For Brian and Tiana Stevens, 2015 was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. But 2016 is shaping up to be terrific with the birth of a 1-in-98,000 set of twin baby girls.

Those are at least one calculation of the odds of twins being born on Leap Day, as babies Dorothy and Florence were.

The twins came at 3:27 and 3:43 p.m. on Feb. 29 (Dorothy was born first) at the end of a challenging pregnancy.

The Leap Day dual birth “was one more weird little thing considering all we had been through,” Brian said. “There were so many things that were absurd.”

Among the challenges of 2015:

  • Mother Tiana, 36, had been on bed rest for much of the time she was pregnant.
  • There were medical reasons to believe the babies would be born several months prematurely.
  • Brian, 35, found out a bank job he enjoyed was ending. Tiana’s job as a  English teacher at George Jenkins High School would have to support the family.
  • Brian was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

However, by the first two months of 2016:

  • The twins were born healthy and near full term in a smooth, “textbook” delivery.
  • Brian got a job as a sales rep with Saddle Creek Logistics and was promoted to operations manager three days before the babies were born.
  • The cancer was successfully treated and is no longer a significant threat.

“We feel absolutely fully blessed,” Brian says. “I don’t believe in just coincidence. I look back and this is all meant to be.”

Brian and Tiana Stevens with their twins and three of their siblings
Brian and Tiana Stevens with their twins and three of their siblings

The odds of a Feb. 29 birth were stacked a bit in their favor, he admits. The twins’ due date was March 15, but twins are often induced two weeks early and Leap Day happened to be an on-call day for their doctor.

Brian Stevens and the twins

The girls — two of the nine babies born in Polk County on Leap Day — were both 6 pounds, 8 ounces at birth; one was 19.5 inches, and the other was 19.75.

The twins join four older siblings. Brian acknowledges the names Dorothy and Florence are old-fashioned, saying they were named after two grandmothers.

As to when they’ll celebrate their birthdays in non-leap years, Brian said they’ll probably choose Feb. 28 for one daughter and March 1 for the other so each has her own special day.

Despite the separate birthday celebrations, the twins are already showing a tight bond, their dad said:  “We can see the connection between the two of them. They love to sleep next to each other.”

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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