‘Mommy’s not ready for you to come yet’: Woman recounts delivering baby as tornado hit Nashville hospital 26 years ago

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – April 16, 1998.

Do you remember where you were the day tornadoes broke out all across our area? While people were taking shelter, ShaLawn Williams was in the delivery room at Centennial Hospital about to give birth to her daughter.

Twenty-six years ago, the weather was the last thing on ShaLawn’s mind.

Madison family coping with deadly tornado four months later

“I was dilated and I was getting ready to push,” she said.

She was about to deliver her little baby girl and become a mother, but first, Mother Nature had some other ideas.

“And they come in and it’s like, ‘There’s a tornado coming!'” ShaLawn recalled.

One of the more than a dozen tornadoes that touched down in that historic 1998 severe storm was heading straight for the hospital.

“The building begins to shake,” ShaLawn said. “The tiles blew off. It was crazy just watching the chaotic scene. Kayln was coming. Kayln didn’t know there was a tornado, and so they were like, ‘She’s going to deliver at any moment.'”

ShaLawn’s husband was told to leave the delivery room.

A look back at The Hermitage during the April 16th, 1998 tornado

“I was talking to Kayln in my belly and I was like, ‘Girl, don’t you realize there’s a tornado? Mommy’s not ready for you to come yet.’ So I had all those emotions going on in my brain,” ShaLawn said.

Doctors did an emergency C-section and Kalyn was born; 26 years later, Kalyn is a busy grad student.

“Life is going great,” said Kalyn, while on a ZOOM with News 2 from her university.

However, she also hasn’t forgotten how her life started.

“I’m very thankful that me and my mother lived. Not just me and my mother, but everyone in the hospital. It could have gone a different way, but we are still here and we are breathing and we are alive, and it was only the Lord that did it, so I give all glory to Him,” said Kalyn.

Check out the News 2 Severe Weather Resources Guide

Like mother like daughter, that tornado did not shake this family’s faith.

“When things are chaotic, I have learned to center myself and I have learned to just trust God,” ShaLawn said.

ShaLawn almost died that day. Her uterus ruptured and her husband had to make the gut-wrenching decision for doctors to remove her uterus. It spared her life, but also kept her from giving birth again. She calls Kalyn her sunshine on a cloudy.

Don’t forget to take the power and reliability of the WKRN Weather Authority with you at all times by downloading the News 2 Storm Tracker app.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to WKRN News 2.