Houston neighbors form human chain to help woman in labor escape flood waters

August 29, 2017 5:17 pm Last Updated: August 29, 2017 5:17 pm

Greg and Andrea Smith had just moved Houston for advanced training in their medical specialties. The couple, both doctors, thought they had prepared well for the raging Tropical Storm Harvey, even sketching out a Plan B, just in case. But when Greg looked out the window the morning his wife was to give birth, he realized they were going to need a Plan C. Fast.

Greg admitted, “We’re very new to Houston — and new to hurricanes.”

As Harvey moved in towards the city, Greg’s wife Andrea had already been experiencing contractions for weeks. On Saturday night, Greg noticed the light rain, and he figured they should leave for the hospital Sunday morning, just in case the storm approached soon. But when he woke up the next morning he had a rude awakening.

“I expected there would be five or six inches that I could drive through,” Greg says. “I woke up to two or three feet.”

Surrounded by rising flood waters and trapped in their Houston apartment, the couple prepared for a home delivery. “We soon realized we were kind of stuck,” said Greg.

Within a few hours, Andrea began to have serious contractions. She was in labor.

As water levels rose, Greg desperately called 911—but no one picked up. Greg’s mother Chor called the Coast Guard but received no response, so she then called the National Guard only to learn that it would be too late by the time they arrived.

“I knew I would have to do this myself,” Greg says.

The couple realized they were going to have a home birth. With no supplies, no OB/GYN training, and absolutely no birth experience, Greg was understandably worried. Despite the circumstances, he was determined.

“I had some courage, though,” he says. “Even if I had to do a home birth, I felt like it was going to be okay.”

Then help arrived.

Luckily, the apartment complex was home to many other medical professionals, and after a neighbor asked for assistance on a community forum, they all joined in to help. Soon dozens of neighbors arrived with sutures, scissors and other supplies.

Chor ran to the kitchen to sanitize the tools.

“I was sterilizing instruments and preparing the room, and they were making a plan,” Chor said.

“My son was cool, calm and collected. He was ready to deliver his child.”

Meanwhile an obstetrician friend of Greg’s planned to coach them through the delivery via Skype.

Everything was under control.

But waters continued to rise and the team decided to move the delivery room to a neighbor’s 2nd floor apartment to avoid the flood waters.

Twitter/Callie Hatcher

Just as they were headed upstairs to a neighbors second floor apartment, they spotted what looked like a huge garbage truck on the street. It was waiting for them.

“They said, ‘We’re here for you,’ ” said Greg.

A neighbor had their father alert a fire station about the entrapped family and came to the rescue.

Neighbors then formed a human chain to get Andrea safely across the now waist-deep flooding waters and into the truck bed to head to the hospital.

“They grabbed their coats and umbrellas and the baby’s bags. Then off they went.” said the grandmother-to-be, Chor.


At 1:59 a.m. on Monday, baby Adrielle was born. Despite a few minor complications that left her in the intensive care unit, Adrielle is a healthy, happy baby.

“Everything about this pregnancy we said is God’s will. That’s why her name is Adrielle. It means she belongs to God.”

Andrea and Gregory had tried to have a child for a very long time. After two miscarriages, the couple “surrender[ed] this to God” before Andrea finally became pregnant with Adrielle.

“Everything about this pregnancy is God’s will,” said Greg.

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