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WATERLOO — Not one, but two babies were born in Waterloo shortly after 2019 began.

The Cedar Valley’s first babies were a set of twins born shortly after midnight. The world welcomed Miral Al-Hassan at 12:22 a.m. and her brother Mahammed Al-Hassan at 12:24 a.m. Tuesday at Covenant Medical Center.

Younis Al-Hassan, 38, and his wife, Reham Albashrawi, 31, came in for a check-up New Year’s Eve and unexpectedly met their first son and daughter New Year’s Day.

They weren’t planning to be going home with babies, but their doctor told them they had to deliver then, otherwise there were risks for the babies and their mother, Hassan said.

After they filled out their paperwork, Albashrawi was brought into a delivery room.

“It was unbelievable when we saw the first baby come in (to this world) and I was crying, and her mom was crying,” Hassan said.

It’s an unbelievable feeling for Hassan, who just completed his doctorate in education at the University in Northern Iowa last week.

His doctoral dissertation research was titled “Non-profit Leader’s Risk-Taking Propensity and Managerial Leadership Styles” and his major was allied health, recreation and community service.

The twins were supposed to be born around 37 weeks, but instead they came after 35 weeks.

“There was no plan for it,” Hassan said. Hassan and his wife were surprised to give birth two weeks early. “It was surprising for us.”

Miral is 4 pounds, 14 ounces and 19 inches long; Mahammed is 4 pounds, 11 ounces and 17.5 inches long.

Hassan and his wife are originally from Saudi Arabia. He came to Iowa around 2013 to work on his doctorate, while his wife traveled back and forth between the two countries, working as a dentist in Saudi Arabia.

They’ve been married since 2011.

After they found out Hashrawi was pregnant they decided to stay in Iowa to have the children.

Both babies are healthy and mom is recovering.

“It was unbelievable,” Hassan said. “It is an outstanding feeling.”

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