Born during the storm: The babies of Hurricane Florence

Congratulations to these brave mamas!

Born during the storm: The babies of Hurricane Florence
Danielle Digregorio

For most mothers, the final weeks and days leading up to thier due date are spent mostly at home, nesting and resting.

But many mothers who live in the path of Hurricane Florence don't have that option right now. For these mamas, the final days of pregnancy are being spent away from home, seeking shelter from the storm.

Hurricane Florence has forced so many people to change their lives and plans, but babies can't change theirs. They're coming, storm or no storm. Their birth stories are a bright spot in a week that's been anything but for those facing Florence.

Let's meet some of the babies welcomed by brave mamas so far during Florence.

Rachel and Levi English welcomed baby Matilda

The day before their baby girl was due, this North Carolina couple had to evacuate their home in New Bern, North Carolina, where thousands of homes have been damaged by rising flood waters.

"It was really scary knowing we were expecting a baby really any minute and potentially unable to get to the hospital or left without electricity for days and days with a newborn," Rachel told CBS Philly.

Rachel's family lives up in Haverford, Pennsylvania, and that's where the couple headed. An eight-hour drive could not have been easy for Rachel, and not long after she arrived in her hometown, the contractions started. On Friday morning Matilda was born at Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.

Neighbors reportedly told the Englishes that their house looks okay, but the couple is confident they made the right choice.

"We're just really glad we got out of there," Rachel told CBS Philly.

Amber Simmons and Conner Faulk welcomed baby Carson 

Not all expecting mamas were able to travel out of state like the Englishes did. The day before Matilda was born, little Carson Faulk came into the world at Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center in Bolivia, North Carolina.

His mom and dad, Amber Simmons and Conner Faulk, live in nearby Supply, North Carolina. In the days leading up to their son's birth, the couple was growing anxious, even though their due date wasn't until September 25.

"Everybody kept telling us it was going to happen during the storm. We didn't want it to, but it did," Faulk explained to Good Morning America.

Thankfully, Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center remained open (but in lock-down mode) during the storm to care for urgent medical needs.

"We're glad we're in a safe place. They're looking out for us really well here at the hospital," said Faulk.

Cpl. Nicholas and Danielle Digregorio welcome twins Sadie and Scarlett

With a storm and twins on the way, Danielle Digregorio and her husband, Cpl. Nicholas Digregorio, decided to leave Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina while they could, and headed home to St. Augustine, Florida last week.

"We were pretty nervous to leave North Carolina while expecting twins, but our doctor and our family felt like it was the right thing to do," the new parents explained in a joint statement to TODAY Parents. "We were confident we could make the drive, which is normally seven hours, but turned out to be a long 12 hours."

"It was very uncomfortable being so far along and cramped up. But, it was worth it in the long run," Danielle tells Motherly via Facebook messenger.

Not long after the Digregorios arrived in Florida, their twins, Sadie and Scarlett, were born at Naval Hospital Jacksonville. The couple says the "nurses and doctors at Naval Hospital Jacksonville have been awesome, and everything worked out perfectly with the care here."

Danielle hopes that pregnant women who face a similar natural disaster or storm will listen to both their doctors and their instincts when making a decision about how and when to leave their home.

"It all boils down to what the safest option is for their family and their conditions. I would have to say, it took quite a bit of faith and trust that we were doing the right thing," says Danielle, who recommends talking through a few different plans with your medical team until you're comfortable that you've come up with the safest option.

"At the end of it all, I would have never did anything any different. We turned out safe and so did our beautiful girls," she says.

[Update, September 16: Added direct quotes from Danielle Digregorio]

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With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

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Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


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Detective set

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Wooden doll stroller

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Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

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Water play set

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Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

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Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

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Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

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Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

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The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

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Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

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Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

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There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

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Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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