Predictions regarding Hurricane Florence’s trajectory and approach
broadcasted on weather stations a week well in advance of the storm’s
landfall, giving Tanikqua Stevenson of Ridgeland, South Carolina, plenty
of time to plan for an evacuation. Having seen three previous hurricanes
in her lifetime, she was no novice to evacuating in preparation of a storm,
but it was the first time she’d ever evacuated south—and doing
so while nine months pregnant.
“I wasn’t due for another two weeks, and with the hurricane
approaching, we decided to get out of its path,” says Stevenson,
referring to herself and a cousin. “We should have been able to
evacuate, stay out of harm’s way, and then return before my baby
But her baby had different plans.
“We were eating out at Golden Corral in Brunswick when I started
feeling abdominal pain. I returned to my hotel room to lay down, shower
and relax, thinking that the pains might be false contractions –
but they just kept coming and coming,” explains Stevenson. “And
then they got worse. So we decided it was time to go to the hospital.”
Her cousin drove Stevenson ten minutes from their hotel to Southeast Georgia
Health System’s Brunswick Campus, but once they parked in the Emergency
Room parking lot, Stevenson’s water broke. She felt a sharp pain,
and the sudden urge to push.
“My cousin told me to wait, to cross my legs and not to push, but
I just couldn’t. I pushed, and the next thing I knew, I’d
given birth. And he wasn’t crying,” says Stevenson. “I
was terrified – everything happened so fast, and I didn’t
know if he would make it.”
But a few short moments later when Health System personnel arrived on the
scene, little Jayceon Bellamy let her know he had a healthy set of lungs
and proved it to anyone who would listen. Both Stevenson and Bellamy are
happy and healthy, and planning to return home now that Hurricane Florence
has passed. Bellamy is Stevenson’s second son. Her first, now four,
was two weeks early as well, but according to Stevenson, he didn’t
put her through the same adventure as her youngest.
Stevenson has a two hour drive to return to Ridgeland, but she’s
heard word that her home survived the storm without any major flooding
or damage. Many things in life are delayed when a hurricane hits, including
the postal service, UPS and Fed Ex, but baby Ballamy is one delivery that
Hurricane Florence didn’t postpone.