With her Lake Arrowhead family fighting treacherous roads in whiteout conditions, baby girl “Winter” Wade made her entrance into the world just as Blizzard ’23 began.
Brady and Crystal Wade were preparing for her birth as the storm raged and conditions worsened on Thursday, Feb. 23. When Brady got home from work, his wife was having contractions.
It was time to go.
He recounted the story for a photojournalist with OnScene.TV:
Brady Wade started quickly loading supplies into his car to take Crystal to their hospital in Fontana.
“By the time I did the final load, she was having contractions every five minutes,” Brady said. “By the time we hit Blue Jay, my wife was in labor, and we were still about 50 minutes from the hospital.”
As the Wades snaked along icy Rim of the World highway, doctors told them to find the nearest hospital and deliver the baby there.
They finally reached a hospital in Fontana after getting down the mountain and blowing through red lights.
“The doctor told (Crystal) that if her water had broken, we would have had to give birth on the Rim of the World highway,” Brady said.
With mama and baby safe and healthy, the Wades got a hotel in Redlands and waited for clearance to go home. Their 4-year-old son was still in Lake Arrowhead, staying with family friends.
Eventually, the couple was able to drive home with permission from the California Highway Patrol. The Wades trekked up the mountain, even driving past equipment that had slid off an overpass and hung precariously over the highway.
When they reached their neighborhood, Brady and Crystal hiked six blocks through four-foot snow drifts with baby Winter nestled in Crystal’s jacket.
On Saturday, they were waiting for their roads to be plowed. Brady said that he has not seen the road plowed since the storm started.
“Typically we’re prepared for this,” Brady said. “It’s just too big. The deferred maintenance on the snow removal is just beyond the county snow plows at this point. At this point, we’re kind of stranded.”
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