What a scary experience! September 13, 2008 will be forever be etched in my mind. Here is my personal account of what happened w/ our family & Hurricane Ike.
As you all know, we were doing fine through Friday afternoon. We were constantly going outside to look & see if the weather was changing & honestly, it wasn't until about 7 pm that things started to finally change b/c we were starting to question whether this storm was ever going to reach us. I suppose time was standing still & the anticipation of the storm was not helping. The babies went to bed w/o a problem, it was me that couldn't shut my eyes b/c the wind was whipping trees around like they were blades of tall grass. All I could think about was the tree in front of our bedroom & also the big 1 behind our bedroom. We were all in our "bunker" & I just didn't feel really good about it so I went out to the living room to see the news. Needless to say, there were the normal amount of crazy reporters standing out on the shore as Ike started to take over.
I think I finally fell asleep at 11 pm & was hoping to stay that way until it was time to pump. YES...I was still planning on pumping. I know, crazy woman! What can I say? I was worried about my babies & their milk! Unfortunately, things didn't work out that way. Todd woke me up at 1 am & told me to come downstairs but I told him I was fine. He came back at 2 am to get me up to pump. I walked downstairs & the lights flickered on & off...perfect timing. I guess it wasn't in the cards for me to pump. The electricity stayed off.
At about the same time, my 13 yr old neighbor, Katy, called me & told me that her dad heard the tree behind our bedroom make a loud crack or splitting sound & that we needed to get out of the bedroom. Todd & I rushed in, grabbing each baby & putting them in their car seats. We figured if they are good enough to withstand a crash in a car, they were good enough to help protect the babies during the storm. I also made it easy to carry them where we needed to. Since the wind from the storm was coming in from the northeast, we put the babies in the southwest side of the house which also happened to be the laundry room. Thank God they slept right through the transition!
I laid down next to the door & Todd next to me. For the next 3 hours we laid there listening to all kinds of things flying around outside, hitting the side of the house & wondering if our roof was going to fly off. At some point, Todd heard dripping & upon investigating, found a huge puddle of water in front of our bay window. It was coming from the ceiling. We had no idea how & with it still pitch dark outside, had no way of finding out what was going on out there that would allow water to leak through our roof. It did warp our floor so who knows, maybe we'll get a new floor out of all this.
At about 5 am things got really scary. The wind was blowing so hard that the house was shaking. It didn't seem like it was going to let up & there I was trying to breastfeed each baby b/c if I didn't feed them, we would have screaming infants that were starving. Considering that Sofi had refused the breast several times before, it was not another stress I needed to deal with. THANK GOD for little favors! She latched right on as did Gabi & Ian. WAAAAAHOOOOO! Might I add that it was a much needed relief b/c I was completely engorged!
As the sun started coming up & dawn presented us enough light to look out the window, what the dark hid finally came to light (pun intended). We are glad that we heeded our neighbors warning b/c we saw that the tree behind our bedroom was half down. It fell the other way...another little favor from the man upstairs.
The light showed us just how scary Ike was. The wind was amazing. It looked like our big old oak trees didn't stand a chance against Ike's fury. Our magnolia tree lost many branches & you couldn't see the ground due to all the debri. The street was littered in trees (yes, whole trees), branches, leaves, wood from fences, & shingles from roof tops. Fences were down all over the place. Trees were on top of homes & cars. The light brought a scary reality, one that I had not seen since seeing my parents' land outside of Waco after a tornado tore through it.
The humidity & heat set in & that is when I knew we were in for it. I wanted to hope & pray that our electricity would come back that same day but knew I would be holding my breath so we had to start thinking about how to make it w/ the babies. Thankfully our generator came in VERY HANDY keeping my 600 oz of frozen milk & all of our perishables fresh. We banded together w/ our neighbors & had community dinners. They cooked 1 night, we cooked the next. Clean up was about helping one another. The elderly couple across the street checked on regularly until they left knowing that electricity would not return for many days to come. Life felt much like it did when I was a child...everyone supported one another but back then it was not due to a hurricane, it was b/c that is how life was. Fortunately this is something we all rediscovered b/c of Ike. We agreed that the sentiment needed to continue after not just in the time of need.
Our babies survivied...naked. They would not sleep in their cribs b/c it was too hot so nap time was in the swings downstairs while Todd & I worked on cleaning up the yard. On Monday morning, we got a cool front which helped make things tolerable, even enjoyable weather wise but that wasn't before we sweated it out for 48 hours. We were constantly worried about running out of gas & came pretty darn close to it, having to ask his parents to bring us some of their rations. The only time we had communication w/ the outside world is when the generator ran & we could watch the news which of course was only about Ike & his horrible distruction. Our phones hardly worked & we still have problems getting phone calls out on the cells.
Electricity could not have been more welcomed. We had just finished dinner & were getting ready for bed when there was a surge & then the lights came on. I started to say, "OH MY GOD" over & over again while running out the door to go to our neighbor's home. Jane & I embraced & cried b/c we were so happy to have electricity once again. Then the party started. Everyone came out their front doors hoopin' & hollerin', good ol' Texas style. We congregated in the street & talked about our experiences over the past few days & knew we had won...Ike was finally defeated!
If someone had told me a year ago that we would weather a category 2 hurricane w/ 3 5.5 month old babies, I would have laughed in their faces. The thought is absurd but our strength & help from our families along w/ our FANTASTIC neighbors (Jane, Steve, Kate, & Jennifer) and our families (Mom, Dad, Bill, & Donna) we were able to prepare for the storm, weather the lack of electricity & become stronger b/c of it all. What an experience!
Our backyard & the tree that came down.
The debri covering the street.
Our front yard.
Our tree on our neighbor's garage.
Eating while the generator is on.