If you were anywhere near Charleston on Aug. 21, 2017, chances are you will always remember the exact details about what you did before, during and after the total solar eclipse. It’s just one of those days that stands out from the rest – like your wedding day or the day you welcome a child into the world.
“We knew it was going to be a special day – we just didn’t know how special,” says CofC alumna Kaylee Walters ’08, whose baby girl came a week and a half early, arriving at 1:15 p.m. on Aug. 21, just as the solar eclipse was beginning in the Charleston area. “I had a feeling she’d come early, but I never dreamed she’d come for the day of the eclipse!”
What Walters and her husband Brent Tabor had planned on was for Brent’s parents to come for the day of the eclipse. In fact, they’d come into town from California, and the family had plans to view the event together – a longtime dream for Brent and his father.
“The two of them bad been obsessed with this thing for a while,” laughs Walters, explaining that she and her husband were planning to go to the West Coast for the 2017 solar eclipse until she’d realized she’d be nine months pregnant by then. “Once we decided they’d come to us, I never thought about it again.”
Until 5 a.m. on eclipse day, when she woke up with contractions.
“At first I thought it was really bad timing, but now I realize it was perfect because we had family there,” says Walters, a project manager and creative director at The Design Group in downtown Charleston. “We couldn’t have planned it better – like it was meant to be.
“We’d known all along that part of it would be Paige – after my friend from the College who passed away – but we couldn’t come up with the other name,” says Walters, adding that they were leaning toward Piper before they knew the baby was coming for the Great American Eclipse.
That’s when they got online for inspiration.
“We wanted to name her something that meant something special to the day, but that wasn’t totally out there like Eclipse or Solar Flare,” laughs Walters, who admits to getting a little frustrated that they hadn’t settled on a name even as they went through the doors of the nearby Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital. “My husband kept saying the name would come to us, and – sure enough – he was right!”
Once settled on a meaningful name that fits the family well (they also have a 2-year-old daughter named Avery), the couple could turn its attention to the events unfolding outside the hospital room.
“It was pretty funny to see all the doctors running down the hall with their eclipse glasses,” smiles Walters, who insisted her husband go out to the parking lot to watch while she waited inside. “I had a window, so I could see it going dark. I didn’t get to see the actual eclipse, but it was still really neat.”
It’s definitely one of those days she’ll always remember.