Oklahoma mother miraculously delivers baby safely after tornado hit Medical Center in Moore, Oklahoma

By Dave Andrusko

Jerome and Shayla Taylor with their sons Shaeden and baby Braeden

Jerome and Shayla Taylor with their sons Shaeden and baby Braeden

I remember watching hours and hours and hours of coverage of the tragedy in Moore, Oklahoma where a tornado leveled whole swathes of the city and claimed the lives of 24 people. There were examples of courage and bravery everywhere, but until last weekend I had missed the remarkable—indeed miraculous– story of the birth of baby Braeden Taylor.

According to CNN,  Shayla Taylor was already in labor when the EF5 tornado — the largest on the rating scale —turned toward Moore. In spite of the approaching storm, Mrs. Moore could not be evacuated from Moore Medical Center: She was so far along, dilated and going through contractions.

“She couldn’t move,” Alyson Heeke, nurse supervisor at Moore Medical Center, told CNN. “She’d had an epidural anesthesia, which meant that it numbed her enough that she couldn’t walk.”

The heroism on everyone’s part was incredible.

For more protection, the staff moved Taylor into a windowless operating room as the tornado came closer. “Her baby was not doing the best,” charge nurse Cindy Popejoy told CNN, “so I really needed a way to monitor her baby to see how the baby was tolerating the labor process — especially since she was so far dilated. So the only place to do that would be the OR.”

That’s when the miracle components really began to kick in. The tornado struck the hospital and Mrs. Taylor did not know whether she and her baby would survive.

The four nurses “went and took towels out the warmer and stacked them up on top of me,” Mrs. Taylor told Nick Chiles of AtlantaBlackstar.com. “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.”

“I knew we were getting hit directly,” she told CNN. “I felt the floor start shaking. It feels like an earthquake.”

Although the outside wall of the operating room was ripped off, everyone in the room somehow survived. “There was wreckage in every direction, there was a gaping hole where the wall once stood, and the baby-warmer was silhouetted against the open sky,” Todd and McConnell reported.

“I opened my eyes, I could see I-35,” said Taylor. “And I could see the movie theater.”

Mrs. Taylor’s husband and 4-year-old son had been sent downstairs for protection. He did not know if his wife and unborn child had survived and, in the chaos and the massive debris, did not know how to find them.

“They were saying ‘No, everyone’s out of the building,’ ” he told CNN.”And I was like ‘No, my wife – my wife is upstairs.’”

Fortunately he soon found his wife who was transported down a stairwell to a nearby hospital in Norman, closer than ever to giving birth. Within hours her son was born, weighing in at 8 pounds, 3 ounces.

She named her son Braeden Immanuel.

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


The Taylors, Jerome, Shayla, Shaeden, and baby Braeden