Baby born at UF Health North during height of Hurricane Irma

Published: October 18, 2017
Patrick Donovan, MD, and Tamara Donovan with their newborn daughter, Peyton. View Larger Image

Newborn babies generally arrive on their own schedules, but one UF Health resident and his wife had their plans blown away by the arrival of a record-setting storm.

Patrick Donovan, MD, is a podiatry resident at UF Health Jacksonville. His wife, Tamara, was the only woman to give birth at UF Health North during Hurricane Irma. Their daughter was due Sept. 22, but as they tracked Hurricane Irma’s path toward Florida the second week of September, they had a nagging feeling the storm would complicate the delivery.

“Patrick said when we got pregnant, ‘that lines up with hurricane season. We might have a hurricane baby,’” Tamara said. She received prenatal care from UF Health Women’s Specialists – North, toured the new Labor and Delivery Unit after its opening Aug.15 and was committed to delivering there.

“I didn’t have any signs of labor yet, but we live on the other side of town. If the wind speeds got high enough, the bridges would close and we wouldn’t be able to get to the hospital. We wanted to be able to go there and not a random hospital we have no connection with, so we got a hotel to be close.”

After booking a hotel about 15 minutes away from UF Health North for the night of Sunday, Sept. 10, Tamara awoke at 5 a.m. with contractions.

“We packed like we were going to the hotel, but we ended up never checking in because we went to the hospital on the way, and they said I was going into labor,” she said.

Within an hour of arriving and walking some laps, it was time to push. Peyton Mae Donovan was born Sept. 10 at 10:42 p.m., weighing 6 pounds, 3 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches long.

“Everything went really well and everyone who took care of us was great,” Tamara said. “The nurses were awesome. They were on hurricane duty and staying overnight. They couldn’t go home to their families and were there around the clock. I know they weren’t in the most comfortable situation, but they managed to take great care of us.”

Tamara will return to UF Health Women’s Specialists – North for postpartum care, and Peyton has already gotten a clean bill of health from her first checkup at UF Health Pediatrics – North.

The family is happy, healthy and settling in at home. The only downside to this story is how many well-meaning people suggested Peyton should have been named Irma.

“I’m so sick of that joke,” Tamara laughed. “I’ve started saying, ‘You’re the first one to tell me that!’”

For information about delivering at UF Health North, visit


Number of Babies Born During Hurricane Irma

UF Health North: One birth, Peyton Donovan

UF Health Jacksonville: 15 births total, 10 girls and five boys

Patrick Donovan, MD, and Tamara Donovan with their newborn daughter, Peyton.

For more information, please contact:
UF Health Media Relations