Expectant moms plan for possible blizzard births

Posted at 2:40 PM, Jan 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-22 14:40:34-05

When Jillian Hostetter found out she was due in January with her second child, she half-wondered if her baby would arrive during a blizzard.

“I thought, I hope not,” she said.  

Mother Nature, though, had other plans.

The 29-year-old Churchton woman is due Friday with baby Jonah (the similarity to winter storm Jonas is just a coincidence, she said). As of mid-day, she was heading to the Westfield Annapolis Mall to walk around, in hopes of coaxing Jonah out before the snow pummels the area.

RELATED: The latest weather forecast

If he doesn’t arrive today, Hostetter and her husband, Michael, have booked a hotel in Annapolis near Anne Arundel Medical Center so they don’t have to drive the 40 minutes in blizzard conditions to deliver Jonah.

“I didn’t want to be a news story, giving birth on the side of a road,” Hostetter said with a laugh.

Babies don’t wait for good weather to make their entrance into the world, and this weekend may be no exception, as Hostetter has learned.

Area hospitals and birthing centers are already taking precautions.

When the double blizzards hit during “snowmageddon” in 2010, Special Beginnings Birth and Women’s Center in Arnold closed for four days due to power outages.

Executive director and registered nurse Ann Sober is hoping that doesn’t happen this weekend.

Sober said she’s had a few calls from expectant moms whose due dates are over the next few days. Right now, her main concern is the condition of the roads during the storm, and whether mothers will even be able to travel to deliver their babies.

Moms can give birth at the center or at AAMC in Annapolis.

As the snow begins to fall and coat the roads, Sober and her staff will make a decision whether it makes sense to stay at the birthing center, or travel the seven miles to AAMC.

“Safety is the most important thing,” she said.

Fortunately, she added, the center is two doors down from a fire station, so emergency vehicles are readily available.

Jennifer Smith, nurse manager for labor and delivery at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, said plenty of nurses and physicians have stepped up to work extra hours with the blizzard on the way.

“It’s actually great,” Smith said.

Smith said expectant mothers are likely calling their doctors directly with questions about weekend labor. But as a general rule, the hospital won’t deliver babies early.

“That could put the baby at risk,” she said.

In the Hostetter family, snow storms and birth seem to go together. When the couple’s daughter Leta was born on Dec. 7, 2013, it was also during a snowstorm.

That one, though, was only about six inches—but there was a full moon, and there’s going to be another full moon this weekend.

Whether Jonah comes today or waits out the storm, Hostetter is looking forward to telling him about the blizzard of 2016 someday.

“It will be a great story when he’s older,” Hostetter said. 

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