BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Hurricane Irma prompted one of the largest evacuations in U.S. history. A large number of evacuees chose Birmingham as a place of refuge.
That includes one family with a baby on the way who ended up delivering right here in the Magic City.
As Hurricane Irma approached Florida — two former Birmingham residents, Kim and Kevin O’Byrne, were given orders to evacuate their home in Tampa.
With less than a week until their due date, the family made the tough decision to head to Homewood.
“The thing about a hurricane is no one knows where it is going to hit and where it is going to go. It started out–it was going to hit the east coast and then it was going to hit the center of the state. It was going to cut up the spine of Florida and then they started to predict it was going to hit Tampa Bay,” Kim said.
It was an especially difficult decision for Kim after spending eight months with her doctor. So she called the hospital to see if she could have her baby early but was turned away.
“The storm is supposed to hit and we don’t want to deliver in a closet,” Kim said. She explained she called and asked, “Would it be possible to come before the storm hits? And they said, ‘we are not a shelter, so no.’”
It took the family 13 hours to get to Birmingham with a few pitfalls including nearly running out of gas.
Kevin described their trip to Alabama: “13 hours we were continuously worried that she was going to go into labor–the changes in pressure due to the storm. The stress of the situation, not having anywhere to go.”
Dallas James O’Byrne arrived Thursday at Princeton Baptist Medical Center. The couple chose Princeton because Kim wanted a midwife birth.
“I really looked into it and looked into all of the benefits and how the baby is more alert,” she explained.
Mom and baby are happy and healthy. The kicker is Princeton Baptist Medical Center is also the hospital where baby Dallas’ grandfather, grandmother, and all nine of his grand mom’s siblings were born.
“…making a way for us to deliver at this hospital and to have a healthy baby, I’m so happy,” Kim reflected.