- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 20, 2003

SALISBURY, Md. (AP) — As a hurricane swirled over her house in Somerset County, Graciela Avila Alcantar began to feel her baby try to push herself out into the world.

Hours later, when she saw her daughter’s little, puckered face for the first time, there was only one name that fit her.


“It was a very special day she was born on, so we said, ‘Yes, why not?’” Mrs. Alcantar, 33, a native of Mexico, said as her Spanish-speaking lactation nurse translated for her. “Something very beautiful happened on a day when there was so much fear.”

Isabel Avila Alcantar, born at 8:58 a.m. Thursday, slept peacefully Friday morning, giving no indication that she was named after a hurricane that roared out of the Atlantic Ocean to slam into the Mid-Atlantic.

She barely stirred as a camera flashed, photographing the dark hair that matched her mother’s.

“Yes, she is very calm, but wait until it is time to eat,” Mrs. Alcantar said, smiling.

Mrs. Alcantar’s labor pains woke her up at about 2 a.m. Thursday, just as the wind picked up and clouds rolled over the Eastern Shore. She withstood the pain for about three hours before asking her husband, Augusto, to crank up the Chevrolet Blazer and take her to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury.

She wasn’t worried about her own delivery; she knew she would have a Caesarean section, as she had her previous two babies. She did worry about her other four children, left behind with her sister-in-law.

Elias, 11, Erasmo, 7, Emilio, 5, and Maria del Carmen, 13 months, went to a hurricane shelter in Princess Anne. There, they crowded into Washington High School with about 600 other evacuees and waited for news of their new little sister.

They were to meet her for the first time Friday afternoon.

Mrs. Alcantar said she expects to recover at the hospital for a couple of days, along with four other babies, none of whom was named Isabel.

“It was the right name for her,” Mrs. Alcantar said. She smoothed Isabel’s outfit, covered with yellow chicks — holding umbrellas.

“The minute she was born, she was Isabel,” she said.

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