Shayla Taylor: Oklahoma Woman Delivers a Baby Boy in Midst of Tornado

As damage assessments and survival stories emerge from the deadly twister in Moore, Okla., perhaps no story is as uplifting and scary as that of Shayla Taylor, who was about to have her baby at Moore Medical Center when the tornado touched down. 

Taylor was in labor on the second floor of the hospital, thinking about nothing but the baby she was about to bring into the world.

“I was five centimeters already and having contractions,” Taylor told journalists.

But then the nurses charged in with alarming news: an enormous twister was heading straight for the hospital.

“I was kind of just like, ‘Oh crap,'” Taylor said. “I pull out my phone and pull up the weather app. It says it’s coming down 4th Street in Moore, which is the street that the hospital is on.”

Hospital staff sent her husband Jerome and their 4-year-old son Shaiden downstairs, where they would be safer. Nurses then rushed Taylor to a room without windows—the operating room.

“They went and took towels out the warmer and stacked them up on top of me,” she said. “They hunkered down around my bed. I found the nearest hand to me and I grabbed it and we were all just in there praying. And I turned my head sideways and closed my eyes.”

When she opened her eyes, she saw I-35 and the Warren Theater — across the street.

“There was no wall there anymore,” she said. She checked to see if the nurses were still in the room with her.

“I was afraid one of them may have been sucked out,” she said.

Her husband and a some strangers helped get Taylor to an ambulance, which whisked her to another hospital a few miles away. There she delivered a son she named Braeden Immanuel. ”

“And ‘Immanuel’ means, ‘God is with us.’ I had it picked out for months,” she said. “And now I know why I, because God was with us that day.”

The tornadoes that struck the midwest region from May 18 to May 20 caused between $2 billion to $5 billion in insured losses, according to disaster modeling company Eqecat.

The tornado outbreak may rank as the second-worst ever in terms of insured losses, behind the late-April 2011 twisters that devastated Tuscaloosa, Ala., and other communities.

Eqecat said the Moor tornado on Monday was responsible for most of the losses. There the storm, with winds that exceeded 200 miles per hour, killed 24 and flattened two elementary schools.

About 76 tornadoes struck across 10 states over a three-day period, said Eqecat, whose models are used by the insurance industry to forecast losses. The worst of it was in Moore, where the firm said about 13,000 structures were damaged.

John Doak, Oklahoma’s insurance commissioner, estimated earlier this week that the damage from the Moore tornado might exceed $3 billion.

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