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Nagem: Raleigh father and son both born on leap day

Raleigh father and son share a birthday that rolls around only once every four years

VIDEO : Jeremy Ogburn and his new son, Andrew, share a leap year birthday
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VIDEO : Jeremy Ogburn and his new son, Andrew, share a leap year birthday

Jeremy Ogburn was eager to get out. He was born five days before his due date, on leap day – Feb. 29, 1980.

His son, Andrew, was content to stay where he was. Andrew arrived eight days late last month – on Feb. 29.

“Everyone was saying, ‘He’s going to be a leap year baby,’ ” said Ogburn, who lives in Raleigh.

Jeremy and his wife, Kelli, hoped their son would stay put until the calendar tacked on an extra day. They got their wish, and now father and son share a birthday that rolls around only once every four years.

All of us had a 1 in 1,461 chance of being born on leap day. But what are the chances that a parent and child would both be born on leap day?

Math makes me want to pull out my eyelashes one at a time, so I turned to the super smart folks at the UNC-Chapel Hill statistics department for help.

Leap day parent-child pairs occur in 1 in 2.1 million cases. You have a better chance of pretty much anything happening to you: getting hurt on an amusement park ride, earning a perfect score on the SAT, successfully cutting your own hair.

The Ogburns are looking forward to special birthday parties for Andrew, especially during leap years. Jeremy has made it a point to celebrate every Feb. 29, and he counts his real age as well as his leap year age. (He’s 36, but only 9 in leap-year birthdays.)

When he turned 5 in college, his parents sent a performer dressed as a gorilla to deliver balloons. It landed him in the student newspaper at Harding University in Arkansas.

In 2008, a leap year, Jeremy’s friends threw him a party fit for a 7-year-old, complete with cars, trucks and birthday hats.

“I’ve only known one other person who had my birthday, so it will be fun to share it,” he said.

But they’ll only share it on leap years. Jeremy typically celebrates on Feb. 28, but he’s moving his day to March 1 so Andrew can have his own special day.

To make matters even stranger, Jeremy and Andrew were both born at Rex hospital in Raleigh – Jeremy at the hospital’s former site on Wade Avenue near downtown, Andrew at the current campus on Lake Boone Trail.

A major snowstorm had moved into the Triangle when Jeremy made his debut. He had to stay in the hospital an extra day because the family couldn’t make it home, said his mother, Marlene Ogburn.

Jeremy worried winter weather would make it hard for Kelli to get to the car if she went into labor, so he bought a snow shovel and stocked up on salt to melt any ice. But the weather was warm that day.

Now, Jeremy and Kelli are focused on adjusting to parenthood. They’re exhausted, but they’re already seeing their son’s personality emerge. Andrew is calm and observant, and he likes the “Green Acres” theme song.

When Kelli went to a doctor appointment, leaving father and son alone for the first time, she returned to find Jeremy wearing one of her shirts. He hadn’t even noticed.

The couple married in 2004 but decided to wait on having kids, since they spend all day with other people’s children. Jeremy is a third-grade teacher at North Ridge Elementary in Raleigh, and Kelli is an eighth-grade language arts teacher at Terrell Lane Middle in Louisburg.

With a bundle of joy of their own at home now, “it’s getting a little bit easier every day,” Jeremy said.

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