By Harriet Whitehead
Two sisters who had been trying for a baby were amazed when they ended up giving birth to baby girls on the same day in the same hospital ward.
Jenna Whelan, 31, and Jess Taylor, 23, both gave birth after being induced a day after each other – even staying in opposite beds in the same ward and helping each other through their contractions.
The pair, who found out they were pregnant four days apart, said the experience has brought them even closer as sisters with mum-of-three Jenna helping Jess through her first pregnancy.
And it seems the cousins have just as strong a bond as their parents after being pictured holding hands the first time they met.
Jenna gave birth to Annie Whelan, who weighed 7lbs 13oz, at 3.15am on Friday, February 15, while Jess had Marnie Prescott at 10.45pm on the same day – weighing 6lbs 5oz.
Jenna, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, said: “We never imagined they would have the same birthday. We didn’t think about it. It’s bizarre and still doesn’t seem real.
“It feels magical – that they were born on the same day and that they’re both girls.
“Our family is over the moon. They’ve been buying them the same outfits.
“They’ll grow up to be more like sisters than cousins. They’ll end up being in the same class at school.
“I was discharged first and when Jess was discharged, she came to mine so Annie and Marnie got to meet each other straight away.
“We got a picture of them looking like they were holding hands. They bonded straight away.
“It’s lovely. Jess lives five minutes away so we spend a lot of time together. We talk every single day. We’ve always been close and this has brought us closer.
“We have midwives’ appointments at the same time and they get weighed together.
“I think it will be on their first birthday when we’ll be like ‘did this really happen?’”
Stay-at-home mum Jenna said both sisters had been trying for a few months, as her and husband gasfitter Alan Whelan, 38, were looking to complete their family of five.
While nursery-nurse Jess has always wanted to be a mum and having just bought a house with partner Jamie Prescott, a driving instructor, felt it was the right time.
Jenna said: “Jess found out first on June 19 and she couldn’t believe it. She had to do three tests just to make sure.
“I couldn’t stop crying when I found out, I was so proud of her. I knew it was what she always wanted.
“I had to wait a bit longer to take the test so I found out four days later. I didn’t want to jinx it by doing a test too early. It was the longest week of my life.
“We were so happy. The first person I phoned to tell was Jess. We couldn’t believe it.
“We had a family holiday booked to go to Cyprus in May. Alan and Jamie had worked out a date when we needed to be pregnant by and joked that if we weren’t by then we’d have to stop trying. We had a very small window but we did it.”
Being the older sibling and having already had two children, Millie, five, and Alby, four, Jenna was able to help her sister through the experience.
Jess said: “I was so excited when I found out but I remember also being so worried and so scared that something was going to go wrong. It was so nice to have Jenna there to reassure me.”
Jenna was due to give birth on February 26 and Jess on February 20 but with both suffering gestational diabetes they were induced – Jenna on February 13 and Jess on February 14 at Barnsley Hospital.
Jenna said: “I told the nurses my sister would be coming in and they should look after her.
“We had a couple of hours on the ward across from each other before I had to go down to the labour ward.
“We had a meal together and I remember we were laughing. I remember being in pain and petrified but it was a bit of a joke us being in there together.
“I went into labour at 4.15pm on the Thursday and Annie was born at 3.15am on Friday. I was transferred to a postnatal ward which was on the same floor as Jess so she came over to see me at about 6am. I could tell she was in pain at that point.”
Jess, who gave birth in the same labour suite and was put in the same bed as her sister was in after giving birth, said: “It was amazing to meet Annie for the first time. I was scared though because I was thinking it was my turn next.
“Jenna was discharged about 1.45pm and at 2pm I went to the labour ward. After six hours Marnie was born.
“It didn’t feel real holding her. I was convinced I was having a boy. We both chose not to find out the sex but I just had a sense so we were really amazed that they were girls.
“It’s so special to think they’ll be growing up together.”