Some sisters imagine what it might be like to have and raise their kids close together. Few, however, get to experience giving birth to their babies on the exact same day, at the same hospital, delivered by the same doctor. It sounds like a fictionalized movie storyline. But for two St. Louis sisters, this was their reality.
On Oct. 5, 2019, Hannah Kirsch, 31, of Affton, and Leah Goedeker, 29, of Chesterfield, each gave birth to a baby boy — Kirsch’s fourth baby and Goedeker’s first. Their doctor, Angela Reining, MD, an ob/gyn at Missouri Baptist Medical Center, delivered both babies.
“We were due only five days apart, so we figured we’d deliver around the same time,” says Goedeker. “We loved the idea of it happening on the same day. Even Dr. Reining was excited about the possibility.”
What are the odds?
What are the odds of two sisters giving birth on the same day? Quite low. According to different statisticians, the odds range from one in 2,000 to one in 12,500. In other words, it’s a very rare event.
“We all joked about it, but I really never thought they would actually deliver on the same day,” says Dr. Reining. “Hannah was due a week earlier than Leah and had planned on being induced a week prior to her due date since this was her fourth baby and there was the possibility of her labor progressing quickly. I really didn’t think Leah would deliver two weeks early with her first baby.”
Kirsch arrived at Missouri Baptist Medical Center for an induction on Oct. 4 — one week before her due date. She labored well into the night, which surprised her delivery team given that it was her fourth baby.
“This was definitely my hardest delivery. My son was face up, which required some painful repositioning throughout my labor. My nurses were so amazing and encouraged me constantly,” Kirsch says.
Much to her relief, Kirsch delivered her son, Cannon, shortly after midnight on Oct. 5.
“I even joked on my way out of her delivery room, ‘I guess the shared delivery date won’t happen after all,’” recalls Dr. Reining. “Then, as I was charting her delivery note, the nurses said, ‘One of your patients just arrived and is eight centimeters.’ I just knew it had to be Leah!”
As of Oct. 4, Goedeker hadn’t shown any signs of labor. She was still 12 days from her due date. That night,
her water broke at 10 p.m., followed by intense contractions. “When I woke up in the middle of the night with my water breaking, it was all so fast and exciting. In the course of one hour, I went from one centimeter dilated to eight centimeters,” Goedeker recalls.
“When we got to the hospital, they actually put me in the delivery room next to where my sister was having my nephew. That just made the entire experience so much more special.”
Shortly after Dr. Reining delivered Cannon, the staff brought him next door to meet his aunt Leah, who was getting ready to deliver.
“It was like my son wanted to meet his cousin Cannon, so badly that he just couldn’t wait to come out,” says Goedeker. “Meeting him was just the motivation we needed.”
By then, most of the labor and delivery staff on the floor at the hospital had heard the news about the sisters. Everyone was buzzing with excitement about the possibility of the cousins being born on the same day and delivered by the same doctor.
Sharing an unexpected, unforgettable experience
And that’s exactly what happened. Dr. Reining delivered Goedeker’s son, Lucas, a few hours after she delivered Kirsch’s son.
“It was perfect! Both sisters had healthy, uncomplicated pregnancies and deliveries,” Dr. Reining says. “It was also fun that Hannah has three older girls and had a boy, and that Leah had her first baby — a boy!”
The sisters were able to visit each other and their babies throughout their hospital stay. They enjoyed sharing their story with the hospital staff, who would stop by to meet them and their baby boys. They were also grateful to have the support of their doctor and nurses from labor and delivery through postpartum.
“Every single nurse I had provided exceptional care. I’ll never be able to thank them enough for the support they provided, especially when things got difficult during my delivery,” says Kirsch. “And Dr. Reining is the best. She is so caring and always knew just what to say to get me through my next contraction. When she was in the room with me, it was like she had no other patients. I am so thankful for her.”
“We always felt like we had so much support and help. The care we received was excellent,” Goedeker says. “Every staff member we came into contact with really took time to take care of us — and, more importantly, our baby. We never felt rushed or like we were a burden. We were treated like we were the only people on the floor.”
The sisters, their families, Dr. Reining, and the entire labor and delivery staff still marvel at their extraordinary shared birth experience: sisters going through labor and delivery on the same day at the same hospital, and their boys — cousins — delivered by the same doctor just one room apart.
“Going through the whole process together was so special. Even now, we still swap updates on the boys and get them together often,” says Goedeker. “It’s so neat having your sister walk through the whole thing with you.”
At 5 months old, both boys are doing wonderfully and settling in with their families.
“Cannon is a wonderful baby. He slipped perfectly into our family with his three older siblings. He is so calm and exactly what God knew we needed,” says Kirsch.
“Lucas is doing great! He is learning and growing so much every day — it’s so remarkable and fun to be a part of. We feel really lucky to be his parents. He’s been such a blessing,” says Goedeker.
As sisters, Kirsch and Goedeker are grateful for this unique experience, and they’re excited that their boys get to grow up together and celebrate their birthdays with each other every year. Their birth story is one that they’ll be sharing for years to come.