Whoa Baby! 9 Moms Give Birth at One Hospital During Hurricane Matthew

Impending hurricanes are stressful enough.

Add childbirth into the mix and, well, you have a heck of a tale for the baby book.

“It was scary,” admitted Megan Jenkins, 27, of Palm Bay, who had second daughter Emylee Ruth DePietro at 6:34 p.m. Thursday at Health First’s Holmes Regional. “I got emotional a lot.”

Emylee, who entered the world at 6 pounds, 4 ounces and  13 inches long, was one of 10 babies born at the Melbourne hospital Oct. 6 and Oct.  7 -- as Hurricane Matthew began pummeling Brevard. Two of those babies born were twins.

It’s not exactly an unusual amount of births for Holmes – but the situation was certainly not the norm, said Jeni Hatter, Director of Corporate Communications for Health First. A typical day in the hospital’s Birth Suites sees about 8 to 10 births, she said.

So yes, the numbers aren’t unusual – but try telling that to a woman in labor during a hurricane.

“I was just worried about everything else,” Jenkins said.

The same could be said for Amber Chalmers, 24, of Palm Bay, who was induced yesterday after stretching way beyond her Sept. 23 due date. Khloey Centkowski  was born at 9:50 p.m. Thursday, Oct.  6. Khloey was 8 pounds, 5 ounces and 21 inches long.

“It was very stressful, especially because we have a dog and wanted to be in our house,” Chalmers said. “But then we were worried if I didn’t come up here and get induced, I’d go into labor in the high winds and have to drive up here –which would have been even scarier.”

Dad Sean Centkowski, 25, sat alongside their older daughter Kiersten, 4.

While both couples knew they were having girls, neither would have named their baby after the major weather event, should they have had sons.

Well, Jenkins admits they thought about the name Matthew for a boy – but that was nixed long before. Her best friend,  expecting a baby herself, already had dibs on the name.

But overall, Hurricane Matthew had nothing on these babies entering the world.

“It was amazing,” Jenkins said. “Worth every minute of it.”

Dad Daniel DePietro probably summed the experience up best.

“It was terrifyingly beautiful,” he said with a smile.

Paulson is the editor of Space Coast Parent, a free monthly parenting magazine available throughout Brevard County.

Contact Paulson at 321-242-3783 or spaulson@floridatoday.com.


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