Growing up, Shanea and Janea Hickman did everything together — whether they wanted to or not. The sisters are only 18 months apart, which meant where one sister went the other followed. Little did they know this would continue into adulthood when Shanea, 27, gave birth to her first baby one minute before Janea, 25, delivered her first baby.
“It’s just a blessing,” Shanea, of West Palm Beach Florida, told TODAY Parents. “If my daughter had to have someone to be close to (in age) I wouldn’t choose anyone else.”
Being pregnant at the same time was purely coincidence. While Shanea knew she was pregnant a day before Janea, Shanea waited to share.
“I was still processing my emotions,” Shanea said. “The very next day for Janea to text me that she was pregnant, oh my gosh, it was surreal.”
As soon as Janea saw the positive pregnancy test, she told everyone. And even though Shanea kept her pregnancy a secret, Janea suspected that her sister was having a baby.
When Shanea came home to Pittsburgh for Janea’s birthday on October 13, Shanea finally told her family. The family felt thrilled, but little sister Janea felt slightly annoyed.
“Janea's exact words were ‘Why do you always have to steal my shine?’” Shanea said, laughing.
Janea admitted to saying it, but added she was mostly joking.
“These are the first births in our family in a long time. I was looking forward to getting spoiled,” Janea said.
All joking aside, Janea felt truly excited, adding “I was just so happy."
The two learned their due dates were just days apart: Shanea’s was May 9, Janea’s May 13. But Janea was experiencing swelling, painful carpal tunnel and nausea and vomiting and was induced on May 6 at UPMC Magee Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh. When her water finally broke the next morning she texted her sister in Florida to update her.
“She said ‘My water broke too,’” Janea recalled. “Our water broke about the same time.”
Janea quickly progressed to more than 9 centimeters dilated and her mom sent a group text saying that Janea was pushing and they expected the baby soon. Then Shanea’s partner Paul texted back and said she was being taken for a cesarean section because she had preeclampsia.
After her daughter, Emerie Barlow was born, Shanea called her family and her brother picked up. She asked what time Janea had her baby and he told her 1:10 p.m.
“I said ‘No way! Emerie was born at 1:09," Shanea recalled. “I was in the operating room and (Janea) was pushing.”
Both children were born on May 7, 2019, and Janea’s daughter Ryanne weighed 5 pounds, 7 ounces and was 19 inches long or 5.7.19. Emerie weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. The sisters love that their daughters will have the bond of being “twin cousins” born only one minute apart.
“I can’t describe the feelings. I cannot be happier,” Janea said. “My baby has somebody to grow up with.”