Last Christmas Eve's blizzard froze out most of Oklahoma, shutting down thousands of computers, TVs, heaters and all things electronic.
But Oklahomans may have found their own ways to turn up the heat. Nine months after the big freeze, at least two Oklahoma City hospitals report seeing a baby boom.
Casen Haskins is one of those babies born because of the bad weather.
"Casen was definitely a surprise for us. He was a pleasant surprise," Jennifer Haskins, 30, said Wednesday from her hospital bed at Integris Baptist Medical Center, as she and her husband, Josh Haskins, 30, kept watch over their 2-day-old son — their fourth child.
The snow and impassable roads at Christmastime forced Jennifer to work from home in Yukon while Josh stayed home over Christmas break from his job as a coach and teacher. She's thanking the blizzard for their baby.
Although they had electricity, they couldn't leave the house, she said.
Baptist reports delivering up to 20 more babies than typical for this month.
Terri Preston, clinical director of the Integris Baptist labor and delivery unit, said a harried staffer quickly e-mailed a response to a notice about a Wednesday afternoon meeting.
"The 'storms' have arrived," she wrote, referring to the storm babies. She wouldn't be able to make the meeting because the labor and delivery unit was so busy.
"We've called in all the troops. We've called in backup. Everyone's here," Preston said.
Typically a busy time
August through Christmas is typically busy for the baby-delivering business at Baptist, possibly because of the cooler weather nine months earlier.
But Preston said they knew the storm would keep the labor department hopping even more about this time.
Hospital staffers always count forward nine months after a big storm or weather event so that they can plan for more babies. Although the scientific research doesn't necessarily back up the idea, anecdotally, traumatic events such as 9/11 also seem to produce more babies.
"It's a source of comfort. Make a baby," Preston said. "Well, it's a source of comfort until maybe they reach the teen years."
St. Anthony Hospital is projecting an 8 percent increase in babies born this month, with 100 births so far. Although the hospital can't attribute it to the storm, the number compares with 113 for the entire month of September last year.
So far, 2,225 Oklahoma babies were born in September, though there's a reporting lag of about a week, the state Health Department reports.
The number is in line with previous Septembers. July, August and September are typically higher birth months than others, said Derek Pate, the Health Department's quality assurance coordinator.
Jennifer Haskins said the family is excited about their new addition, Casen.
"He's wonderful," Jennifer Haskins said.
"But, next storm, it definitely won't happen."