Kari Mautherman had been fervently hoping the doctors were wrong about her due date.
But on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m., hours before Hurricane Irma was scheduled to hit Manatee County, she realized those hopes were in vain. The 20-year-old’s contractions started, and within 45 minutes, they were between three and four minutes apart.
She rushed to Lakewood Ranch Medical Center with her fiance, 22-year-old Andrew Dodge, finding empty roads as the first hints of Irma’s raging winds and torrential rain pounded the streets.
“We already saw a few trees down on the way to the hospital,” Mautherman said. “We got there right before the curfew went into effect.”
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But the hurricane didn’t matter once she got to the hospital.
When she’s causing chaos and havoc. Then she’ll be Irma.
Tracey Dodge, mother-in-law
“When I got here I was in so much pain I didn’t notice anything,” Mautherman said.
She was moved into a room with no windows, and only her fiance was allowed in the hospital with her. Tracey Dodge, her mother-in-law, said she tried to argue with hospital officials, who wouldn’t budge.
“I said, ‘Not even her mom?’ ” Dodge said. “But they didn’t have room.”
Lakewood Ranch Medical Center took in 33 patients from evacuated Manatee Memorial Hospital for the duration of Hurricane Irma. Luckily, the hospital never lost power.
Even after receiving an epidural, Mautherman said she barely paid attention to the hurricane’s swirling winds. She managed to nap until around 10 p.m., when she was taken into another room to push.
“All I could hear was myself yell,” Mautherman said with a tired chuckle.
Her daughter Adelynn Renae was born at 10:36 p.m., 7 pounds and 20-1/2 inches. Despite her stressful and exciting process for coming into the world, Mautherman said her first baby is perfectly healthy.
Tracey Dodge posted about the birth of her third grandchild on Facebook, and said someone misunderstood her and thought her son Andrew had been so named because he was born during Hurricane Andrew. Those rumors are untrue, she said. Hurricane Andrew battered Florida in 1992, while her son Andrew – the new father – was born in 1994.
Others on social media wondered if the new baby would be named Irma, but Mautherman said that was never a possibility. She said she isn’t a fan of the name Irma and also didn’t want to name her baby after a destructive hurricane.
But the family does have another idea for how to use Irma.
“When she’s causing chaos and havoc,” Tracey Dodge said with a laugh. “Then she’ll be Irma.”
An earlier version of this story stated that Lakewood Ranch Medical Center took in more than 200 patients from Manatee Memorial Hospital. That has since been corrected.