The pain began to get more consistent and stronger as Cindy Wayner tried to enjoy a relaxing Sunday night at her Kent home 30 weeks into her first pregnancy.
The pregnancy had gone smoothly for the 27-year-old, so the intense pains didn’t make sense. It was still much too early to give birth.
“My husband (Chris Wayner) thought I was being dramatic,” Wayner said as she recalled her story during an Aug. 19 interview.
The couple knew they were going to have a boy. They already had picked the name of Connor Patrick Wayner. But it was the night of June 13. The due date was Aug. 17.
They phoned Valley Medical Center, where a nurse told them to go ahead and drive to the hospital to be checked out.
Cindy Wayner woke up her stepdaughters, Jordan, 11, and Sienna, 7, and the family jumped in their Ford Escape to drive from their home near Kentlake High School to the Renton-based hospital.
They headed out late at night down Covington-Sawyer Road, a dark, curvy, rural two-lane street.
“Something was not right; I was in a lot of pain,” Wayner said. “I wanted my husband to pull over, but we were in the middle of nowhere.”
As Chris Wayner drove, he had Jordan call 911. The operator tried to get a handle about the emergency.
“They thought it was false labor,” Cindy Wayner said. “But the baby was coming now.”
Without a good place to stop the car, the couple decided to try to make it to Cindy’s mother’s house near the Covington library, now only a few minutes away.
Meanwhile, 911 dispatched the Kent Fire Department out of Station No. 75 along Kent-Kangley Road to meet the family at the home of Michelle Vick, Cindy’s mother. The couple saw the fire truck and followed it through traffic lights to the home.
“We pulled into the driveway and they came in right behind us,” said Kent firefighter Dan Thompson. “We got out to talk to her and she said it was going to be her first child and so we’re telling her she’s got time, it’s no big deal.”
Then Cindy Wayner began to fade in and out of consciousness as she sat in the car’s front passenger seat.
Firefighters Thompson, Bob Tonda and Steve Martineau began their examination of Wayner. Chris Wayner held a flashlight to help the firefighters see his wife.
“We looked down and she had given birth in her pants,” Thompson said. “I got the scissors and cut her pants off, grabbed a scalpel and clamps and we clamped the chord and cut the chord.”
Conner had no heartbeat. He was in cardiac arrest. Thompson gave him CPR and the heartbeat came back. Thompson continued CPR for more than 5 minutes.
Medic 1 paramedics Cal Schlagal and James Kellogg arrived and put Connor on life support.
Connor was born at 10:40 p.m. June 13. He weighed 3 pounds, 14 ounces.
Cindy Wayner does not recall seeing her son born. But the firefighters said she kept asking them, “How’s my baby?”
Paramedics took the mother and son to Valley Medical Center. Cindy Wayner didn’t get to see her son for the first time until the next day.
“I couldn’t believe how little he was,” Wayner said, of her first glimpse of her miracle baby. “And he was all black and blue. I felt so bad.”
Doctors told Wayner she had nothing to worry about.
“They said I had done everything right and they didn’t see any issues with him,” Wayner said. “He never was incubated.”
Because Connor was born nearly two months premature, however, he remained in the hospital for six weeks.
Wayner brought her son last week to Kent Fire Station No. 75 to thank the firefighters for saving his life.
“I can’t thank them enough,” she said. “He would not be here today if it was not for them. I am very lucky.”
Connor now weighs 8 pounds. He is as healthy as can be.
“There is no damage,” his mother said. “There’s nothing wrong.”
During the informal gathering at the fire station, Wayner gave a plaque to the firefighters with a photo of Connor and a description of his dramatic birth. The firefighters gave Wayner outfits for Connor featuring a fire truck.
The firefighters saw Connor a few weeks ago for the first time since they saved his life.
“We all teared up,” Thompson said. “He’s a cool, little kid.”
Cindy Wayner plans to return to her job as a Kent School District bus driver in October. She missed driving the final week of school in June due to her son’s birth.
Vick, who also drives a bus for the Kent School District, said her grandson has gained a reputation around town.
“He’s considered the baby born in the driveway.”