Ice storm babies make their way to Region 8

 JONESBORO, AR - (KAIT) Who can forget the paralyzing effects of the ice storm earlier this year? Communities, entire cities in total darkness for days at a time.  Months later--nine months later to be exact--many people are remembering the natural disaster, as not such a bad time after all!

    What happened when the lights went out?  Many people say they were searching for warmth.  After all, remember the temperature was 30 degrees when the ice storm began knocking out power. While we all remember that time, some people will remember it, well, for a lifetime. 

    Mother nature's fury.  Unrelentless in its devastation. Tree limbs coated in ice brought down power lines... northeast Arkansas plunged into darkness.   Transformers blew up and sparks flew--both outside and inside.  

   Presley Jane Hall is proof that life went on when the lights went out.  

   "Her dad works for CenturyLink, so he was really busy with the phone company when the ice storm hit," said Shawn Hall, Presley Jane's mother

   Hall and her two other children, Jordan and Carson, headed for her parents' house in Reyno, and heat. Turns out, hubby Cassie and Shawn generated a little of their own.

   "So we really had to steal some moments when we were with my parents," laughs Shawn.

   One by one...couples reveal their lives were forever changed by those hours spent in darkness.

   "It was cold!" said Beth and Kevin Bryant, parents of Julia Catherine, or Cate.

    Beth and Kevin Bryant were not surprised by the arrival of ice storm baby "Cate," but laugh at the circumstances.

  "When people found out when we were actually due, they started doing the math and they jokingly said, 'is this an ice storm baby?' and I'm like 'yeah, yes, she is,' admits Kevin.

   In fact, there's a bit of a baby boom in northeast Arkansas.

   "We're seeing a little over a 12% increase in deliveries," said Dr. Charles Dunn, an OB-GYN.  "If we look at when the ice storm was and the date of conception, it would have pretty much happened during the month of October."

   "I think I've just delivered my sixth baby this week," said Dr. Karl Hasik, an OB-GYN.  "So that's in less than three weeks.  We've been very busy and we're not finished yet."

   55 babies were delivered during the month of October at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center. Normally they have 35 to 45. NEA Baptist Memorial delivered 66 babies in October.  That's a 20% increase over a year ago and St. Bernards couldn't release the number of babies born there; but reported no increase.

    Not every hospital is reporting an increase in the number of births. But they do acknowledge there are ice storm babies...the end result of the lights going out nine months ago. 

    "We have really been busy this October," said Jennifer Crisp, manager of Obstetrics and Nursing for NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital's Women's Center.

   Director of the Women's Center, Jennifer Crisp says July is usually the hospital's busiest delivery month.  That's not the case this year.

    "We started having lots of babies," said Crisp.  "We had to get extra staff in here so we could take care of those babies."

    Changes are everywhere.

    "Hopefully we'll have it in the dry before winter gets here," said Chris Despain, father of newborn Braxson V. Despain.

    The arrival of Braxson, also an ice storm baby, for April and Chris Despain means adding on to their home.  They have two other children, Brendon and Brice.

    "No tv.  No power.  No nothing," said Chris.  "Kids wanting to play videogames.  Nothing to do.  Pretty much for parents or kids."

    "People would come in and say he's an ice storm baby and I would say no he's not," said April.  "They're like yes he is!  So I got to counting it up and I thought yeah, he could be!"

    "She had had pneumonia about that time," said Chris.  "Well, he's an ice storm and antibiotic baby.  I can tell you that.  It's good.  It's a good thing."

    The ice storm left Shawn unable to fill a prescription that fights psoriasis.

    "So because of the ice storm, I had run out of my prescription," said Shawn, mother of Presley Jane.  "And so that's how she came about because it kind of keeps you from getting pregnant.  It's not really a birth control, but it keeps you from getting pregnant."

   Kevin Bryant, a nurse anesthetist at St. Bernards, had just been administering epidurals.  Little did he suspect his wife would need one nine months later.

   "She was conceived during an ice storm," said Beth Bryant.  "She was born during a flash flood. So weather kind of tells her story!"

   And so from all that nasty ice comes something precious.

   "She is a joy," said Beth of her daughter, Cate.

   And would they go without electricity again?

   "Even if this was the end result, I still don't want to go through that again," said Shawn.

    Very soon, electricity will need to be shut off to the Despain house to accommodate their expansion.

    "You won't be coming to interview us for a power outage baby," states Chris Despain 

    Dr. Hasik says the ice storm reminded him of a snow storm in St. Louis back in 1982.   Nine months later, there was a baby boom there, too.

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