RICHLAND — It was eight leap babies and counting with three more women in labor at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.
"But we expect only two of them to deliver before midnight," said Melanie O'Brien, birth center manager at the Richland hospital. "The average number of deliveries a day is seven, so we're already ahead."
O'Brien said most parents try to avoid a Feb. 29 delivery because leap years come just once every four years. But she knew of at least one couple who had a cesarean section Tuesday.
"But babies have their own plans," she said.
Torri and Todd Longgood of Hermiston weren't planning on leap day birthdays for their twin girls.
"To be honest, when I first became pregnant, I kept saying, 'Not on the 29th, not on the 29th,' " said the 34-year-old mom.
"But that became a reality last night and now we're looking forward to it. Being born on leap day makes them unique, special," said her husband, Todd Longgood, 36.
Today they are the proud -- albeit weary -- parents of twin girls born at 7:50 a.m. and 8:08 a.m. Wednesday.
"What a way to become first time parents," he said.
The Longgoods had been expecting twins, but not until March 8 or so, when Torri Longgood was scheduled to have labor induced. But during a routine checkup and ultrasound Monday, her doctor discovered her blood pressure was elevated -- so he sent her to Kadlec for more tests.
Afterward he gave her a choice, stay in the hospital for almost a week, "Or, with the babies at 37 weeks, we could get going," Todd Longgood said. "She called me and said, 'This is it.' "
Labor was induced at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Longgoods' first daughter, 5-pound 7-ounce Sylver Jane was the first to emerge; minutes later, her 5-pound 6-ounce sister, Tymber Lee, greeted the morning with a cry.
"There were two full delivery staff in the room just in case Torri needed a C-section. But it wasn't necessary, both were natural childbirth," Todd Longgood said.
The twins and mom are doing fine and expected to go home in a day or two.
"Our families are ecstatic. They're all over the moon about our girls," said Torri Longgood.
Leap year babies made appearances at Kennewick General Hospital too. By early evening, five babies already had been delivered.
"And one more is expected by midnight," said KGH marketing coordinator Tamie Bradbury.
But the birth place at Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco remained quiet with no leap year babies making an appearance and none expected.