Baby beats storm & name cliche
With the hurricane barreling towards their stretch of the Florida coast on Tuesday afternoon, Amanda Mahr and her husband, Matthew Mahr, got an urgent call from their doctor: They had to schedule an emergency C-section.
The baby was four days past due, and the ultrasound that morning had shown fluid levels that were too low for them to wait until after the storm for delivery. Hurricane or not, the baby was going to have to come.
They rushed to the hospital through a drizzle and under slate-grey skies, nervously eyeing neighbours in Cape Coral who were putting up shutters in last-minute preparations.
The storm was coming ashore farther south than previously projected. By the next morning, with Hurricane Ian lapping at the coast, the power started cutting out across the region and wind gusts of more than 60 miles per hour were whipping their city.
“We’re getting a direct hit. We want to schedule you right now,” hospital staff told the Mahrs, Mahr recalled.
Shortly before 9am (local time), George was born — a robust 4.5-kg baby boy with a full head of black hair. Hospital staff told the exhausted patients not to look out their second-floor window because it would only make them anxious. Around 2.30pm, with their almost-6-hour-old baby, the Mahrs and other expectant mothers and parents with newborns were shuffled into the hallways to ride out the worst of the storm away from any windows. Ian, after peaking at 249kmph wind speeds, was about to make landfall. For hours, they listened through the closed doors to pummelling rain, howling wind, and thrashing trees.
They wondered whether they would have a home to take George back to, and what may have become of the nursery they had readied for him. By about 9pm, they were allowed back in their birthing suite. The hospital appeared to have weathered the storm largely intact, and the couple and their newborn were in good spirits.
“He’s literally the talk of the hospital because he’s so chunky and so cute,” said Mahr, 36, who runs a gourmet cupcake business, in a phone interview on Thursday evening from her hospital bed.
“He has the most incredible hair.” On Thursday afternoon, her husband, Matthew, 37, ventured out of the hospital to find a city that looked like a monster truck rally had gone through it, he said. Throughout, people have been asking whether they would add Ian to the boy’s name. They’re happily sticking with George Bentley, both family names, they said.
New York Times News Service