Local youngsters share 12th birthday on same unique calendar date.

On average, about 11,000 babies were born in the U.S. per day in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least three of those babies were born Dec. 12 of that year at Hannibal Regional Hospital. Today, those youngsters - Payton Welch, Michaela Johnston and Taylor Blackwell - will be celebrating their 12th birthday in different ways with friends and family.

One Hannibal classroom lays claim to two of today’s birthday honorees - Payton and Michaela - who are sixth graders at Holy Family School.

According to their mothers, Rachel Johnston and Jenni Welch, while they were in labor very near each other at the hospital, they didn’t know one another at the time. In fact, it wasn’t until years later that they became aware of their common history.

“I didn’t know his (Payton’s) parents until maybe four years ago,” said Johnston, noting that the two families were unfamiliar despite attending Holy Family Church and having children enrolled in the same school. “That’s when we realized we had our babies in side by side rooms.”

“When the kids started going to school, I think we were at lunch one day (celebrating their child’s birthday at school) when we got talking about it,” said Welch. “Payton had trouble when he was born and he was transferred to Columbia. She asked, ‘Is he the child that was taken to Columbia?’ That’s how it all got brought up.”

While some children don’t like sharing “their day” with anyone, that’s not a problem for Michaela and Payton.

“It’s really neat because we’re friends,” said Michaela.

“I don’t really care too much (sharing the same birthday). It’s all fine,” added Payton. “It’s amazing we were both born on the same day.”