October 30, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
41°F
test

Blame the blizzard

9 months after storm, flurries of babies hit local maternity wards.

A record snowstorm shut down much of the state in February, and now, dozens of baby are being born in November.

A record snowstorm shut down much of the state in February, and now, dozens of baby are being born in November.

Coincidence? Well, you do the math.

Local hospitals are reporting a surge in baby births this week. And, while superstition says a full moon can cause a packed nursery, local hospital staff theorize that there is no hocus pocus behind this latest baby boom.

This surge is all about the storm that forced most couples to cancel their Valentine’s Day plans and, well, find something else to do.

At the Women and Children’s Center at CHP Regional Medical Center in Lorain, three babies normally are delivered in a day. But on Wednesday, six were born, and another eight arrived Thursday, said Patrick Crowley, hospital spokesman.

At EMH Regional Medical Center in Elyria, the third-floor Family Birth Center has seen baby after baby arrive, Nurse Manager Tina Bowker said.

“There’s too many to count,” Bowker said. “But we’re doing great. It’s fun as long as it doesn’t last too long.”

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, Bowker said 22 babies had been born at the Elyria hospital since Tuesday, a number that is growing by the minute.

“We still have five women waiting to deliver today,” she added.

Most of the new mothers and fathers have a common story to share about how they spent the Valentine’s Day blizzard – a tale that doesn’t get told in its entirety, of course, and usually involves a few coy glances between them as it is being recounted.

“I’ll never forget that day,” said 26-year-old Amanda Pachniuk of Lorain. “I spent the entire day shoveling out my car so I can go get my boyfriend and bring him home and once we got there, the electricity and heat were off.

“So we decided to make the best of it. We locked ourselves up in the only warm room we had, had a nice candlelight dinner and nine months later, here we are,” she said from her hospital bed at CHP Regional Medical Center while feeding her newborn son, Caydon Michael Garcia.

The bundle of joy wasn’t planned, but God and Old Man Winter had other plans in store for Pachniuk and father, Matthew Garcia.

The storm – in case anyone has forgotten – was one for the record books.

Temperatures dropped to the single digits and snow blasted Ohio with as much as 15 inches of the white stuff in some places, effectively shutting down much of the state.

Stores and restaurants closed, and traveling was treacherous. The snow made many people prisoners in their own home.

“We weren’t planning to have him, but basically there was nothing to do,” Pachniuk said.

Britnei Yerace and Chad Buffa also remember the day. It came right in the midst of months of trying to conceive, but the couple never really put two and two together.

“That does make sense,” Buffa said. “It was cold out, and we sure didn’t leave the house.”

“I guess you can say we were busy and along came Maria nine months later,” added Yerace as she cradled her new daughter, Maria Monet Buffa-Yerace.

Yerace delivered late Tuesday night and recalls the hospital scene as organized chaos with doctors and nurses rushing all over.

Bowker said the staff handled the influx well – delaying four women who were scheduled to come in to be induced into labor so the staff could deal with the women already in labor.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.