Pregnant FL mother evacuating from Irma gives birth to healthy son in SC

Updated: Sep. 12, 2017 at 11:50 AM EDT
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The Kight Family's news son, Calden, was born as Irma hit Sumter. (Source: Palmetto Health...
The Kight Family's news son, Calden, was born as Irma hit Sumter. (Source: Palmetto Health Tuomey)

SUMTER COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A Fort Myers, Florida family escaping the wrath of the impending Hurricane Irma found themselves giving birth to their second son as the storm -- then a tropical storm -- bore down on Sumter.

The Kight family, Stefanie, who was 39 weeks pregnant, Preston, and their first son, Keller, left Florida just after midnight on Friday night as Irma set her sights on the western half of the Sunshine State.

RELATED: See photos of the damage done by Hurricane Irma.

What was initially thought to be a 9-hour drive turned into 13 hours, and the fears of giving birth on the side of an interstate weighed heavily on Stefanie's mind, according to officials at Palmetto Health Tuomey.

The Kight family is originally from Sumter, so they were familiar with the area when they decided to head to South Carolina. Not only that, but the Kights were very familiar with Palmetto Health Tuomey. In 2014, Stefanie had to have an unforeseen surgery at the hospital after she was experiencing severe abdominal pain.

Triz Smith, an OB/GYN with the Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group, helped with that surgery.

"They were so impressed with [Smith] then and appreciative of the way that he handled that with them," Stefanie's mother, Susan Cotton said. "So, it was God's way of preparing for this -- someone they were familiar and comfortable with."

Familiarity and comfort were definitely needed in this case as Stefanie went into labor Monday afternoon as Irma moved over Sumter.

Stefanie gave birth to a healthy son, Calden, at 1:26 p.m.

"Things turned out differently for us than they could have, " Preston said. "We were expecting a Category 5 storm to hit Fort Myers; that turned out to not be true. We were a little unsure what was going to happen with this, and it turned out we had doctors here that were willing to take us in. We had an easy, uneventful delivery. Things turned out perfect!"

A safe family and a healthy new son weren't the only pieces of good news they received. It seems the family's home in Florida was also spared serious damage.

Stefanie, meanwhile, says she wouldn't mind giving birth in Sumter again.

"I don't think a hurricane will be a part of it," she said. "Hopefully not!'

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