TAMPA — The due date wasn't until March 7.
But Danielle and Tim White scheduled the Caesarian section delivery for Wednesday.
"It was a compromise," explained Daneille, 31, an assistant principal at Crews Lake Middle School in Pasco. "She was a girl, which I wanted, so Tim got to pick the (birth) date."
So Ella Winter White was born at 8:53 a.m. on Feb. 29, Leap Day. With a full head of black hair, she was the first "leaper" of 2012 at Florida Hospital Tampa, formerly University Community Hospital.
"Ella — that's French for beautiful," said her grandfather, George Wright of Hudson, as the family, including 2-year-old big sister Logan (born May 3, 2009), admired the 7-pound, 3-ounce baby who wiggled in the warmer beside her mother's bed.
The doctor gave the family a choice of delivery dates that ranged from Feb. 29 to March 2. Had Ella been a boy, she wouldn't have been leaper. Under the Whites' pact, that would have given Danielle the birthday picking rights.
"I wanted March 1," she said.
Tim said he chose Feb. 29 because it would make his daughter unique.
"It'll give her a good story to tell," said Tim, 31, a physical education teacher and coach at Fivay High School, who has known his wife, the former Danielle Wright, since they were students at Shady Hills Elementary School.
Ella was one of three Leap Day babies born at Florida Hospital Tampa. Medical Center of Trinity also reported one leaper. Dylan Charles Yoakley, the son of Charles and Dajana Yoakley of Odessa, was born at 1:51 a.m. Wednesday and weighed 9 pounds, 3 ounces.
Doctors say Leap Day births are not something many parents try to avoid. Friday the 13th deliveries as well as Sept. 11 and April Fools Day are less popular, though.
"I don't think people really think about it until it comes up," said Dr. James Von Thron, a Tampa obstetrician. Dates such as July 4 and Christmas are more sought after, though New Year's Day is still the most popular.
As a leaper, Ella will have the opportunity to join the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies, a 10,000-member organization based in Oregon. Membership is strictly limited to those born Feb. 29.
However, she won't get to celebrate her actual birthday but once every four years as that's when the extra day occurs to make the Gregorian calendar match the astronomical year. But her parents have that all worked out.
"We'll celebrate whenever the closest Saturday is," Danielle said.