by Jeffrey Hage
Five new babies weren’t born into the world Wednesday, Feb. 29 at Fairview Northland Medical Center in Princeton.
They leaped into the world.
The three girls and two boys are Leap Year babies, and the odds of being born with the
special distinction are about 1 in 1,500, according to the Honor Society of Leap Year Babies.
And while the five babies will probably celebrate their first birthdays next year on Feb. 28 or March 1, they won’t be able to celebrate on the actual day of their birth for about another 1,428 days.
All five of the Leap Day babies born at Princeton came into the world early and four of the five were delivered by Caesarean section.
And while there is probably no medical reason for why the babies were born on Feb. 29, some nurses at the hospital are blaming the births on a winter storm that blanketed Princeton with 10.5 inches of fresh snow.
Teale Tatum was due March 2 and was born two days early.
When her mother, Stephanie Hennig of Princeton, went into labor, Dad Branden Tatum apparently wasn’t the only one ready to get mom to the hospital. The city of Princeton’s public works department also played a role in getting Hennig to the hospital.
With a heavy accumulation of snow on the ground, the city plows were hitting the
streets in the early hours of the morning.
“They were plowing right in front of us when we were leaving,” Hennig said. “They cleared a path for us right to the emergency room.”
Having Teale born on Leap Day is kind of cool, Hennig said.
“We were talking about it right away and I think we might create a family tradition, like a vacation, on her actual birthday,” Hennig said.
Tatum also noted that having his daughter born on Leap Day was cool, if for no other reason, she will age, at least by calendar standards, at a rate four times less than most people. For example, when Teale is 48 years old she will be celebrating her 12th birthday.
“She’ll always have her youth,” her mother said with a smile.
Nina Edson and Zach Rudolph of Zimmerman are the parents of new baby Makayla Rudolph. Makayla was due March 5 but came early to the delight of her mother.
“I was ready to be out of this pain and misery,” Edson said with a sigh of relief.
She says she and Rudolph joked about having a Leap Day baby prior to Makayla’s arrival.
Edson had been in the hospital all day Tuesday so getting to the hospital was of no concern for her. But by the time Rudolph was on his way to Princeton the heavy snow was falling and Highway 169 was getting more difficult to navigate.
“I only had to travel six or seven miles, but it took a while,” Rudolph said.
Makayla was ready to be born at about 5 a.m. on Feb. 29. But the weather kept her doctor from arriving at the hospital in time for the birth.
The new baby girl was delivered by a student doctor and the nurses, Edson said.
Mandi and Rodney Lennard of Otsego had their baby boy, Brady, two weeks early.
When it appeared that Brady would be delivered early, the Lennards began to joke about having a Leap Day baby.
“We thought it would be fun. We even began predicting it,” Mandi Lennard said.
“Our baby will have a birthday every four years, but it will be a heck of a bash,” she said.
Suzy and Rob Lueck of Zimmerman were due on March 11. They also had their baby born early on Leap Day.
“Honestly, I’m a little bummed,” Suzy Lueck said of the prospect of having their baby boy, Tucker, born on Leap Day.
But Tucker’s Dad, Rob, saw the situation a bit differently.
“It’s kind of cool. It’s definitely unique,” he said.
The other baby born on Leap Day was Callan Rutherford of Princeton.