Winter's tale: Couple braves blizzard conditions to reach hospital for daughter's birth staff KABC logo
Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Arrowhead couple braves blizzard for birth of baby they named Winter
The parents of newborn Winter Wade struggled through SoCal's worst blizzard in decades, making it past snow drifts and treacherous roads to reach the hospital for her birth.

LAKE ARROWHEAD, Calif. (KABC) -- A baby born during the midst of last week's massive blizzard will have quite the winter's tale to tell someday.

The parents of newborn Winter Wade struggled through Southern California's worst blizzard in decades, making it past massive snow drifts and treacherous road conditions to reach the hospital just in time for her birth.

And they had an even harder time getting home afterward.

Brady Wade says when he got home from work in Lake Arrowhead in the middle of the storm there was already 3-4 feet of snow on the ground.

His wife's contractions had started and by the time they got the car ready to go - and left their other child with a friend - they were about five minutes apart.

One major concern: Their hospital was in Fontana.

"By the time we hit Blue Jay, with the road conditions very challenging, my wife was in labor. And we were still about 50 minutes from the hospital."

At one point, they got a call from Kaiser Permanente advising them to just find the nearest hospital rather than trying to reach Fontana. But by then they were losing cell service and decided they had gone far enough that they would just keep going.

"We ended up making it off the hill, despite the road conditions on 18. As soon as we got down, we started going through red lights and made very quick time to Fontana."

"By the time she arrived at the hospital she was already 8-plus centimeters dilated," Brady said. "The doctor told her if her water would have broken she would have given birth on Rim of the World Highway."

They thought it was only appropriate to name their daughter Winter.

But with the snow continuing to fall, getting home two days later was even more difficult. They couldn't wait the storm out as their other child, a 4-year-old boy, was being watched by a family that was running out of food.

At one point trying to get back, Caltrans stopped them on Highway 18, warning that one of their loaders had slid off an overpass and was partially blocking the road.

"They said we could pass because of the newborn if we needed to, but it was at our own risk. So we took that risk and luckily we made it by. 18 was terrible coming up. It was one lane each way. It was blizzard conditions. It was really bad."

They finally managed to retrieve their son and make it back to their own neighborhood - but not their own home. The roads were unplowed starting about six blocks from the house. That left the family and their two young children to trudge through 5 feet of snow on foot just to finally get home safe.

It's been more than a week now and they're still waiting at home for the county to bring in equipment to plow their roads.

"This is biblical. It's unmanageable at this point. People are gonna be in very serious trouble. We're lucky to be safe and secure, but there are legitimate emergencies up here that need to be taken care of."