Leah Atlas was due to give birth on March 2, but the new mother “had a feeling” her baby was going to come a few days early.
Her intuition was right.
Sara Atlas was born at 8:29 a.m. on Feb. 29 at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola and will share a birthday with her grandfather David Rothman, who was born on leap day in 1952.
“I’m ecstatic,” Rothman said, as he admired the 7-pound, 4-ounce baby cradled in his daughter’s arms. “It’s just a miracle.”
Levi Atlas, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, was astounded by the statistical odds that their first daughter was born on both the leap day and also in the Hebrew calendar’s “leap year,” in which Adar I, or an extra month, is tacked on.
“Any day she would have been a gift, but that she was born today is truly amazing,” Levi Atlas said.
Sara was one of six leap day babies born at Winthrop. Stony Brook University Hospital reported seven “leapers” and Long Island Jewish Medical Center reported 11.
Seth Plancher, who has been an OB-GYN at Winthrop for 25 years, said parents often have mixed feelings about giving birth on leap day.
“Some parents try to avoid [leap day] like the plague and others embrace it wholeheartedly,” he said, adding that the least popular dates for expectant parents are Friday the 13th and Sept. 11.
Elizabeth and Edgar Torres, of Huntington, were both excited their firstborn arrived on Feb. 29. Emily Torres was delivered at 1:15 a.m. at Huntington Hospital and weighs just over 7 pounds.
“I think it gives her a cool story. It makes her special,” said Edgar, 31, whose birthday is Feb. 28.
Emily and Sara will get to celebrate their actual birthdays only once every four years, as the extra day occurs to synchronize time systems because the 365-day calendar runs short of solar time by close to six hours.
Both families have that all worked out. Emily will celebrate with her father on Feb. 28; Sara with her grandfather, who typically enjoys his birthday on March 1.
“This was the best birthday present I could have asked for,” Rothman said.