TODAY   |  October 31, 2012

Mom in labor during storm got epidural by phone light

Julia Almany was having contractions at NYU Langone hospital Monday night, when the power went out. She labored in darkness lit only by cell phones until she was transferred to another hospital and gave birth to a healthy boy. NBC’s Andrea Canning reports and TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie speaks to parents of another hurricane baby.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back now at 8:12 with some remarkable stories tied to sandy's fury. a number of babies had to be delivered during the height of the store. we'll talk to two proud now parents about their experience in a moment, but first nbc's andrea canning has another special delivery to tell us about.

>> reporter: all births are special, but this one was really special. here in new york city more than 200 patients at nyu langone medical center had to be taken to nearby hospitals after the backup power system failed. a chaotic scene that led to one amazing delivery.

>> this is micah , and he was born 12:42 a.m .

>> reporter: almost five hours after hurricane sandy hit land, micah marcus was born, but it was a labor of love bringing him into the world.

>> it was more crazy than we could possibly imagine.

>> reporter: julia was having contractions at new york university langone medical center when the power went out and the backup generator failed. her husband was getting something to eat

>> i walked into the cafeteria, full-on blackout. he couldn't see the storm but could hear it.

>> i think the hurricane was battering the hospital . everything was shaking, and i heard this crazy rushing of water sound. it was coming off the fdr into first avenue, and into the hospital . the basement was flooded. the ground floor was flooded at that point.

>> reporter: pack in the delivery room julia was having powerful contractions.

>> they were like 30 seconds apart. it started being like really painful.

>> reporter: and, i mean, at that point i was like this -- this is insane, this couldn't get any worse.

>> he stepped in and even helped doctors give his wife an epidural in the dark.

>> reporter: i was holding a cell phone above her while they were putting in the iv and putting in the epidural.

>> with no power to safely deliver the baby, the hospital evacuated julia and the other patients.

>> they took her off the bed, got her on this med sled and proceeded to slide her really slowly down eight flights of stairs. there's a lot of screaming going on. there were about six people with newborns. like a group of six people with oxygen tank and other medical attachments and this baby trying to get by us, down more quickly than us.

>> reporter: after 20 minutes they reached the ground floor and rushed to mt. sinai hospital , but the roads were dangerous.

>> as we were driving up third avenue i hear a loud bang on top of the ambulance, and once we got to the hospital , we found out that a tree, a tree branch or something had fallen right on the ambulance as we were driving up third avenue.

>> reporter: couple made it just in time. within minutes micah was born, arriving into the world as the calm after the storm.

>> i've never been in so much pain as, you know, throughout all these hours and then as soon as he was born, you know, you just forget.

>> reporter: hard to forget that one. nine bayne babies were transported from nyu to mt. sinai in the storm. 42 babies in all in born in that hospital during the height of sandy. you can't be epidural by cell phone light.

>> wow, what a story. andrea canning, thank you so much. another story. christine and dave had their own dramatic story. they are here with their brand new baby liam . good morning to you.

>> good morning.

>> well, christine , i want to hear what happened, but first, how are you doing? how is the baby doing?

>> we're both doing great. he's -- he's amazing. five weeks premature. he's perfect.

>> well, you two are pretty amazing. david, take us through this. christine was five weeks early, experiencing contractions at the height of the storm. you decide we've got to get in the car and drive to the hospital and then what happened?

>> well, we actually, because of the road conditions they told us absolutely do not drive, to call the emergency squad , which luckily is only about five minutes from our house, so they get to our house in an ambulance and a couple rescue vehicles. we get christine in the ambulance, and we start going out to the hospital we wanted to go to. at that point in time they got a point that said that the hospital 's generators had crashed so go to a second hospital . en route to the second hospital they said that the roads were too blocked, they couldn't get there, but the first hospital had its generators back up so turn around there and then the first ambulance --

>> not to cut it short, i want to make sure we get to the dramatic conclusion here because christine , you end up in an emergency mobile unit inside a church gym. what was your delivery like under those circumstances?

>> en route thereto contractions were at that point two minutes apart. i panicked, and we got to -- at that point they couldn't continue to the second hospital and turned around and got to the makeshift hospital where i was panicking. being liam was five weeks early, they didn't have the proper -- they didn't have a nicu there, who he needed in case he had difficulty breathing, but at that point they began -- they picked up dramatically. we arrived there at 9:50, and right before he was born they didn't think it was going to happen. they thought it was another episode of false labor , but he came at 11:00 p.m .

>> made quite a dramatic --

>> no epidural.

>> and no epidural. christine , my goodness, i don't know how you did that, but we're so happy to see you and see little liam .

>> neither do i.

>> and just wish you all