Danielle Shimeall (left), Nicole Fitts (center) and Nicole Saarinen (right). (Photo: submitted)

Three sets of friends.

Three pregnant mommas.

Three babies born one week apart on consecutive Saturdays in January.

These are the “Saturday babes” as nicknamed by their parents, a trio of friends. 

“I’m looking forward to what this is going to turn into, the shared bond of our children,” said Tony Fitts, whose son Lincoln was the last of the group to be born. “Hopefully, they look at us and our friendship and build their own as they grow up.”

Nixa dads, man-tears and perfect timing

In sixth grade, when Victor Saarinen moved to Nixa from Florida, he met Tony Fitts the first day of school.

They’ve been best friends ever since. Growing up, they rode bikes through their neighborhood and across dangerous intersections, stayed up way too late and had movie marathons, Victor recalled.

They both still live in Nixa.

They both married women named Nicole.

They both had sons born two weeks apart.

Victor and his wife Nicole tried to conceive for two and a half years with no luck. Then his father got sick.

Two and a half weeks after his dad passed away, Nicole found out she was pregnant.

“I definitely feel like (my dad) had a big part in it,” Victor said. “God has a plan and perfect timing for everything we do, and we are very blessed.”

The Saarinens were on their way out of town to tell Victor’s mom in person when his best buddy, Tony, stopped by.

“(Tony) said, ‘I have something to tell you. I am going to be a dad.’ I said, ‘I am going to be a dad, too.’ We may have man-cried in the yard and hugged each other,” Victor said.

They told each other before they told their families.

Unlike their friends, Tony and Nicole were not trying to conceive but knew they wanted children.

“We figured we would let God dictate the timing, so it just so happened to work out where He apparently wanted us to all have kids together,” Nicole Fitts said.

The trio is formed

All the babies. (Photo: submitted)

Victor met Derek and Danielle Shimeall at Table Rock Lake a few years ago.

Both couples own a boat, and their slips are two spots apart.

The Shimealls would go down and tie up their boat with friends. It turns out, they had mutual friends and got to know each other.

They shared a love for the lake and craft beer. The Shimealls are part owners of 4 by 4 Brewing Company, the “4” stands for four husbands and four wives who own the brewery.

Last year, when Victor’s wife Nicole was turning 35, Victor threw a party for her and invited the Fitts and Shimealls.

All three women had recently found out they were pregnant and formed an instant bond. 

“As a first-time mom, everything is new so having friends to experience all the firsts with is nice and creates a special bond in addition to a great support system,” said Nicole Fitts.

They quickly became a trio.

“It was amazing because every time something weird was going on, I could text and check with them and say ‘Hey, is this happening to you? Have you experienced this?’” Danielle said. “That continues now that the babies are born. We still check in on each other. ‘Is your baby doing this? Has this worked for you?’’’

It was especially helpful for Danielle because, as she made this new connection, her mother was battling cancer and passed away in October, a few months before baby Denver was born. It was a devastating blow. But she was able to lean on her friends.

“Usually, I would have called my mom, but now I talk to the girls,” Danielle said. “It’s been nice to have that support.”

Tony and Derek hit it off right away. Derek was finishing his basement and said Tony was quick to help out and lend him tools. They both share a love of beer and sports.

Friendship eases growing pains of parenting

The friend group goes out to eat. (Photo: submitted)

Although the babies were all born a week apart, those were not their due dates. They all came early.

Crew Saarinen, son of Nicole and Victor, was born on January 8.

“I was induced on Wednesday and didn’t have him until Saturday. It was a long time,” said Nicole.

Throughout each delivery, the group texted every 30 minutes or so for updates. It became the theme of the month.

Denver Shimeall was up next and she made it pretty easy on her momma, born less than two hours after Danielle checked into the hospital.

“The boys had the crazy labors and Denver just came right out. Boys are the troublemakers,” joked Danielle.

Lincoln Fitts gave his mom some fits.

“I went in on Thursday night, labored all day and had a C-section Saturday morning. We left the hospital Monday,” Nicole said.

But the babies are wonderful. 

They sleep. Don’t fuss a lot. And have happy dispositions.

Recently, the parents took all three to Metropolitan Grill for dinner and it “went off with a bang. They were all fantastic,” said Nicole Fitts.

They all went out for Valentine’s dinner together, they get together for craft beer and are planning a group trip to Arkansas.

Tony jokes and says he can just imagine the three babes on a Sea-Doo together when they get older and go to the lake.

Already, the parents are talking about hosting joint birthday celebrations.

“So we don’t spend the entire month of January at birthday parties,” chuckled Tony.

Tony said he wants the boys to grow up best buds riding their bikes around Nixa like he and Victor did; Danielle was happy Denver had two boys to look out for her as she grows up.

There was one other thing this tribe had in common: fear of being the only “older” couple with a baby. Danielle and Nicole Saarinen are 36; Nicole Fitts is 31.

“I was worried we’d be on an island all by ourselves, but the opposite happened,” said Derek. “We found great support and great friends.”

Juliana Goodwin

Juliana Goodwin is a freelance journalist with experience covering business, travel and tourism, health, food and history. She is a former Food and Travel Columnist for the Springfield News-Leader, a former business reporter for The Joplin Globe, and has written for USA Today and Arkansas Living Magazine, among others. More by Juliana Goodwin