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Cedar Rapids baby, born in aftermath of derecho, turns one

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 5:42 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - One year ago, the Chestnut family welcomed a bundle of joy in the midst of a disaster.

Maple Mae Chestnut turned one Wednesday after being born in the immediate aftermath of the derecho. Her mother, Deirdre Chestnut, went to her 40-week baby appointment in Iowa City on August 10, not knowing a derecho would hit Cedar Rapids.

“We didn’t hear from mom for another four hours when she got home,” Corey Chestnut, her husband, said.

When Deirdre finally made it home, it did not look the way she’d left it.

“The front of our house was smashed off and we had a 30-foot hole in the back of our house,” Deirdre said.

Corey and their daughters Magnolia, 6, and Willow, 3, were safe inside. But like the rest of the city, they were without power.

Later that night, Deirdre went into labor.

“By 11 p.m. I knew that I was really in active labor,” Deirdre said.

Deirdre labored through the night and with the help of three midwives she had Maple in the home’s basement. For lighting, they relied on candles and flashlights.

“I had that morning had a full nonstress test, every single thing that could have, I had an ultrasound that day. I mean really truly every single thing was completely healthy and safe,” Deirdre said.

Having Maple at home was a plan the couple had in place before the storm, as an option during an unpredictable pandemic.

“You know two hours old, three hours old and the family was back together so it was pretty amazing to have the baby and have the family all be there,” Corey said.

The name Maple, was even picked far before the family lost five trees, including one Maple.

“After everything that had happened in the last 24 hours it was like, there’s goodness too,” Deirdre said.

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