Their fourth child already was set to be delivered via cesarean section at noon today, on Dec. 12, 2012 — or 12-12-12.
So Terry Dale threw out the idea as a joke.
Terry told his wife's doctor that he expects him to time the birth so their little girl comes out at exactly 12:12 p.m. And if the baby ends up weighing 12 pounds, 12 ounces, he noted, “This could be worth some money.”
Neither the doctor nor Dale's wife, Laurie Heer-Dale, was amused. Physicians don't like to be told how to do their jobs, and pregnant women don't like the idea of birthing a huge baby.
“My wife was very much against that,” he said.
But the Omaha couple and others like them, from kids turning 12 on 12-12-12 and couples getting married, value today's date because of its novelty. It will be difficult to forget a wedding anniversary of 12-12-12.
That's what William Bittenbender thought, too. He and his ex-wife, Jennifer Maben-Bittenbender, were in the Douglas County Clerk's Office on Tuesday afternoon, applying for a marriage license.
“For a man,” Bittenbender said, 12-12-12 “is great. You couldn't go wrong with it.”
The couple said they had been together 10 years before they got married in 1998, the couple said, although Jennifer, 41, mistakenly said they first were married in 1997. Still, Bittenbender, 45, said he's the one who forgets everything about their kids, like who fell asleep in the high chair.
The couple wasn't sure they could get a judge to agree to a morning ceremony, but retired Douglas County Judge Stephen Swartz agreed to come to the courthouse a little early for them. Swartz already was scheduled to perform ceremonies at 11:15 and noon.
Maben-Bittenbender said she needed to buy something to wear to the ceremony. “You're not coming in jeans,” she said to her ex-and-future husband.
Dates like today's don't come around very often. We've been seeing more of them since Jan. 1, 2001 — 01-01-01 — but this is the last date when the day, month and year will be the same until the year 2101.
For those tweens celebrating their 12th birthdays, today will be their “golden birthday.” The day someone's age matches the date also is called their “grand,” “lucky,” “star” or “champagne” birthday.
Connie Burts had never heard of golden birthdays until co-workers pointed out that her son, Elisha, would be celebrating his today. Since then, she said, “I've been talking about it quite a bit, telling him how important it is, how special he is.
“He's getting a little more excited.”
Burts said she planned to bring cupcakes today to Elisha's school, Skinner Magnet Center, for Elisha to share with classmates. Elisha said he probably would celebrate by going to the Westroads with friends and seeing a movie. His mom said that would have to wait. It's a school night.
Elisha is one of 76 children born in Nebraska on Dec. 12, 2000. Iowa recorded 100 births that day. He's also one of 18 children in the Omaha Public Schools who turn 12 today.
Jordan McDonald, who attends La Vista West Elementary School, was born at Midlands Hospital in Papillion, the same as Elisha. Jordan's mother, Kris, plans to bring pizza, pop and ice cream for Jordan's class. Jordan called the day “a big birthday ... It's pretty cool.”
Eric Eischens is one of five sixth-graders turning 12 today at Kirn Middle School in Council Bluffs. He's focused on the chocolate cake.
“My mom told me what it was, and I was like, 'Awesome!' Of course, I drink a lot of pop, so I was all hyper about it.”
Zachary Jeppesen and McKenna Doyle, who both attend Beadle Middle School, are among eight Millard Public Schools students celebrating 12th birthdays today. Jen Doyle, McKenna's mom, has a surprise planned for her daughter, and we're not going to spoil it here. Barb Jeppesen, Zachary's mom, said the family will take Zachary, a fan of Asian culture, to P.F. Chang's for dinner.
Jeppesen said she didn't think about 12-12-12 or even of the idea when she scheduled her C-section back in 2000. Her doctor gave her a time frame, and she chose the 12th, a Tuesday. “I was thinking about the fact that I probably would get out of the hospital on Friday.” And, because her parents were coming that weekend, she would have some help.
Sharon McArdle, service leader in labor and delivery at Methodist Women's Hospital, said 10 women are scheduled to deliver at the hospital today — some C-sections, some inductions.
She said the hospital wouldn't change any rules for moms wanting to have their babies on a certain day: All have to be at least 39 weeks along.
Melissa Brown, who, like Laurie Heer-Dale, will deliver at the Women's Hospital, meets that standard. She's being induced a few days before her due date because “I have rather large babies. Not only that, it's pretty much the last time you can have a baby on a day like (12-12-12).”
Brown has to go in at 7 a.m., so a 12:12 p.m. delivery time is less likely than for Heer-Dale. But the idea that her baby — a boy — might be 12 pounds, 12 ounces has arisen. “Four of my friends have said that,” she said. “There is no way. If he is, they're in trouble for cursing me like that.”
William Bittenbender and Jennifer Maben-Bittenbender got married Wednesday at the Douglas County Clerk's Office.
Reporter Mike Brownlee of the World-Herald News Service contributed to this report.
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