Man helps girlfriend deliver baby at South Florida home during Hurricane Irma

'My boyfriend and I started panicking,' Tatyanna Watkins says

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A South Florida woman delivered her baby early Sunday at her boyfriend's home in northwest Miami-Dade in the midst of Hurricane Irma.

Tatyanna Watkins, 23, thought she would have been fine riding out the storm at home because she wasn't expected to deliver until after the storm passed on Monday.

"I put the heating pad on to help with the pain, but it wasn't working like I hoped," Watkins said. "But around 5:30 a.m., my boyfriend and I started panicking. I couldn't stop screaming."

Watkins went into labor at her boyfriend's home, where she was staying because she had been evacuated from her own house in Homestead.

Watkins planned to give birth at Jackson South Community Hospital, but wasn't able to get to the hospital during the storm.

City of Miami Fire Rescue crews were also unable to reach the woman during the storm, so a 911 dispatcher, along with University of Miami Health System/Jackson Memorial Hospital obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Kendra Gillespie collaborated on a three-way call that included Watkins and boyfriend, David Knight.

The doctor and dispatcher walked the couple through the delivery of their baby girl and instructed them on how to tie off the placenta.

"I had to remain calm and not panic for myself and boyfriend, but I was very nervous," Watkins said. "My boyfriend was traumatized, and we hope to never go through this again."

The couple named their daughter Destiny Janine Knight. She weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces and was 20 inches long at birth.

"There were a flurry of emotions -- concern about the delivery going without complication, excitement that parents were getting to have this moment and laughter listening to Mr. Knight complete the delivery of the placenta in utter awe," Gillespie said. "This was not something I had ever considered would actually materialize, but I went into medicine for this reason, and I've been trained well to help."

A City of Miami Fire Rescue crew was able to get to the family later in the morning and took them to The Women's Hospital at Jackson Memorial at about 8 a.m.   

"All the medical staff kept calling me the Irma superstar," Watkins said.

Watkins and Destiny are expected to be discharged from the hospital later this week, as Destiny is being monitored at Holtz Children's Hospital Pediatric Cardiac ICU to ensure that she continues to be healthy and is ready to go home, hospital officials said.  

Destiny is Watkins' third child. Her 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter were with her parents during the storm. 

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