Allysa Sweeney and her husband, Patrick, thought there was a slim chance of meeting their baby on leap day this year when they learned their due date was March 5.
That would have been unusual enough. But Allysa is a leap-day baby herself, so the odds of giving birth on the same day seemed astronomical.
Even when the couple arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital on Saturday morning, Allysa, 32, still figured the baby would come the next day, March 1, because she was in labor for about 24 hours with their first child, 20-month-old Emmaline Rose Sweeney.
To their surprise, their son Harrison Townes Sweeney was born at 6:28 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 29, and now shares with his mother a birthday that only makes an appearance on the calendar once every four years.
“It’s definitely very exciting to have that special bond and connection to share a unique birthday,” Allysa said. “I felt pretty lucky that he decided to come that day.”
The couple said they “didn’t think a whole lot” about the baby coming on leap day, but said friends and family seemed to know it would happen.
“Obviously, our goal is to have a happy, healthy baby,” said Patrick, 43. “I was less concerned about the day and more concerned that everyone was OK.”
Patrick, the owner of several restaurants in Madison, also has a special birthday — April Fool’s Day. While the family doesn’t consider themselves to be “big birthday people,” unique birthdays make the occasions a bit more special, he said.
A physician’s assistant at St. Mary’s, Allysa said she felt “extra special” growing up because she celebrated her birthday on both Feb. 28 and March 1 during non-leap years. She hopes to continue the tradition with her newborn son.
“It’ll be special on his off-year birthday, and we’ll make a bigger deal out of it on his actual birthdays,” she said.
Allysa said she plans to tell her son when he is older to “be happy that you get to forever be young,” noting people joke about her turning 8 years old this year and not 32.
The couple brought Harrison home Monday night and are adjusting to being parents of “two under 2.”
“We feel really blessed,” Allysa said. “A little sleep-deprived.”
“But lucky,” Patrick added.