Family shares dramatic tale of late pregnancy during hurricane evacuation

Imagine getting stuck in a traffic jam with thousands of people trying to evacuate from a storm, while in the beginning stages of labor. That's exactly what a couple from Louisiana went through trying to get to Houston. Texas Children's Hospital came to the rescue.

Payton Matherne was 39-weeks pregnant when dealing with a Category 4 hurricane barreling down on her in Louisiana. They made the big decision to evacuate, and a typical five-hour drive turned into nine hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic with everyone trying to leave!


"I'm following her and her grandma waiting for her to pull over on the side road and tell me that we're having a baby," explains Corey Matherne. "But we didn't! We made it! We evacuated to Cypress, Texas, which is where my parents live. We also had our four dogs with us, which was an added complication to it. We're talking big dogs," explains Payton.

The Matherne's evacuated on August 28. Payton's doctor says she was already dilating, her body preparing to deliver her baby boy. They're relieved they left! The following day, Hurricane Ida destroyed their roof and knocked-out their electricity for three weeks. Their little one ended up giving them plenty of time to find a doctor in Houston.

"He was not born until September 8, and his due date was September 3, so we got to the point where I needed to have some type of pre-natal care and so my doctor actually called Texas Children's, and that's when Dr. Devin Demery took me on as a patient," explains Payton.

A stressful time because Payton had her birth plan in place with her own doctor in her own state, it was tough on the entire family.

"I was the worrywart! I mean since the day we left to until he was here, she asked me that day before her induction day, she says okay, she says you're stressing out, you want to get induced we can go today on my check-up. Just the feelings of the whole situation were overwhelming," says Corey. 


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Those fears of delivering on the side of the road did not come true, but Payton's new doctor did have to induce labor.

Dr. Karin Fox is the Medical Director of Maternal Transport with Texas Children's Pavilion for Women. She says they're prepared to help expecting moms get to them as quickly as possible, even if it's by plane, which luckily the Matherne's didn't have to rely on. She explains Payton's situation.

"Once we start getting past 41 weeks of pregnancy, there is a slightly increased risk for having complications. And so that's a good time to consider needing to deliver. And monitoring is essential, making sure that the baby's still doing well, enough fluid around the baby and that the mother herself is not having complications like high blood pressure is important," states Dr. Fox.

Payton is relieved that Texas Children's Pavilion for Women welcomed her with open arms. As a level four maternal care facility, they're prepared to handle the most complicated pregnancies.

"We have learned, especially through hurricanes that we've been through and major weather events through the coronavirus pandemic, that we are all in this together. So we want to make sure that we are providing outstanding care, that we are able to take care of high-risk pregnancies whether they've had care with us or not, and that again, we can help our greater community including those in neighboring communities as well," says Dr. Fox.


"Everything worked out the way it was supposed to. My family actually evacuated to Houston with us, so they were only there until right after the storm. But it was like the whole I guess like our safety net. Our emotional safety net was all there on both sides, and we were all in the same town. It was nice," says Corey. 

Now their precious little Tillman is the light of their lives and as healthy as can be.

"It's been very comforting to be at home with him," smiles Payton.

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