Five Castle High School teachers bonded this past December when they realized they were all pregnant at the same time.
CHS teachers Casey Richison, Mallory Hood and Lauren Moore are all expecting their first child while Tiffany Absher is expecting her third child and Jessica Ziliak gave birth to her second child just before winter break began.
Richison, 31, a math teacher, is 33 weeks pregnant and is expecting a girl named Margot Jean with her husband of over 10 years, Luke.
"We've been married for over 10 years so my family is very happy," she said. "We rock climb, and hike and canoe and camp so there was a lot of life things we wanted to enjoy first. But then it was like, 'OK, I'm 31, if this is going to happen, it has to happen now.'"
English teacher Lauren Moore, 24, is seven months pregnant and is expecting her first child, a boy, Theodore James, with her husband Austin Moore.
"I can't wait to watch him be a dad -- I don't know if that's weird or not because I think it's going to be a cool new phase in our lives," she said. "He thought it was going to be a girl for the longest time so I think when he found out it was a boy, he was like, 'Yes!'"
Spanish teacher Mallory Hood, 26, is 25 weeks pregnant and is expecting a baby girl named Charlotte with her husband of two years, Josh.
"Everyone is very excited -- We are the first great-grandchild on both sides of the family," she said. "I just can't wait to see a miniature version of ourselves and see our personality blended together and see what's that like in a child."
Life skills teacher Tiffany Absher, 31, is expecting her third child with her husband of eight years, Zachary, who she met during her freshman year math class with then teacher Doug Gresham, who is now the principal -- they are already parents to 5-year-old Cruze and 3-year-old Raelynn.
"With this being my third child, we are going to be surprised with the gender," Absher said.
Math teacher Ziliak, 34, was expecting her second child with her husband Jared, with a scheduled for a caesarean section (c-section) on Dec. 27; however, she ended up giving birth to her second child, Jackson, on Dec. 16. Jackson is now an older brother to four-and-a-half-year-old James.
Although each teacher loves her profession, just like most soon-to-be-mothers, they have experienced some changes in the workplace due to their pregnancies
"My biggest thing is mommy brain," Hood said. "I have been mixing up so many more Spanish names that I normally would have. Sometimes I will swap a name or blank on one or just say a completely wrong one."
For Richison, getting to her classroom on the second floor can seem like a marathon.
"My classroom is upstairs so, I am at least getting the exercise of the stairs every day," she said. "But there are some days that by the time I get to the top of the stairs, I am winded."
Richison said she has also had to adjust her teaching style a bit to accommodate her growing baby bump.
"I usually stand and use a document camera, but I sat today and wrote," she said. "Today is the first day that I actually like paused in the middle of trig, put my pencil down and was like, 'Hold on guys.' [My baby] had pushed her butt so far out, that I couldn't breathe, I couldn't write. I had to just sit there and kind of coax her back inside more."
Hood said she and Moore, who sponsor student council together, had a harder time than usual setting up for Castle's annual holiday dance, "Santa Switch."
"I thought decorating was ten times harder than actual Santa Switch," she said. "It was exhausting on both of us."
Moore said cleaning up after Santa Switch really wore her out as well.
"We're like sweeping up and cleaning up and so I get home and sat down on my bed and then ten minutes later, I tried to get up and go to the bathroom and you know, function as a human," she said, "and I got up and my hip went out and I collapsed to the ground slowly and I'm like, 'I'm going to the floor now,' and like crawled to the bathroom. That would not have happened last year."
Hood and Moore both agree that the hardest part of balancing motherhood with being a teacher is finding the right day care.
"Day care is the hardest thing for teachers because a lot of places will still make you pay a rate for the summer," Moore said. "Or they won't hold your spot for the fall. But you kind of have to factor that in financially when you have a baby."
Instead of the usual daycare route, Richison is going to try and have her husband — who works from home — and her mom, watch her daughter.
"I am actually kind of sad because she's obviously going to become a daddy's girl, she's gonna become a grandmothers girl -- she's not going to be my girl."
The teachers also all shared some concerns about not being there for their students while they are at home on maternity leave.
"I have dual credit classes too so my big concern is that the kids are being held accountable to the level that they need to be -- what am I going to come back too," Richison said. "I will probably be freaking out until the moment I am holding her. And then I might forget about school, but the thought of it is really stressful."
For new moms, Richison, Hood and Moore, they all said they are looking forward to the precious moment when they have skin-to-skin contact with their little ones for the first time.
"I am just super excited about the fact that physically we are able to do this and she is mine," Richison said, "And as fun as it is to hold your niece and nephew, this is not even going to compare."