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DALLAS – She came to Dallas from nearly 300 miles away, contractions in the car, and a drive out of the deluge into the shelter of an unfamiliar metropolis.
Jessica Braddock was pregnant as Tropical Storm Harvey headed towards Baytown, her home with her boyfriend and son, a child less than a year old.
But out of endless wreckage wrought by furious floodwaters, joy emerged for Jessica’s family Thursday, with the birth of her new daughter.
Her name, Anaya Dallas Isaac.
"She’s just calm and quiet, about as different as you can get from the storm," Braddock said in an interview Friday. "She doesn’t even wake up for her bottle. She’s just perfect."
Braddock made her way with her boyfriend to the Walnut Hill Rec Center in Dallas, a shelter that quickly filled to capacity with 300 people.
Calvin Isaac carefully watched over his son and girlfriend, unsure of whether he and his young family would have anything remaining along the Gulf Coast.
"She was meant to be born here," Isaac said from the infant care center of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. "She was born three weeks early. But God has a plan for us, here."
Anaya Dallas was born Thursday, 6 lbs. 6 oz., 18 inches long. The hospital will soon move the family to a suite, a marked contrast from the cots and cramped quarters of the storm shelter.
Family members suggested Dallas for the baby’s first name as soon as they arrived. But Braddock was enamored with Anaya for the child’s name, eventually choosing Dallas as her daughter’s middle name to remember the city’s generosity.
"What else can we do, but give our daughter a story to tell the world," Braddock said. "We ran away from a storm and ended up having her in an area we didn’t even know."
The girl’s parents have both envisioned starting a new life in North Texas and will travel back to Baytown as early as Tuesday to assess the damage.
For now, after both Braddock and Isaac have been through days of anxiety and apprehension, a quiet gift of joy. Anaya Dallas’ parents said they now have nothing but love and gratitude for this city, and this moment.
"I just want to say thank you to the Dallas area," Braddock said. "Instead of it being bittersweet, now it’s just sweet."
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