At the advice of officials, most people stayed off the roads on Saturday at the height of Dorian.
But Duncan Smith and his wife, Jenna Smith, had no choice but to brave the streets of Halifax during the powerful storm — because they suddenly had a baby coming.
“In the very back of our minds was that we’re expecting,” Duncan Smith told CBC’s Maritime Noon. “But we weren’t expecting to have anything exciting happen other than the hurricane that day.”
Smith said the baby wasn’t due until the end of September, so the couple had focused more on whether or not they were stocked up on supplies and ready for the storm.
The power was out and they had just put their three-year-old daughter to bed.
“We were actually going to try and watch a movie on an iPad,” Smith said. It was around 9:30 p.m.
“I was a little bit slow getting upstairs and my wife called me up. And I thought she was just trying to get me up because she wanted to start the movie.”
But that wasn’t why she was calling out — her water had broken.
“We were a little nervous at that point,” he said. “To make matters worse, our first lovely girl, Alice, she came between the hours of 12 a.m. and just before 3 a.m. So Jenna had a medical history of a precipitous labour, so the alarm bells were going.”
They managed to finally get ahold of some family members, who came to the house. After packing in the dark, the couple began their journey from their Halifax neighbourhood of Westmount to the IWK Health Centre in the city’s south end.
Smith said they weaved through debris in the pitch black, trying not to hit anything. His initial plan was to head up Quinpool Road, but he learned it was under water near the Armdale Rotary.
“That was probably the scariest part,” he said.
When they made it to Connaught Avenue, the road was littered with fallen trees.
“Luckily, someone in front of us was leading the way. They were like the escort, unbeknownst to them,” Smith said.
Once they made it to the IWK, they were in good hands. Smith said hospital staff were their “usual friendly, helpful selves.”
“I did ask them, and most of the hospital staff had stayed there throughout the day and were planning to stay overnight,” he said. “Everybody was all hunkered in. So they were ready for us.”
He said they were told the barometric pressure lowers in a storm and could be why his wife’s water broke.
By 3 a.m., eight-pound Everett was born.
Smith said everybody is a little tuckered out, but mom and baby are doing great.
“We can’t thank our family enough and can’t thank everybody at the IWK enough,” he said.
“And I’m sure there were crews that made [the roads] passable. If there were no crews … clearing the way that we would not have made it.”