11 Aug 2022

Best pals celebrate two special birthdays after discovering they were pregnant on the same day and giving birth four weeks early just an hour apart

Best pals celebrate two special birthdays after discovering they were pregnant on the same day and giving birth four weeks early just an hour apart

Best friends who met working at a nursery have just celebrated two special birthdays after tandem pregnancies saw them discovering they were expecting on the same day, then giving birth four weeks early just an hour apart.

Gloucester pals Bev Rimes and Hayley Russell, both 34, were astonished to find themselves in neighbouring hospital cubicles after their waters broke unexpectedly in the middle of the night and were “over the moon” knowing their kids were on course to celebrate joint birthdays.

Mum-of-three Bev was beaming when little Lilly was born on January 16, 2018, at the Royal Gloucester Hospital and cried tears of joy for Hayley after seeing Henry, a rainbow baby, had been delivered fit and healthy by the same doctor an hour later.

Bev, who also has two sons,  Alfie, 11, and Archie, eight, with her refrigeration engineer husband, Tim Rimes, 33, said: “When I saw Hayley with this healthy baby, I was so grateful to have my baby, but to see her was just incredible.

“It was one of the best moments in my life. It was a once in a million moment.

“You can never imagine anything like that happening.”

Both women had caesarean births on January 16, 2018, with Lilly being delivered at 9.40am weighing 5lb 15oz and Henry being born an hour later weighing 4lb 13oz.

Recalling their tandem deliveries, Bev said: “I remember hearing Hayley’s voice in the next cubicle at the hospital and I just couldn’t believe it.

“We had the same due date, then our waters broke four weeks early at the same time.”

She added: “There was also a hairy moment, when I could hear Hayley’s baby’s heartbeat dropping and I remember getting so worked up and worried.

“My best friend was next to me, I could hear the heartbeat and I couldn’t  do anything to help her – it was horrific.

“But everything was ok and soon, I was in one area of recovery looking at Hayley, who had just had her baby, too – it was just crazy.”

Bev met Hayley in 2014 after taking a job as a bank practitioner at a nursery in Gloucester, where her “best-friend-in-waiting” was a senior practitioner.

The pair “clicked” immediately and bonded over their love for cheesy 90s music, particularly enjoying the band Take That.

Soon they were meeting weekly for afternoon tea  – a routine they cherished.

Bev said: “I only went to work in the nursery because I wanted a change after being at the same place for over a decade.

“Hayley seemed quite quiet and I’m quite loud. But I’m so grateful to have met her, as it’s hard to find friends you trust completely.

“In my whole life, I’ve never met anyone like Hayley and I feel extremely grateful to have gone through my pregnancy and childbirth with her.”

As their friendship deepened,  Bev said Hayley opened up about her struggle to have a baby over the years, which had seen her lose two pregnancies.

Hayley and her husband Jason Russell, 38, an IT support worker, had tried for a baby in 2015 but miscarried at four weeks,  only to be dealt a further blow the following year when they lost another baby just days before their 12-week scan.

Bev  said: “We spoke about Hayley’s losses a lot and I remember telling her she would have a baby one day.”

She added: “It made us a lot closer and I wanted to support her as much as I could.”

Then, after celebrating their 30th birthdays a few weeks apart in June 2017, during one of their regular afternoon teas at the Hatton Court Hotel in Gloucester,  Hayley said she felt too ill to enjoy a glass of crisp Champagne.

Bev recalled joking that she could be pregnant and, as fate would have it, she fell ill herself and asked her husband Tim to get her a pregnancy test, even though they were not trying for a baby.

It was positive and at the same time a few miles away, Hayley had the same news –  announcing she was pregnant in a Facebook messenger group she was in with girlfriends including Bev.

Bev said: “When Hayley first sent the message, because of her history of trying, I was a bit nervous as I have two children and I didn’t want to rain on her bonfire.

“But I thought, ‘We love each other and we’re all so close.’  I knew she’d be so happy and it’s something we could share together.”

She added: “When I saw  her announcement, I was over the moon. I cried more seeing her pregnancy test than I did seeing my own. I was just amazed for her.

“I just couldn’t stop crying, it was so emotional.”

But their tandem journeys through pregnancy stepped up a gear when their waters broke on the same night – four weeks before their joint February 10 due date – and at 5am on January 16 they found themselves in adjoining hospital cubicles.

Bev said: “Even the midwives said they’d not seen anything like this happen before!”

And, once their babies were born, their tight bond was a massive help when Lilly suffered from a bout of sepsis at three months old and Hayley was a tremendous support.

Turning four on Sunday 16 January, the mums say Lilly and Henry are “like twins” – with the little girl being “sassy and confident” like her mum, while the boy is quieter and more reserved, like Hayley.

Bev said: “Lilly is very bossy and Henry is quiet.

“I think Lilly will be sticking up for Henry as they get older.”

Until now, their plans to have joint birthday parties have not always been possible, because of the pandemic.

But this year they celebrated with 30 friends and their children at the nearby Go Bananas, soft play centre.

They even shared cake, with one half being decorated in a pink Barbie theme for Lilly and the other half featuring Paw Patrol, Henry’s favourite cartoon.

Bev said: “It was wonderful and we’ll be looking forward to the date each year for many years.”

She added: “We’ll still be telling this story on their wedding days!”

When Hayley fell pregnant, she and her husband were waiting for the paperwork to proceed with IVF treatment, only for Henry to be conceived naturally.

Hayley said: “I just shoved the test in my husband’s face. I was nervous, shocked, and anxious, as I’d had the miscarriages in the past.”

She added: “When Bev told me she was also pregnant, it was just a shock. We were so excited for each other.”

Being pregnant simultaneously was a great support for Hayley, who says Bev calmed her fears when she experienced crippling anxiety in case she lost another baby.

She said: “Henry and Lilly’s births will be something we will talk about for years.”

“The kids will have their own personalities, but they look set to be as close as their mums and they will always share the same birth story, as well as the same birthday.”

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