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Leap Day Babies Make Entrance at Howard County General

Savannah Maizel and Cole McGuire were among the babies born locally on Feb. 29.

By 3 a.m. Wednesday, Howard County General Hospital staff members had already welcomed two of the newest members of the Honor Society of Leap Day Babies.

When the clock struck midnight Wednesday, the hospital's tally of Leap Day babies for 2012 stood at 11.

Savannah Maizel, daughter of Cori Wolf and Adam Maizel of Silver Spring, entered the world at 1:46 a.m. Feb. 29, making her the first of the local hospital's Leap Day deliveries.

Just a little over an hour later, at 2:59 a.m., Cole James McGuire, son of Matt and Sarah McGuire, joined Savannah in an exclusive club that numbers about 5 million people worldwide.

With nearly 3,500 births annually, hospital spokeswoman Sharon Sopp said she was confident a few babies would be born on the dreaded — or coveted, depending on personal opinion — Leap Day birthday.

Savannah's parents were split on the possibility of their child being born on the rare birthday.

"I liked the idea," Maizel, 28, said. "I wanted it because it's special."

"I didn't want it because I didn't want my child to have a birthday just once every four years," Wolf said.

Savannah attempted to be born about a month ago, and Wolf, who was in labor for about 16 hours, believes her daughter was giving her payback for stopping her grand entrance last month.

"She didn't want to come out," Wolf, 26, said. "I think that was her way of getting me back."

Savannah joins two older brothers in her parents' blended family.

Thanks to her once-every-four-years birthday, the age span between the siblings will only increase over the years.

Just down the hall, the McGuire family of Olney was welcoming Cole to the world on his special day.

Cole is the second child born to the McGuires, who had begun to joke about the possibility of their child being born on Feb. 29 as the date drew closer.

"Oh, I did think about him coming on Leap Day," Sarah, a Laurel Woods Elementary School technology teacher, said. "I told everyone, 'He's definitely coming Wednesday.'"

Proud paternal grandparents Bob and Betty Ann McGuire of Rockville stopped in Wednesday afternoon to meet Cole for the first time.

As they held their 12-hour-old grandson for the first time, they marveled at the uniqueness of his birth date.

One of the things that "Leapers," as Leap Day babies are called, lament about their birthdays is that few of them ever get to celebrate their "golden birthday," which is turning the age of the date of their birth.

For example, someone born on the 26th of any month would celebrate his or her golden birthday upon turning 26.

Counting only "real" birthdays of Leap Day dates, a Leaper would need to live to be 116 to turn 29 in Leap Day years.

"Well, I think that's a good goal for him," Sarah McGuire said of Cole. "That's a very good goal."

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