Monday, August 29, 2011


I have been wanting to post about the tornado that hit 2 days after Ansley's birth, the same day we were coming home.
I had no clue the storm was brewing and oh did it brew! The day before we were to go home, the pediatrician had come in updating on Ansley's perfect health :) and talked of the storm saying we should watch the weather to try to get home the next day in between the storms.....being in the zombie state I was having just given birth maybe 12 hours prior, I heard what he had said but didn't really let it sink in. Then Dr. Brody, my OB, mentioned it the next morning....or I should say the crack of dawn since he is known for arriving at 5:30 am when moms are just rolling over after the second feeding of the night....(sorry I get sidetracked and he is awesome by the way)....but yes he mentioned the storms and told me to get my coworkers in gear so that I could be home before the storms hit. I let that sink in some more this time,  but went ahead and rolled over to get some more shut eye. I then woke up around 7 for the next feeding and turned on the news. Tyler and Garyn had slept at home that night prior so I called them.
Me: "Do you have the news on?"
Tyler: "No, just got up"
Me: "Well, they are working on my discharge papers, but don't be in a hurry yet, the news is saying a storm is coming with possible tornadoes. They are even saying to seek shelter."
Tyler: "Ok, we'll eat and get ready. We'll be there in a little bit"
Me:"You might want to turn on the news and just watch to see when these storm pass"
Tyler: hurriedly.."Ok, I will, love you"

So I was starting to worry some, knowing he thought I was exaggerating and wondering myself if I was....remember I had little sleep and was now watching a news channel that was saying "Take cover!" I called my coworkers/ nurses and asked if we were doing anything to prepare, some didn't even know about it. No one was really worried and said they had just told their patients they could come out in the hall if they wanted. I went out to mingle with Ansley. It was easy to forget about the storm when showing off my little beauty! There was hard rain and wind, but nothing to be too alarmed about. Or at least from what I could see. Little did I know what had really happened.

I called Tyler back to check on them, and got a little frustrated when he said they were at his parents, meaning they were out driving in the storm when I had told him the news said to take cover. I still get aggravated about this since he didn't take me serious but on the other hand it might have been better for them to not be at home. I went on and showered to be ready and then turned on the news again to see if it was over. A visitor came from church, Karen Eaves, and she told me that Ashland Terrace must have had some trees down because the church power was out and she couldn't go that way because of the traffic. I live off Ashland Terrace but I only thought it was like any other storm and wondered if we would get to see what had happened on our way home.

The next couple hours were spent getting ready to go and finally leaving around 12. About that time, Nana called, my mother n' law, to tell us that our street was hit hard and there was only one way to get to our house. She said it really shocked her and wanted us to know our house was ok although the houses around us all had damage. The tornado had hit our street bad unlike at my in-laws and the hospital where it was just a bad storm. At this point, I was anxious to see what had happened, was worried a little, but still never could have imagined how bad it really was or the effect it would take on our next couple weeks home!

Ansley was sleeping well in her car seat....... Garyn was happy to have her next to him talking about how now there were 4 of us riding in the car. I was excited to get home and sleep in my own bed and shower in my own bathroom. Excited to show my baby girl her new home and use all her new play pretties taking pictures to remember these first days home. All these expectations any new mom creates and dreams of were about to be overshadowed by the effects the storm had had. I have since quickly learned to lower my expectations and enjoy the "real life."
                                             (Ansley just after arriving home)
As we got closer to home we saw fallen trees, and more fallen trees, and more fallen trees.....yes there were many! Tyler went the way we normally go not knowing exactly what his mom meant by the 1 way to get home (much to my chagrin, I was trying to tell him which way she was talking about...but that's another story)  And that way was blocked by multiple trees. Power crews were trying to direct traffic, people were walking on the side of the road, and many of the houses were crushed by limbs and trees. I realized the people were walking because their homes and cars were covered by trees and brush. I began crying and sobbing thinking of how awful it must be to not be able to stay in your house only to get outside and not be able to drive your car to another place. Tyler kept saying, "Why are you crying?" thinking I was half crazy. Yes, I was hormonal and emotional, but I think it would have made me cry any day really. It was just that bad, like what you see only in the movies. I knew then what my mother n' law was saying about wanting us to know our house was ok, because I would have probably been hyperventilating if I hadn't known that.

                  (neighbor across the streets house with tree, below is without tree)
We finally get home only to see more fallen trees everywhere. I mean everywhere. We could hardly get to our house but it had been a couple hours so people were out with their chainsaws making way for the cars. Our neighbors had trees down; the one directly across from us had a tree in her house. Yes, more crying started, thinking of her being a single mom of 2 and now having a tree in her bedroom! (above pictures) Our yard had limbs and debris but being that we didn't have any trees near our house, we had little damage. Our roof was missing some shingles and such but the worst part was that the power was out annnnd it didn't come back on for 9 more days!

                           (Garyn in front of some fallen trees on our street)

Remember the thoughts of getting home to my own bed and shower, enjoying our new life as a family of four.....well of course that new life entailed visitors, sleepless nights, breastfeeding issues, cranky son and husband, hormonal momma and on top of that NO POWER! For whatever reason, I was stubborn, like you didn't know that about me....I am stubborn and hard headed like most women and want to do things my way when it comes to certain things. I say all this to explain the fact that we stayed home the whole time our power was out. We showered at my dads or Tyler's parents, ate out some, hung out in AC with a tv at various places, but we came home every night. I just really didn't want to be spending my first days home...not at home! It was an emotional roller coaster for me really mostly due to those postpartum hormones.

Now, we did have a generator and was able to have our fridge, some lights, fans and sometimes the TV going. All but 2 nights were cool and the two nights that weren't we slept in the basement which was almost too cold. I breastfeed in the dark a lot of nights; didn't bathe Ansley until she was 4 or 5 days old with water heated in the microwave; we ate out with a newborn multiple times that first week unlike we did with Garyn; and I stuck to my guns for whatever reason thinking it was the right thing for us to do. Now, looking back I might have given in at some point, but I still feel good about my decision. I think in reality it would have been hard either way dragging all the baby stuff around and staying at another house where I felt less comfortable. I guess it boils down to me being stubborn and private. I wanted the privacy of my own home during that awkward time after having a baby. You know...or you may not....but you feel like you are changing your baby's diaper and your own..... going to the bathroom isn't always pleasant and is time consuming.....breastfeeding is hard in the are emotional and want to figure out your baby's preferences so that you can console them......and you want to spend as much quality time with your husband and/or other children. So yeah....I just wanted to be home. I remember saying that countless times to Tyler on the verge of breakdown when we were thinking about staying somewhere else. The daytime wasn't too bad; it was nighttime that got to me. I can totally relate to that whole Sun downer's depression because that was when it would hit me that their was no normalcy in my life at the moment. Change is hard sometimes for me and my world was upside down at that moment.
      (first day home spent at my dad's house while
          Tyler was off getting a generator)

But enough about that! I don't think we will ever forget our first days home with baby girl. We often wonder if it was an omen that Ansley is going to be a storm of her own. She certainly makes her presence (or preferences) known. The best part was that she didn't notice that anything was wrong nor will she ever remember it! I certainly will though!
I want to end this story by saying God has blessed us. And as I have been writing this, He has reminded me of much harder times and of the blessings I don't deserve. God taught me (and still is) a lot through the making, birth and life of Ansley. I know our damage and inconveniences after the storm were nothing compared to most hit by the tornado. I now realize the effects a storm can have on a person's life; a concept I couldn't grasp before. Even today, I am thinking of those that are without homes and/or power from Hurricane Irene. Our little man, Garyn, understands more, too. He still talks of the trees that were down or are now gone. He also worries more about the power being out the few times it has flickered since the tornado. Just another lesson God wants us to learn: He is the great I am who gives and takes away all we have. I know I will lean on Him more from this experience feeling His sovereignty through it all.

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