NI sisters prepare for special Mother’s Day after welcoming baby girls on same day

Aine McCauley (33) and her sister Eimear Browne (35) not only welcomed their daughters on March 1, but were also put next to each other on the maternity ward of Altnagelvin Area Hospital.

“It was handy because I’d forgotten some things in my bag, so I was able to borrow my sister’s stuff,” said Aine, whose daughter Orla, weighing six pounds and seven ounces, was born only one day after her due date.

“We thought she was going to be a leap year baby, but she held off a day to be born on the same day as her cousin.

“It’s definitely been a surreal experience and something I definitely never thought I’d share with my sister.

“We share a lot of things, but there are some details we have shared this past week… More details than we have shared in our entire lives.”

Eimear’s due date wasn’t for another few weeks, so she shared in her sister’s surprise when they ended up in the same hospital together at the same time.

“When we told each other we were pregnant, it was early on, and we knew our due dates were so far apart that there was no chance both babies would be born on the same day,” she said.

“Aine’s other kids were four and six weeks early, and my due date wasn’t for another few weeks after hers — so the way it worked out is amazing.”

Aine McCauley and Eimear Browne with their daughters Orla and Sofia in Altnagelvin Area hospital

Eimear was brought into the hospital to be induced on February 29, as her baby was measuring small.

“My little girl Sofia was born just after 11am the next morning, weighing five pounds,” she said.

“But in the middle of the night, it was quite a surprise [to learn] Aine was in labour and was coming in too.

“I was excited to see her and by the thought that we might have our kids [around the same time].

“Obviously your partner can’t stay [overnight], so it was nice that she was there with me.”

The sisters live near to each other in Limavady and Eimear says they have a “very close-knit family unit”.

“We practically live in each other’s pockets,” she said.

Eimear has another daughter (Aoife, who is two), while Aine has a girl (Cara) and a boy (Cillian).

“Poor Cillian is now in a family of girls,” said Aine.

“We all have girls; our older sister Antoinette has two girls as well.”

The siblings were both pregnant at their sister Antoinette’s (centre) 40th birthday party

Aine added that, even though neither she nor Eimear knew they were having daughters, they both had the same name picked out.

“I was raging when I thought Eimear was going to beat me to it, because we both liked the name Orla,” she said.

“As it transpired, she got there first. But the next day she told me I could have the name and that she was going to name her daughter Sofia, so I locked it down quickly before she changed her mind.”

The sisters, who, incidentally, are also both dentists, albeit in different practices, are now looking forward to spending their maternity leave together.

Eimear said: “It was nice being pregnant together, and now it’ll be nice to be on maternity leave together and go on walks and to baby classes together. It’s handy when you’ve got someone to go with.”

Aine had her second child during lockdown and said she missed out on attending the baby classes during that time.

“I felt very isolated in the house on my own, and people were obviously scared to visit because of Covid, so it’ll be very different this time around.

“It’ll be nice now with the summer months and longer days ahead.”

Looking forward to Mother’s Day, Eimear said that the occasion is usually a family affair – but will be extra special this time.

“We all would normally spend the day together — go see Mum or have a Sunday roast at one of our houses,” Eimear said, adding that she and Aine are also looking forward to joint birthday parties for their daughters in the future.

“We joked that had they been born a day earlier, we’d only have to have a party every four years, on a leap year,” said Eimear.

Aine added: “We are used to the chaos by now, so joint birthday parties will definitely be happening.

“My other kids, however, might be disappointed at the opportunity of only having cake once.”

A spokesperson for the Western Health and Social Care Trust, meanwhile, wished Aine and Eimear well: “The Trust has passed on congratulations to both families.”

Belfast Telegraph Life