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One small leap: Fairbanks welcomes several babies on leap day

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Posted: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 11:44 pm | Updated: 1:41 pm, Wed Jan 16, 2013.

Clarification: Zachary Hill is not the biological father of baby Trance.

FAIRBANKS — Trance Rayne-Aurora Merica practically leaped into the world on Wednesday. The newborn baby girl stalled her entrance at the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital since Saturday, but when she was ready, she was extremely ready.

There was no time for a planned inducement or an epidural, said new mom Suki Merica-Bower.

“It went ridiculously quickly,” she said. That didn’t mean it was painless.

“Everywhere between the fifth floor and the basement heard me howl,” she said.

Trance was born about 9:15 a.m. She weighed 8.8 pounds and was nearly 22 inches long. The rosy-cheeked, red-haired girl slept Wednesday afternoon in the comfort of her mom’s arms.

Trance is a leap day baby. That means her true birthday will only arrive every four years. That fact doesn’t bother Merica-Bower or her boyfriend, Zachary Hill. In fact, they are pretty pleased with their daughter’s arrival date.

They plan to have small, quiet gatherings, with homemade gifts and close family, each year that Trance is older. Every leap year, though, they plan to throw a big bash for the girl.

“I might just have to spoil you,” Merica-Bower cooed to the baby bundled in a blanket.

Several babies were born in Fairbanks on leap day. Also at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, Dominic Glenn Woodward was delivered through C-section around 3:20 p.m.

Dad Tim Woodward, dressed in a white hospital suit, said the newborn was healthy and said mom Crystal was doing well just an hour after the delivery. Dominic was 8 pounds, 13 ounces and 22 inches long.

Dominic is the couple’s second son, the younger brother to 3-year-old Tristan.

The Woodwards were waiting for his arrival since the ultrasound’s predicted date of Feb. 24.

“We’ve been waiting rather impatiently,” said great-grandmother Arlayne Knox.

Crystal was going to be induced, but the baby’s position kept switching, in what is known as an “unstable lie.” The couple arranged a C-section operation, and planned meantime for a leap day baby.

They decided to celebrate the boy’s birthday on either Feb. 28 or March 1 each year, depending on which falls closer to the weekend, so the most family possible can attend. They will celebrate on leap day when it comes around.

According to Merica-Bower, leap day babies are special.

“Some people look at it as more of a cursed thing,” she said, but she doesn’t. “It gives a uniqueness to your child.”

No matter the pain she went through, Merica-Bower was not tired after giving birth. She couldn’t sleep, even though she tried. With all the adrenaline and excitement, she thought she might be able to handle a marathon.

After delivering Trance, she held the baby to her chest and felt an “instant maternal instinct.”

“Nothing else matters,” she said.

Contact staff writer Reba Lean at 459-7523.

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