Whether because of changing pressure or the stress associated with an impending storm, more pregnant mothers tend to give birth during severe weather events, and the Blizzard of 2015 was no exception.
“Typically, we do about 10 deliveries a day here at Hartford Hospital,” explained Elizabeth Deckers, medical director of Labor and Delivery at Hartford Hospital. “Yesterday, we did 15, with 11 of them being between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.”
Those hours more or less coincided with the heaviest period of snowfall, which was most intense overnight Monday into Tuesday. Hospital employees stayed overnight at facilities in Hartford, Connecticut, and maternity wards were fully staffed.
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A spokesperson for Hartford Hospital said natural births aren't the only deliveries to increase in frequency during adverse conditions.
“We contacted two families who were scheduled to deliver today, one by Caesarian and one by induction of labor, and asked them to come in a day early,” said Amy Schroder, manager of Labor and Delivery at Hartford Hospital.
One of those early deliveries – baby Emanuel Elijah Soloman – came into the world at 1 p.m. Tuesday, and his grandmother said she's just happy everyone is safe and healthy.
“I’m glad it’s over because I was concerned that she was going to go into labor during the storm because she was having contractions prior to coming to the hospital,” explained Dahlia Williams, of East Hartford.
Another pregnant mom from Farmington spent 45 minutes in the car navigating whiteout conditions but managed to safely deliver her baby at the Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain.
"We actually prayed that we would know for sure, like, having a sign – are we supposed to go out in this weather? – and my water broke, so we figured it was time," said Sarah Browning, who gave birth to baby Graham two-and-a-half weeks early.
Browning said her husband, a pastor at the New Hope Baptist Church in Torrington, called 911 to ask if it was safe to drive to the hospital. Emergency dispatchers advised them to try making the trip and call back if they got stuck.
The Brownings made it to the hospital around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. Baby Graham was born about seven hours later, at 8:50 a.m. He weighs 5 pounds, 11 ounces.
"He's a little bugger and I can't believe he did this to us," Browning said with a laugh.
A total of 14 babies were delivered during the storm at St. Francis Hospital, compared with nine on an average day.
All moms and babies are doing well.