They were getting ready for their first child to arrive. Now floods stand in their way

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Seven-months-pregnant Emy Chamberlain and her fiance Brenden Wellings were getting ready for the arrival of their first child — a baby girl.

But now they’re shifting gears as the water in the Waccamaw River rises from the impacts of Hurricane Florence near their Conway-area home.

The young couple moved their new baby supplies to the highest part of their Waccamaw Drive home on stilts, just off U.S. 501. The two, who live with Chamberlain’s mother and her fiance, have a boat already in the back of Wellings’ pick-up truck. Their waders are ready.

“We’ve just kind of moved things up higher,” Chamberlain said Sunday evening.

The couple plans to stay in Carolina Forest through possible flooding.

“You just want to stay home, but you don’t know how home’s going to be,” she said.

Within a day, the water on Waccamaw Drive went from puddles to completely flooded roads and bumper-high levels in Wellings’ truck Monday morning.


Chest-deep water surrounds Emy Chamberlain in the flood after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Courtesy of Brenden Wellings

Chamberlain has been through floods after three major storms — Matthew, Irma and Fran. She’s lived in the home on stilts her whole life — a home where you can still see the water mark line from Hurricane Matthew.

“You’re sitting there watching and there’s all these leeches and snakes,” Chamberlain said.

But this time is different.

Chamberlain, 22, said being pregnant makes it tougher, but she is trying to stay positive.

“It’s like you’re preparing for (the baby’s arrival), and then you’re preparing for this (flooding),” she said. “You can choose to be in a bad mood and let it depress you.

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“At this point, you already know it’s coming. You’re used to it.”


Emy Chamberlain’s yard flooded after Hurricane Matthew hit in 2016.

Photo courtesy of Brenden Wellings

Last time, Chamberlain and her mother had no choice but to stay at home during the flood.

“We had to get up at 4 in the morning to make sure we had enough time to wade through the water or paddle through the water,” she said.

The pond and swamp in their backyard rises, too. And the water from the river, across the street and in the backyard of their neighbors, rises and meets with their pond.

“Right in front of our house is the deepest point,” Chamberlain said of the Waccamaw Drive area.

The family will continue to go back and forth to the home as the water rises, using boats and wading as they can.

Hannah Strong: 843-444-1765; @HannahLStrong