CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF
BURNET — Kara East awoke just before 5:30 a.m. when baby Jeanette let her mother know it was time to be born, even though she wasn’t scheduled for at least four more days.
Without a hint of what was to come Breydon and Kara East’s second child would arrive healthy and without complications about 30 minutes later on fast-paced drive down Texas 29 from Burnet to St. David’s Hospital in Georgetown; a trek which typically takes about 50 minutes.
The circumstances unfolded Feb. 23 — coincidentally, around the same time racers 1,100 miles away began preparations to hit the speedway at the Daytona 500 in Florida.
While NASCAR drivers primed their engines in Daytona Beach, the Easts jumped on the fast track toward their daughter’s delivery.
“I woke up that morning and thought, ‘These contractions are harder,'” Kara East said. “Then, my water broke.”
Their son, 18-month-old Breydon II, was with family members as the couple began their dash to the hospital.
“I thought, ‘Let’s Go!'” Breydon East said.
East, a 24-year-old youth pastor and a computer technician for the Burnet school district, described how a sense of urgency coupled with focus and prayer kept him and his wife steady during the trip.
He loaded his wife into their Pontiac Aztec and headed for the main highway into Georgetown.
“It was dark and foggy. We hit a bad patch of fog. I said, ‘Jesus, help me.’ We got to the top of the hill. It cleared up, and I thought, ‘Now, I can go faster.'”
The car’s average speed topped 85 mph.
“It was so early in the morning, there were hardly any cars out,” said Kara East, who remained in the passenger’s seat for the entire trip. “I was telling him, ‘Hurry, because I don’t know if we’re going to make it.'”
When they reached the city of Bertram, an officer pulled them over.
“The cop came to the door. He shined the light in there. I had a contraction, and I said, ‘We really, really have to go.’ He let us on our way.”
As they continued down the roadway, her contractions worsened.
“I was praying a lot. I was praying to God to let me make it. Don’t let anything happen to the baby,” she said. “I started feeling the need to push. I didn’t know how long she could be in there with it being safe.”
She removed her sweatpants and focused on cues from her body. She pushed.
“I said to Breydon, ‘Her head is here. I feel her head!'”
Her husband turned on the dome light. He glanced down and saw the baby’s head crowning.
“He said, ‘Oh, my God!’ and hit the gas.”
The car lurched forward. Breydon East said he glanced at the speedometer. The car was traveling 105 mph.
“I felt like the Flash — that superhero,” he said.
Kara East said she held onto the baby, she pushed once more and birthed her daughter.
Baby Jeannette began crying right away.
Breydon East slowed as he approached the Georgetown city limits.
Kara East snuggled the baby and kept her warm underneath her blouse.
At the hospital, healthcare workers loaded her into a wheelchair, transported her to a delivery room and cut the baby’s umbilical chord.
“I thought, ‘Did that really just happen?'” Breydon East said. “I don’t want to do it again. That’s for sure.”
After a few tests, the doctor gave little Jeannette and her mother a clean bill of health.
Less than 48 hours later, the Easts took their newborn home.
“I’m just thankful that Jesus had his hand on us, and everybody’s healthy,” he said. “Now, if K.K. ever says something, I’m going to listen,” said Breydon East, referring to his wife by her family nickname. “You don’t ever mess with a woman who can deliver her own baby.”
The couple credits their faith, her instinct and his steady hand for the safe yet speedy arrival of baby Jeannette.
“Whether it’s a regular delivery or a crazy circumstance like we experienced, you just have to know it’s in God’s hands,” she said. “I’m going to tell her that she has no reason to be late for anything.”