Sometime last year, three firefighters who work together at Fire Station 465 on Fort Belvoir learned that their wives were pregnant, and their expected delivery dates were all within a couple of weeks of each other.
But the babies had other ideas. Two of them were born earlier than expected, and one was born late. That put all three firefighters in Spotsylvania Regional Hospital March 20, with the three baby boys born within 24 hours.
Firefighter/Medic Kyle Fredericks is both a veteran firefighter and veteran parent, as he has several children and his oldest is 19; Lt. Michael Irvine also has a few children, with his oldest age 5. Firefighter/EMT Kyle Dean, is the youngest of the three firemen, and is adjusting to life with his first child at home.
Irvine said that when the deliveries became imminent, he notified the nursing staff to expect a couple of co-workers to arrive at labor.
“We were actually on the same floor, one or two doors down from each other,” Irvine said. “Once we made it to the postpartum care, we were all neighbors, and we were right next door to each other.”
Dean’s son, Colton, was born with a broken collarbone, but it’s on the mend and he’s doing well, he said. Carson Irvine and Dawson Frederick are also doing well, according to the proud fathers.
Fredericks said it’s exciting to think about the three boys being able to grow up together and bond once they’re old enough to play.
“The biggest thing is being able to hit the milestones together as friends, and talking on a daily basis and checking in on each other,” Fredericks said. “It’s amazing and I definitely recommend it to everybody, to find these people in your life that you can communicate with like this and enjoy the moment.”
Fredericks added that he and Irvine are happily sharing parenting tips with Dean, who is still adjusting to fatherhood.
“I think for Dean at least, being on the same page as a first-time dad we kind of walk through those steps together and give him advice as he goes through it for the first time,” Fredericks said.
Dean told InsideNoVa he was impressed with the hospitality and care the families received at Spotsylvania Regional Hospital.
“They treated us like family. I don’t know if that’s normal – I’ve never had another baby – so it was nice to have that kind of bond inside the hospital going through my first time,” said Dean. “I was kind of nervous about things and they were there to walk me through everything, so that was fantastic.”
A firefighter’s work shift is unlike that of most occupations, with 24 hours on duty at the firehouse and then 48 hours off-duty. That leads many firefighters to choose homes that may be a significant drive from the firehouse, as is the case with these three. Although the families are spread across the Fredericksburg area – living in King George, Westmorland and Louisa – Irvine said they are already considering a shared first birthday party.
“They’re still young now, but once they start getting to that playing age, we’d like to get them together and hang out, because I don’t think you can build a friendship close to what they’ll probably have, being born so close together, and their dads being so close together.”