Sometimes I get a little jealous of my team members who make entries into this “journal” that we call Star Chat each month. Each of them have contributed some unique and compelling insights into their lives. After all, this is a business about relationships, and I look forward each month to reading what my team member shares with us and improving my relationship with them. DeLois and I usually spend our entries commenting on present market conditions, growth in our team, changes in our business, events we’re planning, or community events. When I was considering my entry for this month’s Star Chat, though, I had no doubt it would take on a different complexion that I hope you’ll be able to appreciate since it concerns the birth of our second daughter, Hannah Lois, on September 11th.

I frequently make the joke around the office that I’m waiting for us (our team and my family) to make our reality show debut on one of the prominent (or obscure) cable networks. In fact, I believe Wendy Gay, one of our talented Buyer Specialists, alluded to this ongoing joke in one of her recent Star Chat writings. Our team works very hard, but sometimes you just have to step back and chuckle a little (or a lot) at the events of our days. Maybe you can relate. It’s easy to take yourself too seriously in this business, so it’s healthy to laugh and keep things in balance. And, honestly, in our case, truth can be much more entertaining than fiction. I start imagining how funny all of this house selling and family life would be if someone were just watching it, and I catch myself feeling a little like Jim Halpert from NBC’s The Office, searching for the cameras.

Monday, September 10th at 11:26 p.m. was one of those moments that would have certainly made for great TV! Amelia and I learned in January that we were expecting our second child. We were excited and overwhelmed! Overwhelmed because the Watkinses really know how to create a lot of work and excitement. (Amelia would likely blame most of this on me, but she’s a mighty fine accomplice.) In addition to a new pregnancy, a 3-year-old, and more than full-time careers, we also decided it was a good time for me to begin an Executive MBA program at Tulane University as well as making our fifth house move in as many years by late Summer. (We’re done with house moving for a while, and this time I mean it!) Without the pregnancy, there was plenty of material for the cameras to catch. Fast forward to the evening of September 10th, and you’d find us successfully moved, half of an MBA under our belts, a 3 1/2-year-old sound asleep in her room, and me coming in late that evening from showing homes to some friends of ours. Amelia had been experiencing early signs of labor all day, but nothing consistent. In spite of this, I decided I could still squeeze in showing some houses that evening before dark, and before you scold me, Amelia also encouraged me to proceed as planned and keep the phone handy.

When I got home, things appeared pretty much the same: sporadic and widely spaced contractions and a great deal of discomfort. We decided to settle in bed for the night and see what happened. Then at 11:26 labor accelerated from 0 to 100 mph! And accelerated is no understatement. Let’s just say that my quiet and reserved Amelia was anything but quiet, and for good reason! I quickly called our Aunt June and my Mom to ask one of them to come to our house since we were becoming very aware that we did not have the time to pack up Abigail and take her to one of their homes. We quickly loaded into the car and waited. They arrived between 11:40 and 11:45 p.m. as Amelia and I raced to the hospital. Hazard lights on. Speeding. Calling Labor and Delivery to tell them we were on our way. The contractions grew so closely together you could not easily determine when one started and another stopped, and Amelia began saying aloud that she didn’t know if we would make it. I kept assuring her that we would make it to the hospital; we would get there! The thought of delivering the baby myself was a terrifying thought. We literally “wheeled” into the labor and delivery entrance at Forrest General right around midnight.

Things were moving so quickly, and there seemed to be no time to spare. I flung my car door open and helped Amelia out of the car. I didn’t even think to turn off the car, close the door, or lock it. There it sat, ready for someone to drive it away if they wished, and I couldn’t have cared less. Amelia wouldn’t even pause for a wheelchair - we stumbled down the hallway and finally reached Labor and Delivery. Bless the poor soul who began feeding paperwork and disclosures to a redhead in the advanced stages of labor. There were no nurses or doctors in sight. Just the sweet lady in charge of registration who was quickly becoming overwhelmed by all of this drama. Amelia struggled to sign the disclosures, and the lady behind the counter began frantically calling for the nurses and doctor as well as assigning Amelia to a room. In the very brief break between contractions, Amelia “encouraged” me to go park the car! I managed to do that and get back to find Amelia in a room just as they were hooking up the heart monitor for Hannah.

The time was 12:06 a.m. Initially, it seems the nurses didn’t completely understand how very close the delivery was, but quickly learned that we had only a few more minutes and rushed to assemble all the necessary “hardware” for the delivery. Dr. Glaze arrived shortly around 12:15 a.m., and at 12:19 a.m., a healthy Hannah Lois Watkins was born - all 7 pounds, 6 ounces, and 21 inches of her. If you calculate the time of all these events, you’ll quickly discover that delivery was 54 minutes from when advanced labor began; about 35 minutes from when we left our home; and only 13 minutes from when Amelia was placed in a room! We very literally almost did not make it! Had this occurred in the middle of the day, traffic would have surely prevented us from doing so. We are so thankful to God for this blessing and for once again taking care of our needs up to the very minute. We give Him the glory for that! I always brag on how efficient Amelia is at everything she does, but if there is a next time, I’m hoping we’re slightly less efficient. Thirteen minutes is a bit quicker than this daddy was expecting.

As the adrenaline began to wear off, I couldn’t help but remember all of the 80’s sitcoms I watched as a child where the father dramatically, frantically, and clumsily raced to get his very “vocal” wife to the hospital in just the nick of time for delivery. Not knowing very much about that entire process as a little boy, I asked my mom if that’s how it really happened. She would always assure me, “No, no. That’s not real. They’re being dramatic for television.” As it turns out, she’s wasn’t entirely wrong. The nurses at FGH quickly told us that rushed delivery events such as ours were very rare. For the Watkinses, though, it was very real. And, given the 54 minutes total that it took, it’s custom designed for a single one-hour episode of this reality show of life that we live everyday, a blessed and full life for which we thank God. Hope you enjoy these photos of Hannah and her super “Big Sister,” Abigail. Thank you for your words of support, encouragement, and good will! Thank you for allowing our family to serve yours again and again! Our best, always. Adam & Team