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'It was surreal': Ontario mother gives birth to son on day of solar eclipse


For many, Monday's total solar eclipse will become a distant memory or collection of photos to scroll through in the years to come. But for Alannah Duarte and her family, they'll be reminded of the rare celestial event every year they celebrate their youngest son's birthday, as he was born on the day of the momentous occasion.

Duarte was not expecting to give birth to her newborn son, Jenisen-Scott, at the Oshawa Lakeridge Hospital on Monday – he was expected a full week later.

"We had to be here for 5:30 in the morning. Honestly, it was so beautiful," Duarte told CTV News Toronto Tuesday. "My last – I actually had an emergency C-section before and it was very traumatic and really scary, so I was really nervous."

After being greeted with smiles and wheeled straight to a hospital room, Duarte said the day felt like a breeze. "I mean, having major surgery is really scary, and you're bringing a new life into the world, and there's already so much going on," Duarte said. But it went by quickly.

Though Jenisen-Scott was born at 8:10 a.m., Duarte said the hospital was abuzz with the eclipse that afternoon.

"People being like, 'Oh my goodness, you're having a baby on the day of the eclipse,'" she said, adding many suggested to name her son after Edward – nodding to the hit book-turned-movie series "Twilight," as one if its books is named "Eclipse." "It was a really, really cool experience. My husband was super excited about the eclipse, he was right out the window, taking photos."

Duarte's hospital bed was right beside some large windows, where they could view the eclipse with Jenisen-Scott in tow. While Oshawa wasn't located under the path of totality – where the darkest part of the moon's shadow projects onto the Earth – the couple could still see the skies turn pitch black briefly during the middle of the day.

"Everybody here was in such a frenzy over the eclipse, but for us, it was like we were just kind of in our own little world in this room," Jordan Duarte told CTV News. "It was just a special day for everybody. There was just such a big hype around today, and then we got to experience our baby right here in the room while this was going on [… ] It was surreal."

Speaking to CTV News barely a full day after giving birth, Duarte said that even though she's sore and in pain, it has been the most surreal experience for her.

Alannah Duarte with her newborn son, Jenisen-Scott, and her middle child Julius-Sigbjorn. (Courtesy of Alannah Duarte)

"We're just so full of love, and I'm just soaking it all in, like this is our last time [having a kid], so we're just really soaking in every single moment," she said. "It's just the most thrilling, amazing feeling ever bringing life into this world; there's nothing like it – especially on a day like the eclipse that only happens once, however long."

As soon as Jenisen-Scott is old enough to understand the significance and the rarity of total solar eclipses, Duarte said she plans to make it an annual family tradition to teach him about it.

"I think it's funny because there's going to be so many things to tell him about the day that he was born," Duarte said, adding they just celebrated her 30th birthday last week as well as her uncle's birthday and her son Julius' half-birthday. "I think it's going to be really, really special, especially because the older that he gets, I think he's gonna think it's cooler and cooler."

While the next total solar eclipse won't sweep Ontario's skies during Jenisen-Scott's lifetime – as it won't come again until 2144 – eclipse chasers can catch the next one in 2026 over the northern fringes of Greenland, Iceland and Spain.

With files from The Associated Press Top Stories

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