Woman has 3rd Leap Day baby
Provo - An American woman has given birth on a third consecutive Leap Day, tying a record set by a Norwegian family in the 1960s.
David and Louise Estes' daughter Jade was born on Wednesday morning in Provo, an hour south of Salt Lake City, four years after their son Remington was born on February 29 2008, and eight years after their son Xavier was born February 29 2004.
Baby Jade was already five days overdue when doctors induced labour and the family hit the elusive date.
"I have never gone over so I wasn't sure if she was going to wait," Louise told The Daily Herald of Provo. "As soon as we passed midnight I knew it really, really could happen."
The only other known case of triple Leap Day babies is the Henriksen family of Norway, which logged February 29 births in 1960, 1964 and 1968, according to the Guinness World Records press office. The family holds the Guinness record for most siblings born on Leap Day.
Blessing and a curse
Leap Days come once every four years to recalibrate the calendar and account for the 365 days and 6 hours it takes Earth to revolve around the sun. Having a February 29 birthday can be both a blessing and a curse -"Leaplings" can only celebrate their true birthdays once every four years. But they can also joke that they age four times slower.
"We're gonna try to get our oldest a car on his fourth birthday," Louise joked in an interview with KSL in Salt Lake City.
The Estes family, which has two other children who weren't born on the special date, says they try to have a large celebration around the end of February and beginning of March each non-Leap Year, in place of the missing birthdate.
This year, Remington and Xavier got their own special birthday cakes and celebrations.
"We always make sure to celebrate their fourth and eighth birthdays in a big way," Louise said. "It is a milestone for everyone."
Louise Estes said their eight-year-old son Xavier's February 29 birthday was pure coincidence. But they were a bit more intentional with Leaplings No 2 and 3.
"I approached her in October of 2010 and said 'If we are going to have another baby this would be really cool,' " David told the Daily Herald. "I wanted to give her time to think about it."
Louise became pregnant, but when doctors pegged her due date at February 24, it looked like the masterful family planning scheme was headed for a near-miss.
But the 24th passed. The 25th passed. Louise was ready to be induced by Leap Day, and the 4kg girl was born at 07:16.
"We did go over by five days, which was not easy, but it's all worth it," Louise told KSL.
As for trying to break the record with a Leap Day baby in 2016?
"Right now the answer is obviously going to be no, but you can't be sure," David Estes said. "You never know if in four years we will be talking about it again."