POTSDAM — The north country’s first Christmas Day babies arrived Friday afternoon — a set of twins born to a Massena couple at Canton-Potsdam Hospital.

Ginelle Gardner and Darian Hines welcomed Imani Selma-Rose Hines at 12:37 p.m. An hour later — at exactly 1:37 p.m. — Imani’s sister Elaine Melody-Mae Hines joined the party.

With a New Year’s Eve due date, the healthy, identical twin girls made their entrance about a week early, marking the first births of the day across hospitals in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

Ms. Gardner and Mr. Hines arrived at CPH the morning of Christmas Eve, and Ms. Gardner went into labor about 26 hours later on Christmas morning.

“It couldn’t be any better,” Mr. Hines said, calling from Ms. Gardner’s hospital room shortly before 4 p.m. Friday.

Ms. Gardner is mom to a young son and daughter, and Mr. Hines is a first-time dad.

Both parents have twin relatives — a sister’s children on Ms. Gardner’s side, and a grandmother and great-aunt on Mr. Hines’ side.

“It was destined to happen,” Mr. Hines said. “Our whole lives, we both have felt like we were going to have twins no matter what. I used to think, ‘If I’m ever with somebody and we have kids, I better have enough money for twins.’”

Before the pregnancy, the couple recalled, Ms. Gardner weighed about 125 pounds.

“She’s a trooper for sure,” Mr. Hines said.

Imani Selma-Rose is the couple’s first rainbow baby, a hopeful gift after Ms. Gardner miscarried prior to the twin pregnancy. They chose Imani’s first middle name, Selma, in honor of Mr. Hines’ grandmother, and Elaine in honor of grandma Selma’s identical twin sister Elaine. Melody honors Ms. Gardner’s grandmother.

Separated by two generations from the great-grandmother, great-aunt twins, Imani and Elaine came in with full heads of dark hair.

“They’re both beautiful, just like me,” Mr. Hines said laughing. “Big old healthy babies.”

Imani weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces, and spanned about 19 inches. Elaine was also measured at about 19 inches and weighed 7 pounds, 3.5 ounces.

“At first we didn’t really want this to happen because we wanted them to have their own day and not have to share the spotlight with Christmas,” Mr. Hines said. “But it’s becoming more and more special.”

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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