McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

November 24, 2013

Mom: ‘Twister’ baby healthy, happy

MOORE — For most Oklahoma residents Nov. 20 marks the somber six-month anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that tore through Moore. But for one mother, the date symbolizes new life.

Shayla Taylor was moments from giving birth to her second child at Moore Medical Center when the tornado hit the building. Six months later, her son, Braeden Immanuel, lives up to the nickname “Twister” he earned shortly after birth.

“Nothing was easy with him,” Taylor said, referring to a difficult pregnancy. “It’s only right that he would come into the world in that type of situation because it wasn’t easy. But I still think about him all the time and how crazy he came into the world.

“And he’s a ball of fun. He’s a ball of excitement. He’s all of that. He’s unpredictable at times, as well — his personality is just like that situation. You really can’t predict him. He’ll make you laugh but he has an unpredictable personality.”

As the storm approached on May 20, Taylor’s nurses decided her labor was too far progressed to move her downstairs to safety with the rest of those in the hospital, including Taylor’s husband, Jerome, and their then 4-year-old son, Shaiden. Taylor and her four nurses were left upstairs bracing for the worst.

The nurses — Barbara Brand, Cindy Popejoy, Bonny Stephens and Alyson Heeke — piled towels on top of Taylor and ducked down around her bed just before the tornado collided with the building, Taylor said. When the storm passed, the women opened their eyes to discover the wall was gone and they could see straight out to the interstate.

Taylor was still having strong contractions. Her husband and the nurses managed to get her out of the badly damaged medical center and into an ambulance, which took her to the HealthPlex Hospital in nearby Norman. There she gave birth to her healthy, 8-pound, 3-ounce boy.

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