St. Augustine mom delivers baby at height of Hurricane Irma

Family's 4th child -- aptly named Noah -- makes early appearance

By Kristen Cosby - Reporter

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - As Hurricane Irma bore down on the Jacksonville area early Monday morning, a St. Augustine family got an early special delivery.

"The floodgates were open, and Noah was coming,” Priscilla Francois said.

Francois was due to deliver her fourth child on Sept. 25, but baby Noah, whose name Francois and her husband actually chose months ago, decided he didn't want to wait.

During the height of the storm, in harrowing conditions, Francois' water broke about 2 a.m. Monday.

She said she knew right away that Noah was breach and would need to be delivered by cesarean section at a hospital -- hurricane or no hurricane.

Francois, her husband and their three children were staying with family at World Golf Village. 

Gregory Francois quickly called 911, hoping the ambulance would be able to make it to his wife.

“We knew that the delivery could not happen the way the baby was, the position it was in, and so since I'm a registered nurse myself, I realized it was a really dangerous situation, and we were in dire straits,” Gregory said. “We were really praying that the rescue would come and get us, because we were really in trouble."

The ambulance did show up in the middle of the storm, and the rescue workers let Priscilla know there was little hope of keeping her dry as they put her into the vehicle.

"They told me, 'You are going to get soaked. You are going to get wet.' And my sister-in-law threw a poncho over me. I could barely hold it down. The wind was insane and the rain, and I was like, 'I can't believe this is happening to us,'” Priscilla said.

Despite the unbelievable circumstances, the rescue workers managed the 40-minute drive to get Priscilla to Flagler Hospital.

"The firefighter -- rescue man next to me was driving very, very carefully,” Gregory said. “There were limbs everywhere, branches, debris all over the road. It was flooding on the streets."

The hospital was running on a back-up generator and there was no air conditioning for the medical staff or Priscilla, but Noah was delivered safely at 4 a.m.

Priscilla said she hopes Noah, whose name means comfort and rest, always knows he was a miracle.

"It was God just having his hand on us in the middle of the storm,” she said. “We are so blessed."

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