First, Michelle Nathan announced she was pregnant. Then, a few weeks later, sister-in-law Cristina Nathan shared the same happy news.

Over the next nine months, it became a joke among their families: What if the Long Island women gave birth on the same day?

Thanks to some early contractions, that's exactly what happened Wednesday in the maternity ward at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola.

Michelle, 34, and Kenneth, 29, of Islip welcomed 8-pound, 8-ounce Abigail at 4:27 p.m.

Down the hall, Michael, 39, and Cristina, 31, of East Islip delighted in the birth of their son, 9-pound, 3-ounce Jaxon, at 7:15 p.m.

"To have something where it's on the same exact day, it's awesome," Cristina said Thursday. "It just brings the family closer."

Abigail's birth was planned.

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She was due June 24, and Kenneth and Michelle arrived at the hospital Tuesday evening with an appointment to deliver their first child via cesarean section.

Jaxon was a surprise.

Michael and Cristina's fourth son wasn't expected to arrive until July 13, but she began to feel contractions Wednesday morning.

While Dr. Seth Plancher, who delivered both babies, raced between delivery rooms 5 and 10, the brothers kept score based on how far along their wives were in labor -- a friendly competition for the glory of being the first to announce.

"The race to Facebook," Michelle said, grinning.

"We could talk while it was going on," Michael recalled. "We were texting each other back and forth with where we were at with each one."

By Wednesday afternoon, Plancher and the families tried to coordinate the births to be as close together as possible. Nature intervened, however, separating the deliveries by 2 hours and 38 minutes.

While the serendipitous births were unusual, Plancher said he's delivered babies for two siblings on the same day before.

The Garden City doctor delivered the children of another set of brothers two years ago, also at Winthrop-University. Those babies were born 45 minutes apart -- a story that intrigued the Nathan families.

They were saying, "Gee, you know, wouldn't it be funny if this happened again in July sometime?' " Plancher said.

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Now the families are joking about hosting alternating birthday celebrations.

Michael said he isn't disappointed about losing the baby race. He's just happy both babies were born healthy and that he was there to witness it.

Of course, Michael also knows he'll have to pick up his brother's restaurant tab at some point.

"I guarantee I'm gonna have to pay for some wings," he said with a laugh.