As Hurricane Florence gains strength in the Atlantic Ocean, families all along the East Coast are watching the news and prepping for the potentially catastrophic weather headed their way. They're packing "Hurricane Go Bags" full of safety essentials, boarding up windows, and explaining to their kids what will happen if they need to evacuate. Oh, and they're trying to keep calm running down the grocery store aisles loading up on bottled water!
Now imagine going into labor in the middle of that kind of chaos. That's what happened to Tamara Weinstock, who gave birth during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
"When my water broke, I said, 'I know this is the worst possible timing,'" Weinstock recounts. "We went into the delivery room and started to wait, but the storm was coming and we didn't have forever to let things take their natural course, so they started to induce labor. Then, some serious contractions started to come."
"And then, the lights went out," Weinstock's mother-in-law, Eileen, adds. "It was dark but there was some emergency lighting. Then the emergency lighting went off."
In the dark with a storm raging outside, Weinstock started to lose her cool. "I got to the point where I was like, 'I can't handle this anymore,'" she shares. "I had an epidural. Then it sort of became fun."
Weinstock's secret to staying calm throughout the ordeal? A cool-headed partner. "I didn't see him panic, so I didn't panic," she says of her husband.
The couple welcomed their son, Stone, while the weather continued to rage. Shortly after, the hospital had to be evacuated and mom and baby were transported to a nearby hospital. Luckily, though, they soon learned that their home had not been damaged by the storm.
While it's wonderful that Weinstock's delivery story was a success, there's no doubt about it: Giving birth while a hurricane is swirling outside can be terrifying and potentially dangerous. What happens if you find yourself in that position? We had OBGYN Chase Cawyer, M.D. weigh in.
"If [you're] in a hospital setting during a hurricane, the hospital should have emergency situation protocols in place," Dr. Cawyer said. "If you are not in a hospital setting and at home or somewhere unfamiliar, you need to avoid things that can [hurt you during] a hurricane, [like] wind and flooding. To avoid the problems associated with wind, build a barricade so when things are flying they don't hit the patient or partner. To avoid flooding, try to find a higher floor so [you] aren't scrambling to higher ground with a newborn."