They say pregnancy can be contagious among friends (seriously, it's science) and a mini baby boom at the Fire Department in Glenpool, Oklahoma is some pretty compelling—and seriously cute—proof.
Seven of the firefighters there welcomed babies in the last 15 months, and when their wives decided to take Jovie, Cohen, Saylor, Henley, Kadance, Bodie and Gracie down to the station for a Pinterest-inspired photo shoot, a viral sensation was also born.
Henley with dad Dusty Hutchinson, Gracie with dad Mick Whitney, Jovie with dad Kendall Dykes, Saylor with dad Sam Shanks, Bodie with dad Kyle McMurrian, Kadance with dad Darin Groom and Cohen with dad Dusty Todd. Avery Dykes
Avery Dykes is a school teacher, fire station wife and the part-time photographer behind the incredibly adorable pictures that (thanks to the power of Facebook) have now been featured everywhere from Good Morning America, to Fox News, Yahoo and here on Motherly. She's also little Jovie's mama.
"She's the oldest of the babies, we started the trend on accident," she jokes, speaking to Motherly on the phone from her home in Oklahoma. According to Dykes, the fire station baby boom has been an incredible experience, and she's glad the world is seeing the special bond her husband, Kendall, has with his coworkers, and how it connects the babies and mamas, too.
"We just are one big family. You have to be because your husbands are gone a third of the time and they live with these other men at the fire station a third of their lives. We lead a very unique life," she tells Motherly.
According to Dykes, the idea for the photo shoot started with Allysa Shanks, Saylor's mom, who saw a similar photo shoot on Pinterest awhile back.
Henley, Gracie, Jovie, Saylor, Bodie, Kadance and Cohen Avery Dykes
Shanks explained the genesis of the photoshoot to Motherly via Facebook messenger, noting she was on Pinterest looking at baby things for a reason many mamas can relate to. "I was so excited to be pregnant! My husband and I tried for two long years to get pregnant. We actually had just lost his mom to cancer," she explains.
While her family was mourning the loss, a member of the fire community told her they were certain she would get pregnant soon. "I took a test two days later and I was pregnant! My husband has had a really hard time losing his mom and those guys at the station and these families have been our rock," Shanks says. "They took care of our house and yard while we were in the hospital. They set up a meal train after my C-section for a couple weeks. They are amazing."
Melanie Todd, Cohen's mom, agrees the families all consider each other family. "We spend a lot of time at the fire station together eating dinner, celebrating holidays, birthdays," she tells Motherly, adding that while they didn't all plan to get pregnant at the same time, they were happy to find that they were.
"[It] just worked out that way. Many of us are newly married within the last 2-4 years, and just in that phase of our lives," she explains. "All the moms went in together and bought a high chair for the babies to share at the station."
The babies are already sharing more than a high chair according to Shanks. "Melanie and I joke that someday Cohen and Saylor will end up together," she says. "He was technically her first kiss."
For Dykes, it's been incredible watching her friends all have babies right after hers, and equally incredible seeing their connection celebrated across the country. "We're just small town folks and it is just crazy, she says. "We just cannot believe we are seeing our sweet babies' faces all over the internet and all over the TV."
The photos showcase some important small-town heroes, but Todd says there is one hero in this story who isn't pictured: The Fire Chief who didn't freak out when a third of his crew were part of a baby boom.
"With seven new babies comes a lot of unexpected days off. All of the guys were allowed several weeks off to stay at home with their babies and wives," she tells Motherly, adding that the members of the fire department who weren't having babies also really helped out. "All the guys have really stepped up and taken extra shifts so our guys can be home with the babies."
We're calling it: The Glenpool Fire Department is officially the most baby-friendly fire department around. Congrats to these heroes and their families.