Breaking News
More () »

Meet Willow. She's one of ten Savannah newborns transported to an Atlanta hospital ahead of Dorian.

Willow Wood spent her birth night on a ventilator, then the next week in the NICU. Then came Dorian.

ATLANTA — Brandon and Tierani Wood spend their days waiting.

They wait with their daughter, Willow, born three weeks ahead of schedule and currently receiving treatment in neonatal intensive care.

They wait in Atlanta, 200 miles from their home and the storm that might bombard it.

“It’s just the anxiety of our baby being here,” Tierani said, “and not knowing if you’re going to have a home to go back to.”

Willow was one of ten newborns from Savannah who were transported to Scottish Rite Hospital in Atlanta because of the threat of Hurricane Dorian. She’s in a NICU with 39 beds, all of which are full with patients.

“When she was born,” Tierani recalls, “and they laid her on my chest, she was kind of blue, and I got very upset because I didn’t see her breathing. They took her away for four hours, and it was the longest four hours of my life.”

Willow spent her birth night on a ventilator. Feeding issues kept her in the NICU. A week later, a tropical wave called Dorian developed into a hurricane, with the Georgia coast in its path.

 “You can prepare for a situation, but when that situation changes, it throws you for a loop,” Brandon Wood told 11Alive’s Matt Pearl.

Earlier this week, a team from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta transported the newborns more than 200 miles from Savannah.

“They’re displaced from their homes,” said Cara Von Treek, the manager of clinical operations for the NICU at Scottish Rite. “It’s making sure they have a place to stay once they get here too.”

With their home and their daughter, Brandon and Tierani can do little but wait. They bought a Minnie Mouse beanie baby to watch over Willow’s crib in the NICU.

“All our stuff is there,” Tierani said of their home on the Hunter Army Airfield, where Brandon serves as a sergeant. “I don’t know if our kids are going to have our beds, if we’re going to have our beds, if we’re going to have anything at all.”

So they devote their time to Willow. They read to her. They hold her. And they live in the smiles that erase all fears, even for a moment.

“It just helps you forget about everything,” Brandon said. “It’s warm … it makes you feel like, ‘This is all that matters right now.’”

Brandon and Tierani have two other children, ages 6 and 4. They’re staying with their grandparents while their parents stay with Willow.


Dorian threatens Carolinas as residents begin hurricane preparations

Ludacris donates $100K proceeds from event to Hurricane Dorian relief efforts in Bahamas

How to help those in the Bahamas impacted by Hurricane Dorian

'No one is OK': Woman in the Bahamas waits out Dorian as her home becomes shelter

 Hurricane chaser shares remarkable story of riding out Dorian in Bahamas

Before You Leave, Check This Out