Brisbane women share unforgettable birth stories amongst floods

In the midst of 2022’s flood disaster, Australians could really do with some positive news. While the wild weather rages on in parts of Queensland and New South Wales, and stories of tragedy and destruction emerge as the clean-up commences, there are also many tales of joy and the kindness of community.

Regardless of what’s going on in the outside world, babies are born when they’re ready. Like a standoff between Mother Nature and expecting mothers, women are braving terrible conditions to bring their babies earthside.

Two such Brisbane women, who happen to be sisters, have unforgettable birth stories as they welcomed their babies within a few days of each other, nicknaming them ‘flood babies’.

Jessica Lane made it to the hospital before the wet weather intensified, and she safely gave birth to a baby girl, Isobel. She was born with fluid on her lungs, so if Isobel was born any later, her story might be very different.

Only three days later, her sister Kate Albion, drove through torrential rain and was lucky to make it to the hospital on time. Her baby came quickly, and even her obstetrician was stuck in traffic and missed the birth. She was incredibly fortunate to get there when she did because her son Joseph was born unable to breathe on his own.

Now the sisters, who feel their bond is closer than ever, are recovering at Mater Hospital on the same ward. Both babies are in the Special Care Nursery, but are thriving.

Another Brisbane woman, Krystle Henry, found herself cut off by flood waters just 24 hours before a scheduled caesarean. The street where she lived was literally blocked at each end after a night of heavy rain.

Krystle’s obstetrician advised her to come to the hospital a day early to ensure she was at her appointment on time. With rescue teams spread thin, the State Emergency Services put her on a rescue list but she was low priority.

So, she and her partner devised a plan. Since swimming or walking through the dirty flood waters wasn’t an option, and driving was dangerous, their neighbours came together to offer help. One neighbour took in Krystle’s toddler to care for, and another neighbour offered their motorised kayak.

Ferried in the kayak through waters across a couple of streets, they were met by her father-in-law who drove them to the hospital. The family are deeply grateful to their community that helped to make their ‘little adventure’ go ahead without complications.

Similar stories of challenges overcome and the generosity of strangers abound. People are coming together to offer shelter, supplies, support, and to search for stranded people and animals. To donate money, goods, or services for the flood disaster, head to Queensland Government’s Help Out page.

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