A Flood of Problems

“It’s helpful when we’re talking about all these negative things that could happen to remember that there’s also post-traumatic growth, or positive out- comes, where people can really prioritize their lives differently and get a dif- ferent perspective on things,” she said. “They can also increase their faith in humanity with all the volunteers and increased social connectivity. I think sometimes people are surprised at their own ability to skillfully manage new challenges or adversity.”

“When I came to, the baby was there”

Around 12:30 am on Aug. 27, Nacole Myers and her husband, Kevin, realized that water had risen to more than a foot on their street in Friendswood, and more rain just kept falling. They and their two young sons, ages 6 and 3, were trapped.

“The water was moving so fast that it was like white-water rapids in the middle of the street,” said Nacole, who was 39 weeks pregnant. “The neighbor’s basketball goal was fl oating down the road, and my husband went out there and got it.” But the water seemed to recede at times, leading them to believe for a while

that everything would be okay. Instead, it rose sharply through the night and began pouring into their house. Kevin tried to fl ag down rescue boats to get his pregnant wife and two sons to safety. One boat refused to take them because the water wasn’t deep enough and other residents were in more serious trouble. Another boat’s rescuers couldn’t hear Kevin over the sound of their boat motor. Still other boats were full. Meanwhile, Nacole — who is a registered nurse — was in her room trying to

rest and stay calm with her two sons. That became harder when her contractions started.

“I’m thinking if I lay down and be still, they’ll go away,” she said. “And they

just kept getting stronger, and they were about 15 minutes apart. But they weren’t regular.” By 7:20 am, the contractions had become faster and harder. Kevin fi nally got hold of a neighbor at the nearby Westwood Elementary School shelter, and he let authorities know of Nacole’s predicament. About 20 minutes later, a boat showed up. Kevin stayed behind to help rescue the family dog as well as some neighbor’s dogs — and to try to save what was left of the house, which was now waist-high in water. When Nacole got into the fl at-bottomed rescue boat, the contractions

became even more intense. To make things worse, the boat had to stop to rescue seven more people and three dogs on the way back to the elementary school. “They didn’t have a choice,” Nacole said. “By this time … people are in chest-

deep water. They’re screaming, they’re hollering, they’ve got babies.” The ride to the school probably took only 15 minutes. But the minute-apart

contractions made it feel like an eternity. “I was grabbing on to my 6-year-old’s leg so hard he said, ‘Mommy, you’re hurting me,’ and I didn’t even know I was doing it,” she said. She fi nally got to the school and an ambulance arrived quickly, but then

there was another diffi culty. The nurses there said her two sons couldn’t ride in the ambulance because it wasn’t safe. They’d have to stay at the shelter. Luckily,

32 TEXAS MEDICINE November 2017

Nacole saw some neighbors she knew. She reluctantly left the boys with them. Paramedics showed up, got Nacole into the ambulance on the way to Clear Lake Regional Medical Center. Then a whole new set of problems emerged. Her blood pressure was high, and the paramedics feared she was going into preeclampsia because of the stress. On the way to Clear Lake, the ambulance hit high water and had to turn around to fi nd another, longer route. Nacole fi nally arrived at the hospital

around 11 am. Still more complications emerged. The epidural was only par- tially successful, so she felt every con- traction on her right side. More alarm- ingly, the baby’s heart rate dropped with each contraction. The nurses soon realized that the baby’s umbili- cal cord was wrapped around its neck. So Rafi nie Johnson, MD, performed an emergency cesarean section. Tyler Cole Myers was born at 1:33

am. on Aug. 28. He weighed 6 pounds, 6 ounces. Nacole had to be put under anesthesia for the procedure. Her next memory was of seeing her whole fam- ily together in her hospital room. “When I came to, the baby was

there with Kevin and the boys,” she said. “He was perfectly healthy. His Apgar score was nine out of nine.”

Nacole Myers and her two older sons await

evacuation in their garage. Photo courtesy of Nacole Myers

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