents afterwards that she learned her patient, Andrea Haley, had been having contractions and was approaching active labour.

However, a look outside her window confirmed that there was no way she could traverse the deep waters and keep her birthing supplies undamaged.

She said:

I was concerned, as she was, that if her water were to break, things would happen very quickly. So, we started asking how I was going to get out of the house if that happened.

Ms Haley, whose labour pains developed further, got her mother and husband Daniel to drive her to the midwife’s street in an attempt to pick her up. The entire place, they found, was flooded.

But the pregnant woman soon noticed a big, inflatable swan with a woman on it, floating down the street.

“Andrea yelled out the window of the truck and said, ‘Hey, would you be willing to give my midwife a ride so she can deliver my baby?” Ms Rude said. The woman agreed to help.

[Then she] called me and said, ‘A swan is coming to pick you up.’ I laughed and gathered all my stuff and opened the front door and sure enough there was an inflatable swan with my neighbour behind it. So I climbed on and she pushed me to the end of the street and I was able to climb off the swan and into the pick-up truck and off we went to the birth centre. She had the baby later that evening.

The boy, who was later called Bennett, was Ms Haley’s third child and the second to be delivered by the 63-year-old midwife.

Of the birth, Ms Rude said: “A midwife is not just a care provider, she’s your friend. I think she was appreciative, but I don’t think she was very surprised, because as midwives, that’s just what we do.”

HT Today

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