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Leap day welcomes 4 local newborns

Jenny and Scott Pederson of Brainerd pose with their baby boy Finnley Pederson (L), and Christine and Billy Nihart of Federal Dam pose with their baby boy Fynley Nihart (R), both boys were born Monday Feb. 29 at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center. Chelsey Perkins/Brainerd Dispatch1 / 4
Jenny and Scott Pederson of Brainerd pose with their baby boy Finnley Pederson, born Monday at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center. Finnley was one of four babies born at Crow Wing County hospitals on leap day. Chelsey Perkins/Brainerd Dispatch2 / 4
Jenny and Scott Pederson pose with baby Finnley Pederson and both sets of Finnley's grandparents Monday evening. Finnley was born Feb. 29 -- leap day. Chelsey Perkins/Brainerd Dispatch3 / 4
Christine and Billy Nihart of Federal Dam pose with their baby boy Fynley Nihart, born Monday at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center. Fynley was one of four babies born at Crow Wing County hospitals on leap day. Chelsey Perkins/Brainerd Dispatch4 / 4

CROSBY—The birthdates of four babies born at Crow Wing County hospitals Monday won't appear on the calendar for four more years.

Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby and Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd each welcomed two newborns to the world with birth certificates bearing Feb. 29.

Jenny and Scott Pederson of Brainerd became the parents of baby boy Finnley Pederson at 2:16 p.m. Monday at CRMC. Finnley weighed in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces, and was 21 inches long.

Finnley is the couple's first baby. Due on March 4, the baby boy arrived early, just in time to share a special birthday with an estimated 200,000 other Americans.

"It's extra special for our baby," Jenny said. "We're just thankful and very blessed."

Jenny and Scott discussed baby names for a long time and could not agree on a name. They chose Finnley, Jenny said, because they liked the name Findlay selected by one of the families featured on the Discovery Channel's show "Alaska: The Last Frontier."

Jenny said the couple hadn't had much time to think about future birthday celebrations, but one of four grandparents in the room Monday evening joked if they forgot Finnley's birthday on Feb. 28, they could always celebrate it on March 1 as if it were planned that way.

In the room next door less than an hour later at 3:04 p.m., another baby boy Fynley was born on leap day to parents Christine and Billy Nihart of Federal Dam. Fynley was 7 pounds, 3.6 ounces and was 22 inches long.

Christine and Billy knew they were to soon be the parents of a "leaper," as those born on leap day are affectionately known. Christine had an induction scheduled for Feb. 29 weeks in advance. Fynley is her third child, with a 6 ½-year age gap since her next oldest.

The couple settled on Fynley after similarly having difficulty agreeing on a name, but both liked Fynley after Billy suggested it.

Christine said she will likely choose to celebrate Fynley's birthday on Feb. 28 instead of March 1 to keep it in the same month as his actual birthday.

At Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd, two other newborns arrived Monday. At 6:30 p.m., baby boy Rhett Adam was born to Adam Gilson and Ashly Johnson of Fort Ripley. Baby Rhett weighed in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces, and was 19 ½ inches long. Rhett is the couple's first baby and was due March 11, so he arrived nearly two weeks early on leap day. The other newborn in Brainerd arrived shortly before 3:15 p.m.

The Brainerd lakes area has four new potential members of the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies, a group of nearly 10,000 members who share the unique birthday.

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchChelsey.

Chelsey Perkins

Chelsey Perkins grew up in Crosslake and is a graduate of Pequot Lakes High School. She earned her bachelor's degree in professional journalism at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Perkins interned at the Lake Country Echo and the Rochester and Austin Post-Bulletins, and also worked for the student-run Minnesota Daily newspaper as a copy editor and columnist during college. She went on to intern at Utne Reader magazine, where she was later hired as the research editor. Before becoming the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch, Perkins worked as the county government beat reporter at the Dispatch and a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.

(218) 855-5874
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