She died living out her dream.
Unable to sleep
Monday night, Sandy hammered the East Coast, especially Staten Island and the Jersey Shore. Giant waves swamped homes, apartments and buildings. Power lines fell. Subway tunnels in New York filled with rushing water. All bridges to the city were closed.
At 7:45 p.m., 10 feet of water inundated the NYU medical center in Manhattan.
Luz Martinez was watching the news when Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the hospital was being evacuated.
Her heart pounded.
Then, the power went out in the apartment.
Martinez got on her cellphone. She spoke with a nurse who said Emma would be moved a few blocks away to Mount Sinai Medical Center. She was on the priority list, to be transported first. Nurses would use hand pumps as respirators as they carried Emma and other babies in critical condition down several flights of stairs in the dark.
An hour and a half would pass before Martinez heard back. Emma was safe and stable at Mount Sinai.
Martinez paced her apartment, unable to sleep.
Deidre Duffy woke her husband at 3 a.m. Tuesday, October 30. He was prepared for damage from wind and rain. Not for what his wife was about to tell him.
"Breezy Point," she said, "is on fire."
As floodwaters smashed into the neighborhood, transformers blew and power lines snapped. Fanned by high winds, the flames engulfed the wooden homes like kindling.
At first, authorities reported 40 homes were gone. But with daybreak came the news that more than 100 had burned to the ground.
It would mark one of the worst residential fires in New York City history.
On Tuesday, the Duffys made their way to 164 Ocean Avenue. Their home was in ashes.
Tom Duffy isn't sure yet if the family will rebuild, but he is certain of one thing about Breezy Point: "It will never be the same."
Reuniting with Emma
Luz Martinez's sister is a New York cop. Tuesday morning, she knew which streets and bridges were open. She sent her boyfriend to fetch Luz on Roosevelt Island and take her to Emma's side.
The ride, usually 40 minutes, took 20. No one was on the road.
At Mount Sinai, Martinez found Emma in the neonatal unit. "She gave me so much peace of mind, just looking at her, sleeping like nothing had happened. She wasn't aware of what was going on."
The hospital's CEO, Kenneth Davis, was making the rounds. He was the one who had agreed to take Emma and other NYU patients into his hospital. He walked into the room, arms outstretched.
"You need a hug," he said.
Martinez began crying and thanked him.
Emma was less than a month old and yet she'd already been through so much. Her mother has given her a nickname.