Illinois News

Woman in labor shoots tornado footage in Pekin

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A pregnant woman in Pekin, Ill., captured cell-phone images of the tornado from her hospital while in pre-term labor.

"There was a rainbow, and the tornado went right over to it, and it's just like it sucked it out of the air," said Theresa Vancil.

Vancil, 40, is eight months pregnant with her fifth child. Admitted to Pekin Hospital on Thursday after she went into pre-term labor her doctors are trying to delay, she was entertaining herself taking pictures Sunday when the tornado alert went off on her phone.

"I'd never heard that before, and I look at my phone and it said, 'Warning, tornado in your area, take cover now.' And I'm like, this thing is full of it," she said.

Pekin is several miles from where the tornado hit in Washington, but Vancil's cell phone video shows the storm clearly visible from her window. The hospital's alarms had yet to go off, so she alerted the nurses inside the maternity ward.

"They're like, 'OK,' they start seeing it form, and then wham! the alarm system went off here, and she said, 'You need to get into the hallway,'" Vancil said. "They were all doing what they were supposed to, sitting in the hallways, holding their babies."

Vancil, who admits to being fascinated by tornadoes, stayed in her room as long as she could.

"I could see it was getting really large and out of my view, and then I got kind of nervous and thought, 'What if it comes back this way?'" she said.

Fortunately, it did not. On Monday, as she entered her 132nd hour of pre-term labor, Vancil reflected on the surreal nature of her experience.

"I can't wait to tell her someday that while I was in labor with her, I was videotaping a tornado," she said.

Vancil's due date is December 21. Though at this point it seems the baby will come early, she will appropriately be named Winter.

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