Baby born during McMinn County tornado

Baby Ava (source: family)
Amber Newman (source: Facebook)
Amber Newman (source: Facebook)

ATHENS (WATE) – A McMinn County mother is recovering after giving birth following the tornado early Wednesday morning.

Family friend Des Ferguson said mother Amber Newman and baby Avianna are doing fine, but Amber Newman has some bruises and other injuries. Most of her family was injured in the tornado.

“It definitely is a blessing that everybody is fine and came out alright,” said Newman Thursday from her hospital bed.

“We had 20 injured (in the tornado) and one brand new life. The Lord works in mysterious ways,” said McMinn County Mayor John Gentry during a press conference Wednesday.

Related story: 20 injured in Athens tornado early Wednesday morning

Ferguson said she had texted Newman about the tornado around 1:30 p.m., shortly after WATE 6 Storm Team meteorologists Ken Weathers and Matt Hinkin had told people in Athens to get to their safe place. Ferguson said she told Newman to watch the news and that the storm was headed her way.

Des Ferguson and Ava (source: Des Ferguson)
Des Ferguson and Ava (source: Des Ferguson)

Newman’s mother told her to get to the bathroom, but it was already too late. Newman told Ferguson later that the house rolled a few times and when she opened her eyes, she and her family were down in an open field covered with debris.

“Everything just got quiet all of a sudden, then we heard a loud noise. As everybody was going to my mom’s bathroom, me and him had just stepped in there, and that’s when it hit the floor fell in front of us,” said Newman.

Newman says she remembers trying to get up but thought she was stuck because wood was on top of her.

“The scary part was after it happened, she wasn’t moving or anything so that really scared me. I thought something had happened,” she said.

Newman’s dad helped crews cut down trees blocking their street so she could meet the ambulance.

“I had to get stitches and I’m bruised up, my leg is bruised up pretty bad,” added Newman.

Once at Starr Regional Medical Center, doctors performed an emergency C-section.

The family says they’re not taking anything for granted and they’re grateful for the many gifts people have dropped off at their hospital room.

“I’m just thankful, really thankful that god got us through this,” said Newman.

Baby Ava was due on December 6 and the family had just bought a bunch of baby items that are now destroyed. Anyone who would like to donate items or money to the Newman family can contact the McMinn County Rescue Squad at (423) 745-6666.

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