Having a twin often means sharing important life experiences with another person — from birthdays to other milestones. But fraternal twin sisters Natalie and Leanne Paulson took their twin connection to a new level recently when the 21 year olds became pregnant at the same time, and later gave birth to their babies hours apart in the same hospital.
"We have always been close from birth and have always done everything together...we are more like best friends than sisters," Natalie Paulson told TODAY Parents. "We have both always been very maternal and wanted our own families, but never did we imagine we would share the experience of it all together and even have our babies within hours apart."
Leanne Paulson says she went into labor on July 28, and her sister quickly followed suit, calling their mother, Denise Rawlings, the next day to tell her she, too, was in labor and on her way to the hospital. The sisters were admitted to the same hospital, where they were placed in rooms next door to each other.
"Occasionally, when we both felt OK, we met in the hall to see how each other was getting on," said Leanne. "Our labor was exactly the same, the babies were both in the same position, and we both needed a little help during the pushing stage as both babies' heart rates were dropping when we were contracting."
Leanne gave birth to a baby boy, Carter, at 6:17 p.m. on July 29. Natalie's daughter, Mila-Rose was born a few hours later, at 12:02 a.m. on July 30.
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"Settling into motherhood has been amazing — there isn't any way to describe the feeling of being a mother," said Leanne. "It has been amazing to go through the pregnancy and birth with Natalie, as we have been able to share the whole experience and get ready for the babies' arrival together."
"We have always been really close," Leanne continued. "So to go through this together has been surreal."
The experience has also been surreal for Rawlings, who says although her daughters are not identical twins, she has always marveled at the similarities between the two, and feels a great deal of pride when she thinks about the two new additions to the family.
"I was flitting from one room to another (during the girls' labors) making sure they were both OK," said Rawlings. "Although I was totally shattered after having no sleep, it was definitely worth it to have two perfect grandchildren who I adore. And, I am happy that they were born a few hours apart and have separate birthdays, because unlike my daughters, who shared a birthday, they can each have their own special day."
Natalie says while she and her twin did not plan to get pregnant at the same time, she is thankful to have had her sister beside her throughout the experience.
"We would go shopping for our babies together, get out babies' nurseries ready together, and even had a joint baby shower where everything was pink and blue," said Natalie. "And now, our babies are going to be so close growing up, and we would never want it any other way."