Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Field Trip to the Basement

What do you do when severe weather and tornados are imminent and you have four little babies with special needs?

This is what Kansas City looked like today at about 1pm

Photographed by Scott Cook. Photo taken from NBC Action News Weather Photo Gallery.

After the Joplin Tornado on Sunday in the southern part of the state, people in this area are a bit more aware of any impending severe weather. I’m already a little sensitive to it because I’m from New Mexico and didn’t grow up with this type of weather, so I tend to pay close attention to anything that looks like a severe thunderstorm. We heard that we were due for some severe weather last night so I started thinking through how that would work in our situation. Babies with oxygen and monitors make it a little harder to move around and requires a bit of planning.

So last night, I decided to pack a laundry basket with a couple of days of supplies just in case. Diapers, wipes, formula, extra onesies, blankets, water, and a set of bottles all went down to the basement. Sean helped me move it and a couple of Abby’s spare travel oxygen tanks down there as well. We watched the weather and nothing was severe enough to send us scurrying to shelter. I pretty much thought that would happen since we went to the trouble of getting a basket of baby supplies together, but at least we were prepared.

This morning I got up and went about the day as usual. I meant to get down to the basement to bring up the baby things and put them away but got distracted when I remembered that the Home Health nurses from Children’s Mercy Hospital were coming to assess the babies at 10:00am. Sean helped me get each baby undressed and diapered as we rotated through them to get weights. Carole, one of our wonderful helpers, took notes on the appointment so that Sean and I could focus on the babies. The good news is that all of the babies are gaining weight well and thriving here at home! Anyhow, just as we were finishing up, the tornado sirens started ringing off in our neighborhood. Were we supposed to have a tornado today?! Somehow, I missed that while watching the news last night! At first, I thought it was just the monthly test, but then Sean said that those were actual tornado sirens. I looked at the Home Health nurses, Jennifer and Ellen, and asked them if they would go to the basement with us. At first, they said they’d be fine, but then changed their minds as they realized that the weather was changing too fast. We quickly started unplugging monitors and oxygen, and began moving babies downstairs. It took a couple of trips, but we made it downstairs in short order.

At the same time that this was going on, we realized that Cheryl, another one of our helpers was on her way to our house in the storm. She had just called and said she was on her way right before the sirens started going off. We left the front door open so that she could make a beeline into the house when she got here. Thankfully, she showed up a few minutes later. I was so worried that she wouldn’t make it! Turns out that she drove right through the spot where a funnel cloud had been seen!

Meanwhile, Sean was watching the news on TV and they were saying that a tornado had been spotted just across the state line in Kansas…only about 10 minutes from our house…and it was moving right for us. Sean thought it would probably swing north and miss us, but after a few minutes, he came downstairs with the rest of us and said, “Okay, it will be here in about 15 minutes. And the mailman is parked outside so I left the front door unlocked for him in case he wants to come in.” Uh…the mailman is parked outside?! I ran up the stairs from the basement and threw open the front door, hoping he would look up and see me standing there. He looked up as I was debating whether or not to go out in the pouring rain and knock on his window. I frantically waved him inside. Whoa, that guy could move fast!

So here is a picture (yes, I thought ahead and grabbed my camera!) of everyone who crowded in our basement to wait out the tornados:

Cheryl and Caleb, Jennifer, Carole, Ellen and Ellie, Sean and his bagel, and Frazier the Mailman (the other two babies are next to Cheryl in the laundry room)

It was actually pretty funny! We had two nurses who were charting, four babies who were past their scheduled feeding time, Sean eating a bagel, and a soaking wet mailman! Seven adults and a set of quadruplets! Hehe!

Frazier narrated what was happening outside for us while listening to his weather radio. Happily, the dangerous clouds passed over us and continue on their way, but it was an adrenaline rush!

So apparently we have a good tornado plan in place! Next time, though, I’d love to skip the part with the monitors and oxygen. I’m so happy that everyone on the road made it in safely and that we didn’t have any damage, but I still feel really bad for the folks in Sedalia who lost homes in the storms today and also for those down in Joplin who will be rebuilding their lives for months to come.

--Posted by Becca


  1. Rebecca....There is NEVER a dull moment with you guys!!! Praise God you are all safe!

  2. :O) I love you guys so much and I love that you were there to take care of the mailman too! You are awesome and God totally picked the right momma and papa for these precious babies!!! Thanks for being such a wonderful example of compassion! And thanks for the smile!!

  3. What an incredible adventure! May the Lord keep you all safe... and help you find time someday to put all these amazing blogs into a book! Love hearing from you... and I do pray!

  4. Well Ms Becca the Lord is surely with you, your family & friends!!!! I just bet the whole neighboor-hood knows there's a safe-haven at your home, & would't think twice to stop for help....
    Sweetie, I really think that your even ready & PREPARED for the last day on earth... W H A T A W O M A N :) hug's

  5. i love that you got the mailman too... poor guy probably didnt know what to do! cool witness also! :-) i hope you have a less frantic day today though :-)

  6. I thought about you guys yesterday while we were all waiting on the first floor at Calvary Bible College during the sirens (your dad called me from Belton during all of this - I told him he should come here and wait with us!).

    Thank you for posting this! Great pic and really neat about the mailman and nurses! The Fed Ex lady and the exterminator waited it out here with us!

  7. Wow, that is one heck of a day. Those babies were probably worn out! :) Great pic full of memories. Wow, what do mailmen do usually? How many wonderful people like you are there who hang out the door and wave them inside?? Great for you. We were on a field trip at union station and got to hang in the storm shelter there with my son's whole fifth grade and a ton of other people. It sure made for an interesting time.

  8. I thought of you guys on Sunday night when the tornado hit Joplin and wondered if you had a basement. I am thankful it missed you and hopefully they ALL will miss you. You are right about the months and months of rebuilding. When you drive through the area affected you feel like you are in a movie scene. It is so surreal!
    Will continue to pray for you guys for months and months too.

  9. In Lawrence, Ks, we were watching all this weather and thining of all we know in KC and sending up prayers. Thankful to hear that you heeded the sirens, planned a head and had plenty of help when you needed it. Hope it doesn't happen again but good to know you have a plan, had to use it and it worked.

  10. Really. You need to write a book. :)

  11. I copied this and forwarded the story to some people I work with. That's an amazing (and somewhat humorous) coincidence. :)

  12. Glad you are all safe! I too think it's so funny that the mailman ended up in your basement...poor guy! Thanks for sharing your memorable experience!

  13. I wonder if the mailman found it amuzing that you had four babies....that's awesome that you guys thought of him- i bet he really appreciated it

  14. laughing out loud at the picture...something about the mailman in his uniform with all the others and four babies is hysterical to me! But, wow, i thought i had it rough huddled in a closet in the basement with a 3 and 1 years olds...glad everyone is safe!

  15. I totally understand all the extra equipment!!! My daughter (24weeker) is still on oxygen and feeding tube. So storm weather keeps me on my toes. I need to get a basket downstairs as well. Glad the storm missed ya! Your nurse Jennifer, totally awesome. She was my daughters as well and we're still friends. :)

  16. That is so funny that your husband was just like yeah, the mailman is outside in his vehicle so I left the front door open for him, lol! I bet that was a sight!


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