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Cousins give birth one after another
Three boys born within 72-hour period at Northeast Georgia Medical Center
Three first cousins in Cleveland all had babies on three consecutive days in January at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center. The families are especially looking forward to growing closer as their children grow up together. From left are Katie Morgan and Rhett, Addi Vandegriff and Beckham, Sophia Fain and Callen.

Katie Morgan leaned over and asked her cousins’ wives if they’d ever heard the story about the family’s fertility statue.

As the three Cleveland women sat together, each cradling her newborn son, Morgan told the women about how many years earlier her mother purchased a Mexican fertility statue as a joke for a sibling who was having trouble conceiving. Shortly after returning home with the statue, Morgan’s mother, Janet, became pregnant with her son, Katie’s older brother. And three other family members became pregnant, too.

Now, years later, Katie Morgan believes her mother found the statue, though she swears she didn’t. The women looked to each other and their children all born within hours of each other and laugh. Then one of the babies stirs and the laughter abruptly stops.

In the past two months, the grandchildren of the late Rita and Ronald Fain have had five baby boys. The most recent three were born on consecutive days at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.

“I think it’s really fun, for sure,” Morgan said. “It’s such an interesting kind of a series of events. We didn’t plan it at all. To find out that we were all pregnant at the same time and then to have them all a day apart was amazing.”

The announcement

Joe and Addi Vandegriff, both 25 and from Cleveland, found out they were pregnant on Mother’s Day. After some discussion the couple decided to keep their pregnancy a secret, at least until it was obvious.

A few weeks later, Joe Vandegriff was at the doctor’s office for a blood pressure check when he received a text message on his phone. The excitement he felt at the good news made his blood pressure rise.

His first cousin Jacob, 26, and his wife, Sophia Fain, 25, both of Cleveland, were having a baby.

“Then an hour and half after that one, we found out about the other baby,” Joe said, laughing. “Then a couple of weeks later, we found out about another. We actually had five in all. Finding out one baby to another to another was the best thing ever.”

Addi Vandegriff said every text message was met with humor after that.

“So the joke was in the family is ‘OK, who is pregnant next?’ Anytime you got a text, we were like ‘Great, who’s pregnant now,’” Addi said. “That’s how it started, but it turned into a joke after the second one.”

The Vandegriffs kept their pregnancy secret for three months.

“Everyone else was having their moment, so I was like ‘Oh, I’ll just wait,’” Addi said. “It was interesting, because I was going through the same thing but I was trying not to take their thunder. But in the back of my mind I was like ‘We’re all about to have kids at the same time and they’re going to grow up together.’ It was cool to know that he was going to have his cousins together.”

The births

Two weeks before her due date, Addi Vandegriff found out she was in labor at a routine visit to her OBGYN. She was rushed to the hospital and after 36 hours of labor gave birth to her son Beckham on Jan. 8.

“The next morning I woke up to a text message that said Katie (Morgan) is on her way down there,” Joe Vandegriff said, laughing.

Morgan, 28, said she’d wanted to go and wait for her cousin’s baby to be born at the hospital but wasn’t feeling well. Her baby wasn’t due for another 17 days, so she wasn’t concerned about the discomfort being labor pains. Then her water broke.

While Morgan, who recently moved to Cleveland, was in labor, the Fains anticipated the next new arrival while holding baby Beckham in the Vandegriffs’ room.

The couples passed the time by marveling at the odds of both babies being born so close in time to one another.

Morgan’s baby, Rhett, was born Jan. 9.

“Everybody was joking around saying I needed to hurry up and have my baby soon,” Sophia Fain said. “We were all just playing around. I was saying how miserable I was being pregnant and I couldn’t wait.”

But Sophia’s due date was still another 19 days away. So she assumed she was going to have to wait.

The Fains left the hospital at 9:30 p.m. By 2 a.m. they were on their way back to the hospital, this time for their own baby. Eighteen hours later, Callen Fain was born on Jan. 10.

“It’s funny, because Addi and Joe were checking out of the hospital,” Sophia Fain said. “They were walking past the family that was all waiting for our baby and they’re telling everyone goodbye and showing the baby. And then all of a sudden everyone’s cellphones start going off and they’re looking at a picture of our baby being born. All three babies were in the hospital at the same time.”

Future birthdays

“Birthdays are already hectic now; I can’t imagine how they’re going to be in the future,” Jacob said, smiling down on his son and cousins.

Because the family is so close — and large — they all get together every few months and have a party for anyone who has had a birthday.

“We sing outrageously loud and there are like 40 or 50 of us every time,” Sophia said, laughing. “Now, it’s going to be even worse. It’ll be a lot worse.”

Joe Vandegriff said he’s just looking forward to the boys having built-in friends as they grow up, just like he had with Jacob, Morgan and their other cousins.

Each of the parents are already talking about sports teams, schools and play dates.

“It’s going to be excellent,” Joe Vandegriff said. “We live just about a half mile away and it’s real nice when you can know your family. What’s going to happen is, it’s going to be like when we were growing up. It’s going to be real nice. There’s always going to be someone to play and hang out with. Family dinners just got a little bit bigger.”