Florida evacuees give birth in SC during Tropical Storm Irma


SUMTER, S.C. (WACH)-- Just after midnight Friday morning, Stefanie and Preston Kight along with their 13-month-old s on Keller began what they thought would be a nine-hour trip to Sumter to escape Hurricane Irma's landfall.

The couple, their son and two dogs ended up traveling 13 hours instead, from their Fort Myers, Fla. home.

Stephanie, 39-weeks pregnant at the time, had only one thing going through her mind the entire drive: "when are we going to get there?"

The mom-to-be said her greatest fear was being stuck on the side of the road and going into labor in the heavy evacuation traffic.

The Kights, who are originally from Sumter, have been living in Fort Myers for the past four years.

The drive to their hometown was scary, but they didn't have to worry about delivering their baby with unknown physicians. When they got to Sumter, they were able to find comfort with the doctor they already knew and trusted.

During the Christmas holiday in 2014, while visiting family, Stefanie began to experience severe pain in her abdomen. The couple visited a Sumter OB/GYN with Dr. Triz Smith, who discovered Stefanie's pain was due to an ectopic pregnancy and prepared Stefanie for surgery.

As Irma, downgraded to a tropical storm and moved over Sumter Monday, Stefanie was in labor at Palmetto Health Tuomey where she 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 (delivery), 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!"

The family even got great news on their home in Florida, despite Fort Myers being in the path of the storm.

When asked if Sumter OB/GYN would be a part of future pregnancies, Preston laughed and said, "probably," and Stefanie quickly chimed in, "I don't think a hurricane will a part of it ... hopefully not!"

Congratulations to the Kights on the birth of their son and best wishes for their safe return to Fort Myers later this week.

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