Imagine going into labor just as a huge hurricane is about to hit your home town. This was the unfortunate fate of one luckless Florida Keys woman. And once her baby was born, and they had been delivered from danger, the young mom chose a name for her daughter that reflected the dramatic circumstances of her birth. And the new baby’s name was just perfect.
Hurricane Irma was a formidable weather event that battered the Caribbean and Florida at the beginning of September 2017. The powerful category-five hurricane brought winds gusting at up to 183 mph for 33 hours straight. This hurricane smashed previous records and left utter devastation in its wake.
The hurricane was so brutal that it killed 40 people around the Caribbean, before moving to Florida where it claimed at least 20 more lives. But those living in the Southeastern U.S. state were granted a head start, having seen the devastation Irma had already caused.
Florida authorities attempted to outsmart Irma by evacuating millions of residents to safer ground, just before the violent winds and rain arrived. More than seven million people were encouraged to flee the direct path of the hurricane, to keep themselves safe and escape the worst of the destruction.
Two of those to be evacuated were the Keslings. Cara and her husband, Jeff, were forced to leave their home in Key West and find another place to wait until Irma had safely passed. The couple travelled 150 miles to the Kendall area of Florida’s Miami-Dade County to seek shelter from the coming storm.
They were among hoards of other people taking the same escape route, but there was something extra special about the Kesling couple. Their experience of the hurricane was far more dramatic than most – so much so that they hit the headlines. That is because shortly before Irma hit, Cara went into labor.
Kesling was immediately taken to Baptist Hospital in Kendall, where she delivered a healthy six-pound-13-ounce baby girl on September 7, 2017. This was not in the birth plan she and her husband had originally devised to welcome their baby into the world. But in the circumstances, the Keslings were just relieved that she had arrived safely.
Soon after the delivery, Miami police were able to move the mom, dad and newborn baby from the hospital and to a nearby hotel. Once there they were able to start being a proper family, albeit one that was looking forward to getting back home again. It may not have been the ideal introduction to parenthood, but the Keslings made the best of it.
Not only had the couple been uprooted from their home in order to escape the brunt of Irma’s fury, but they had also been thrown into parenthood in the middle of all of the chaos. Neither act of nature – the storm nor the arrival of their baby – was in the Keslings’ control.
However, there was one thing the couple had full control over – the name of their new born. But it is what the new parents decided to call their daughter that garnered the global media attention. And it is easy to see why – not only is it a beautiful name, but it is also highly appropriate.
Given the unusual situation in which their daughter was born, the Keslings felt it was important to commemorate her tempestuous start in life. Vetoing the more traditional names for baby girls, Cara and Jeff went for something stark and original instead.
The Keslings had settled on “Nayiri Storm,” the perfect name for the baby girl born amidst the drama of Hurricane Irma. From their social media accounts, it was clear that the Miami Police Department officers were especially fond of the choice of name for the new arrival.
After the officers successfully moved the new parents and their baby to the hotel, they took to the internet. The Miami-Dade Police Twitter account displayed a photograph of the transfer from the hospital with a caption reading, “Welcome to the world baby Nayiri Storm!”
“Glad our officers were able to assist the family safely from hospital to hotel,” it read. it was followed by a hashtag that summed things up nicely, “#PerfectName.” The tweet was liked and retweeted hundreds of times, and the online community thanked the police officers for playing their part.
“Wow, congrats, and great work Miami PD! God bless you all,” one Twitter user wrote. Once the new family were settled into their temporary accommodation they had no way of knowing when they could return to the Keys. In a BBC video posted on Facebook on September 13, 2017, the Keslings explained their predicament.
After introducing Nayiri Storm to the camera, husband Jeff said that they had no idea what kind of condition their house was in. “Marathon is pretty much underwater, and that’s about 30 miles from our house,” he explained. “We don’t have substantial information about when we might be able to get back.”
But the main thing was that the parents and baby were safe. A Facebook user commented, “As long as you are ok. The house and business can wait. That’s what insurance is for. Congratulations!” Not everyone was lucky enough to make it to a hospital in the midst of Hurricane Irma, however.
One expectant mom from the Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami also went into labor at the time of the storm. She called emergency services early in the morning of September 10 to ask for help. Unfortunately, by this time the hurricane had become too strong for paramedics to get to the mom-to-be. Then, two hours after she first called, the woman was on the brink of giving birth.
She had no other option than to deliver the baby herself. A doctor, some paramedics and a dispatcher all joined a group chat and managed to talk the woman through the birth, and dealing with the placenta and umbilical cord. Miraculously, the baby was born safely and the woman was fine too, despite the drama.
Early September 2017 was a truly devastating time for many people in Florida. But thankfully both the baby delivered without medical support and Nayiri Storm were born healthy and strong, despite Irma’s intervention. It just goes to show that nature will always prevail, in one way or another. .