MERRILLVILLE | LaShana Stanley was due to give birth March 19, and her sister Jerrona Jones was due March 21.
Instead, the Merrillville sisters gave birth three hours apart Wednesday at the Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus in Merrillville, with the assistance of the same doctor and the same nurse.
Jonathan Miano | The Times Newborn cousins Jailah Jones, left, and Rashi Bell Jr., right, were born three hours apart to sisters Jerrona Jones, left, and LaShana Stanley, far right, on Wednesday at the Methodist Hospital Southlake Campus in Merrillville. Family members including Justin Jones, 4, far left, Jaylen Jones, 9, center, and Taleyah Bell, 7, right, visited the newborns Thursday.
Stanley, 33, and Jones, 28, are used to sharing. The two live on the same street, just houses apart, dropping in on each other for meals and helping the other's children get on and off the bus. Now they will each have a child who shares a March 9 birthday.
"I feel we are blessed," Jones said Thursday as she held her daughter Jailah Jones, who was born weighing 6 pounds, 6.5 ounces. "Everybody is healthy so far. It was nice to share with my sister."
"It was nice to share with my baby sister," Stanley echoed, rocking her son Rashi Bell Jr., who weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces.
Dr. Prinn Stang Sr. estimates in the 32 years he's been practicing, he's delivered 4,000 children including the sisters' newborns. He said he didn't know the two were sisters until after they delivered, and it was probably the second time he has delivered the babies of sisters. Wednesday was the first time he delivered to sisters on the same day, he said.
For Stanley and the father of Rashi, Rashi Bell Sr., their new son represents a connection to Bell Sr.'s brother who died last year.
"His dad is over the moon (for Rashi Jr.) because he's missing his brother," Stanley said. "What's that saying, 'When one goes, one comes.'"
Stanley said she learned she was pregnant first, but it was only two weeks later that Jones found out she was pregnant. The two didn't think they'd deliver on the same da, but liked the fact they at least would deliver in the same month. They plan to keep the cousins close and celebrate their first birthday together.
"Most of the other kids are older," Jones said. "But they'll have each other."