Lauren Filkins and her husband, Devan, pulled into the parking lot at Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital at 11:45 p.m. Jan. 2—with Lauren in active labor.
They spotted a familiar car in the parking lot. It belonged to Lauren’s long-time friend, Megan.
As it turned out, Megan Durham and her husband, Alec, were there, too, with Megan also soon to give birth.
Could it be that Megan and Lauren—close friends since middle school—might welcome their new babies the same day, in the same hospital, with the same doctor delivering them?
Yes, it could—and would—be.
Bru Anthony Durham came first—at 9:11 a.m. Jan. 3, weighing 6 pounds, 6 ounces and measuring 18.5 inches long. Harper Mae Filkins followed at 11:54 a.m., weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and measuring 20 inches long.
“I still can’t believe it,” Lauren said.
She and Megan reunited with their doctor, Dawn DeWitt, MD, at her Spectrum Health Medical Group OB/GYN office in Hudsonville recently when they were both scheduled for their six-week postpartum appointments.
While Dr. DeWitt has seen family and friend connections in her practice, never has she seen close friends give birth “back to back” like Megan and Lauren. Coincidentally, all three women also go to the same church, Fellowship Reformed Church.
Lauren and Megan met at Baldwin Street Middle School in sixth grade. They were both cheerleaders, an interest that would continue to bond them through high school. They both graduated from Hudsonville High School in 2010.
Since college, their life paths have continued to intersect, with both of them getting married in 2014—Megan and Alec in June, and Lauren and Devan in December.
For awhile, the friends didn’t know they were pregnant at the same time. Megan, who suffered a miscarriage previously, was hesitant to share the news with anyone, fearing the worst. But at six weeks, she started experiencing extreme nausea.
“I was so sick, I just fell off the earth,” Megan said. She was forced to tell people sooner than she would have liked, simply to explain why she was unable to do things.
She shared the news with Lauren when she was about eight weeks into her pregnancy. Then, when they were both 12 weeks, Megan got a text message from Lauren. It read: Baby Durham is going to have a friend.
Megan immediately called her, and that night, they got together with their husbands to celebrate.
Megan’s due date was Dec. 31, and Lauren’s was Jan. 2.
After Lauren saw Megan’s car in the parking lot that night, the text messages began. Turns out they were in rooms directly across the hall from one another. Nurses couldn’t report on the other’s progress because of privacy laws, but the husbands kept in touch.
When the anesthesiologist came in to talk with Megan, he told her he needed to go across the hall and he would return. “I told him, ‘Her name is Lauren, and she’s my best friend,’” Megan said.
Dr. DeWitt, who was not on call that morning, requested to be called when Megan went into labor, as Megan once served as a nanny for her children. She arrived at the hospital that morning in time to deliver both babies.
Neither couple knew their baby’s gender prior to delivery. Dr. DeWitt delivered Bru first, then Harper. One boy. One girl.
When about eight of the families’ friends came to the hospital, it was easy to visit both rooms. Soon, the ladies started gathering in one room, and the men in the other.
When Megan’s brother arrived at her room—the “ladies” room—Megan said he joked, “Well, I’m really here to see the baby, but I guess I’ll go in the guys’ room.”
Now Lauren and Megan see each other regularly, and share a lot of text messages—even in the wee hours of the morning during feedings.
They’re hoping, at least in the early years, to do joint birthday parties. And yes, they even joke about Bru and Harper getting married someday.
“I just hope they’re little buddies,” Megan said.
But did they ever imagine their babies would share the same birthday?
“I would never have thought in middle school—to see what all the years have brought,” Lauren said.