When Greg Smith saw the rising floodwaters outside his Houston apartment on Sunday, he knew instantly that his pregnant wife Andrea Smith would go into labor that day. He did not, however, know that a dump truck would rescue his family while his wife was about to give birth.
Greg and his wife, both doctors, arrived in Houston in late July to do advanced medical training in their respective specialities. Greg is a pediatric anesthesiologist and Andrea specializes in geriatrics.
“We’re very new to Houston — and new to hurricanes,” Greg tells PEOPLE. But hurricane-savvy neighbors and co-workers agreed that the couple had a good plan in place for the birth of their first child, including a backup plan to go early to the hospital in order to avoid problems.
Both parents were very much looking forward to the baby’s arrival.
“We had two miscarriages before this,” Greg says. “We’ve always wanted a little baby.”
When Andrea didn’t get pregnant after her last miscarriage, the couple turned to faith for guidance.
“We felt like we had to surrender this to God,” Greg says. “Everything about this pregnancy is God’s will.”
Andrea had been experiencing serious contractions for weeks, and as the expected due date approached, the contractions continued.
Keeping a close eye on the weather, Greg decided that in light of the approaching storm, he would drive his wife to the hospital on Sunday morning. On Saturday night, the weather was mild with only light rains and no accumulation.
“I expected there would be five or six inches that I could drive through,” Greg says. “I woke up to two or three feet.”
Greg and Andrea took a quick survey of their surroundings.
“We soon realized, we were kind of stuck,” Greg says.
Greg’s mother, Sue Chor, already was on hand from Montana, to help the new parents.
“Within a couple hours I noticed Annie having real good contractions,” Chor tells PEOPLE.
The baby was fast on the way. So were more floodwaters.
A desperate Greg called 911.
“It kept kicking us off the line,” he says. “I couldn’t get through.”
When the line finally connected, no one answered the call.
“I put it on speaker phone to wait for someone to answer,” he says.
No one did.
Chor called the Coast Guard. She, too, could not get through. Chor finally reached the National Guard, only to learn that the troops would not arrive quickly enough. They realized they were trapped.
“I knew I would have to do this…