Surprise birth. Just hearing those two words together will make anyone of child-bearing years and ability feel faint. There is no better way to prank a single friend then to take her out for drinks, wait until she has her drink right up to her lips and then blurt out, “You know, some women don’t know they’re pregnant until the baby is on its way out of the birth canal.” But we are finding out that surprise births are not just a fun way to get your friend to spit out her gin and tonic. They are more common than we’d like to think.
We’d like to think that it doesn’t happen at all, but a German study found that it could occur in one in about a thousand births. A thousand is not that high of a number. Higher end televisions cost about that much. Although not rare enough for comfort, they are still rare enough to make a big deal out of. A quick web search will come up with countless news stories, parenting magazine articles, and baby and birth board posts. There’s even a popular TLC show called “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.” These tales are popular because we all wonder just how anyone could ever not notice they were pregnant. Also, we find it heartwarming to hear these stories of women who fall immediately in love with a baby she didn’t even know about.
15 A Baby? But They Weren’t Pregnant!
Andrea and Brad were busy chasing after Tyler, who was going through his terrible twos. Andrea blamed her weight gain and exhaustion on the stress of raising a toddler. She thought her back pain was from playing on floor. One day the pains got worse, and she couldn’t finish reading bedtime story to Tyler. She went to the bathroom, thinking she was constipated. When she stood up, she was horrified to see a large amount of blood in the toilet. She thought she was having organ failure. She called her mother, Debbie, to watch Tyler, but Brad didn’t want to wait. He called an ambulance. The 9-11 operator suggested it might be a miscarriage. Brad and Andrea were shocked. A miscarriage? But they weren’t pregnant!
Debbie followed the ambulance in her car while Brad watched Tyler. In the ambulance, Andrea said she felt like something was coming out, so the paramedic told her to push. She did, and there was even more blood. After another push, the paramedic saw the baby’s head. She told Andrea that she wasn’t having a miscarriage. She was having a baby. The ambulance pulled over, the driver got out and came into the back to help with the delivery. Andrea’s mother pulled over, but was too afraid to approach the ambulance doors, so she just stood there, in the cold on the side of the road, staring at the ambulance, worrying about her daughter.
The scene inside the ambulance was tense. The cord was prolapsed, which meant that it coming out ahead of the baby. A couple pushes later, though, and the baby came out crying. They swaddled him in a warming blanket to protect him from the frigid cold. The paramedic jumped out, so he could get the pair to the hospital where they could stay war. He saw Debbie and yelled “It’s a boy!” She immediately called Brad.
As soon as the baby was born, Andrea repeated over and over, “Is he okay? Is he okay?” Despite not having prenatal care, the baby was born past term at 8 lbs 6 oz. When Tyler met his little brother, he said “Oh Mommy! He’s cute. Can I pet him?” Brad cried tears of joy and named his son Alex.
14 Miracle in a Streak of Bad Luck
Chelsea was sixteen and living in Spain when she fell off a ladder and slipped a disc, after having been diagnosed with scoliosis just one year prior. The pain was acute. She was prescribed pain killers, but they didn’t help. At one point, the only comfortable place she could find to sit was toilet. She sat there and knew something was not right. She reached down and felt the baby crowning. She screamed. Her brother rushed in and caught baby just in time. Something was wrong. The baby wasn’t crying. Mom cleared the baby’s nose and mouth, coaxing a cry out of him. The paramedics arrived and were surprised to see Chelsea still on her feet. Nurses called him the miracle baby. They stayed in hospital for four days while the mom and brother asked friends and neighbors for donations of old baby supplies. The community was supportive of Chelsea and her miracle baby who she named Lorenzo and called "the most amazing little boy ever.”
13 Awkward Cabin In The Woods Delivery
Jennifer and Dan were not planning on having a baby for a few years when they went to a cabin with some friends for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Jennifer was feeling too bad to go and watch the fireworks. She thought she was having a very, very, VERY bad period, but Dan could tell something was wrong and took her to the hospital.
Jen was afraid that she might have fibroids again, and got an ultrasound. Soon after, a nurse told her that she was dilated eight centimeters. She spent the next two centimeters listening very closely to everything the doctors and nurses said and was grateful when her mother-in-law arrived to give her some last-second pointers on pushing.
A tipped uterus might have caused her to not notice fetal movement, and Jennifer’s medical issues, like stomach ulcers and fibroids, gave her reasons to ignore some of her pregnancy symptoms like heartburn and irregular periods. She’d even written off her 20 pound weight gain as just something that happens to women in their thirties. Despite the earth-shattering way he came into the world, Jen instantly fell in love with her eight pound baby boy. The couple took him back to the cabin in the woods where he slept in a dresser drawer until they could procure him a proper crib.
12 Kicked Out Of The Convent
A Salvadoran nun from convent near Rome had been having stomach pains all afternoon. Finally, an ambulance was called to take her to the hospital. Once there, doctors asked the young nun if she could possibly be pregnant. She said that of course she couldn’t be pregnant because she was a nun. But she was, and the 7.7 pound baby soon arrived. She named him Francesco, after the pope.
The church offered to help her financially, and the community came together with gifts of diapers, cash and clothes. Although she wrote a letter to her mother superior apologizing, she was kicked out of her convent. She didn’t mind, though, telling her social worker, “I am so happy. I feel more of a mother than a nun, I think that's obvious. I decided to call him Francis in honor of our wonderful South American Pope. I do not feel of guilt. I will be keeping him and bringing him up.”
11 While in the Wild The Baby Fell Out...
Emily and Levi were a young active couple who loved to go hiking and camping. One weekend, they decided to go to Mauthe Lake, a remote Campground in Wisconsin, even though Emily was feeling tired, and her feet were swollen. Levi noticed that something was wrong when he saw her writhing in pain in the tent. Thinking she was just very constipated, Emily went into the campground bathroom. It was one of those big, deep hole-in-the-ground type toilets. Emily sat down. She felt like there was “something sticking out of her.” She yelled for Levi. He ran in, and looked. He was horrified. He thought he was looking at her intestines. He ran out to try to get a phone signal in the remote area, so he could call an ambulance.
Emily was also terrified. When her water broke, she realized what was happening, but it was too late. The baby fell out and hit its head on the ground. Levi came in, saw the scene and ran back outside, screaming for help. Luckily, there happened to be a nurse at the campground. Angie heard the calls for help, ran into the bathroom to find a blue baby lying on the ground. She cleared the airway and worked on the baby until she finally started breathing. Then she noticed the baby’s umbilical cord had broken and the baby’s head was swollen from where it hit the floor. She wasn’t sure if the baby was going to make it. Finally the ambulance arrived and rushed mother and baby to the hospital. Emily was thrilled when the emergency NICU team told her that her daughter was healthy and would recover from her dramatic birth. Paramedics credit Angie with saving the baby’s life.
Soon after their ordeal, Levi proposed and Emily accepted.
10 Pizza Baby
After their first child, April and Ronnie decided to hold off on having more kids, so April had a birth control device inserted under the skin of her arm. She was thrilled that one side effect was no more period. After the holidays, she was eating some frozen pizza that had been in the freezer for some time. She immediately felt very ill. She told Ronnie not to eat the pizza. Later in the night, her abdominal pain was much worse—worse than she’d felt during labor with her daughter. Convinced she had food poisoning, she drove herself to the hospital, while Ronnie stayed at home with their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Amanda.
At the hospital, the doctors did a test and told April she was pregnant and in labor. The L&D staff put her feet up, and broke her water. A few pushes later, the baby arrived, but they wouldn’t let April hold her. Scared and alone, April called Ronnie and told him that something was very wrong. When he showed up, the nurse asked if his wife was the one in labor, he said, “No. Not that one.” The baby, Emily, was born at 34 weeks, premature, a little jaundiced, but otherwise fine, and she soon recovered.
9 Wake Up Call
Siobhan went home sick from work. She assumed that she’d gotten the stomach bug that had been going around. At home, her mom, a nurse, told her to go straight to bed. She did, and was woken every few minutes with searing pain. She would go to sleep, wake up from the pain, and then go back to sleep. Finally she woke up, and heard a faint, gasping sound. She looked down at the bed and was completely shocked to see a baby, lying there on the blankets.
Her mother came running in. Her nurse instincts kicking in, she noticed that the baby seemed fine, but that something was very wrong with her daughter. Siobhan was treated at the hospital for preeclampsia while all the time worrying about the sushi she ate and asking if the doctors and nurses were sure her baby was okay. She was still in shock. She’d had a pregnancy scare a few months back with her ex-boyfriend, but the test had come back negative, and she’d gotten her period. When she first held Alfie, her perfectly healthy baby boy, she felt a rush of love. Her friends and neighbors felt the love as well, and they rallied around her, bringing gifts and well-wishes to the new little family.
8 Google It
Twenty-one-year old Terri-Anne was a club kid still performing in her high-energy dance troupe in her ninth month of pregnancy, but she didn’t know it. She was having fun being young. She went out partying with her twenty-two-year-old boyfriend, Jack, and told her mother that she would never get any grandchildren from her. Then, one day she was having serious back pains, and found that the only comfortable place for her to sit was the toilet. When her body got the urge to push, she thought it was so strange, she did a web search. The Internet told her that she was in labor. She ran into her mother’s room. Her mother didn’t understand. She thought that Teri-Anne was trying to tell her that she just found out that she was pregnant. “No! I’m having the baby, now!”
Her mother called an ambulance. Soon, Teri-Anne was lying on a triage cot. She felt something between her legs. She looked down and saw a baby lying on the sheets. At first, she refused to hold him because she was going to put him up for adoption. In fact, if she’d known about him, she said she would’ve gotten an abortion. When she finally held Jacob, she fell instantly and completely in love, and since then, she’s never let go. She moved in with her boyfriend and the two unlikely parents almost immediately started planning baby number two.
7 Second Surprise
Amanda was no stranger to surprise pregnancy. She didn’t know she was pregnant with her first son, Benjamin, until well into her fifth month. Eleven years later, She and her husband Paul were taking a no stress attitude to fertility. They figured if she got pregnant, great, if not? Oh well. She had no pregnancy symptoms except for a “weird feeling,” but she took several pregnancy tests over the course of her pregnancy, and they all came back negative. She’d gained a few pounds, but just a few—she was still wearing a bikini to the pool.
One night, Paul took her to the hospital because she was experiencing pain so bad, she thought for sure that her appendix had burst. The hospital gave her a CT scan, realized what was going on and then immediately sent to another hospital for an L & D team because they didn’t have a birthing at that facility. The team broke her water, and the baby came right away. Amanda was shocked. She couldn’t believe she didn’t have a crib ready for little McKinlee. Benjamin called his friends to tell them, and they all thought he was pranking them.
6 Was That a Baby I Just Felt?
While attending a concert, Jarryd put his arms around his girlfriend, Abby. With his hands on her stomach, he felt the undeniably kick of a little foot. He told her he was sure she was pregnant. They went to see an obstetrician, who was surprised that someone as thin as Abby hadn’t noticed any kicking because she was 32 weeks along. Abby had felt some “gurgling,” but no kicking or any other symptoms.
The symptoms she had noticed were easily explained. She assumed her rumbling tummy was part of her lactose intolerance. She was having irregular periods, but they’d never really been regular. Despite the shock, the couple sprang into action, getting a nursery ready. They needed to set up a Go Fund Page to cover baby things and travelling expenses from California to Jarryd’s home country of Australia while they worked out Jarryd’s visa. Although they weren’t quite ready for him, the parents were thrilled to welcome little Isaiah into the world, no matter which country he landed in.
5 Cancer Scare
Michelle was told that she had polycystic ovary syndrome and could never have children. After a few missed periods, she took a home pregnancy test, and it came out positive. She thought it must have been a false positive, so she looked it up on the web. What she read terrified her. She might have cancer. She went to her doctor, and he said that she was indeed pregnant. She went home, planning on seeing an obstetrician soon.
Two days later, she was awoken with what felt like very bad gas pains. She called her very good friend Dana, and he drove her to the hospital. Once there, they did an ultrasound. The technician told Michelle that she was 30 weeks pregnant. Michelle looked at the screen, shocked to see a fully-formed baby. She immediately felt painful contractions. They gave her an epidural, but it didn’t work, so she got another epidural. Michelle’s blood pressure dropped along with baby’s heartbeat, and she was taken for an emergency C-section. Little baby Lily was premature and in need of immediate care. She stayed in the hospital for over a month before she went home with her mother, who had immediately fallen in love with her, as had her friend Dana, who was now much more than a friend.
4 Later in Life Surprise
Judy and Jason had always taken the attitude that if pregnancy happened, it happened. But it didn’t. Not in twenty-two years of marriage. At forty-seven, Judy’s period wasn’t regular, which she assumed was normal for a woman of her age. Even her weight gain, she attributed to getting older. She looked in the mirror and thought, “I’m turning into my mother.”
When she went to the hospital with severe abdominal pains, the doctors checked her for a blockage, and they found something much better. A baby and she was coming right now! The couple had to borrow a bassinet and a car seat from friends to bring the healthy 8 lb baby girl they named Carolyn home. Judy and Jason fell instantly in love with their little surprise, but their attitude about pregnancy changed. Jason vowed to have a vasectomy as soon as possible.
3 Having To Hide The Pregnancy
Forty-two year old mother of four, Tracey was feeling stressed. Her seventeen-year-old son was competing in a National jiu-jitsu competition, and her oldest daughter had just given birth. While cheering on her son, the new grandmother felt some strange gurgling in her abdomen, but she attributed it to her celiac disease. She certainly wouldn’t suspect that another son was kicking along with his brother; she’d been diagnosed with early menopause two years prior.
Once home, she called her doctor. He was concerned and asked her to come in for tests. The tests revealed that she was 31 weeks pregnant. She was afraid to tell her children. She thought they might not take the news well, but they were overjoyed and the whole family came together and got the nursery ready for the baby while Tracey was on bed rest for the next six weeks with high blood pressure concerns. Tracey ended up getting an emergency c-section because of her high blood pressure and the fact that the nearly ten pound baby was moving up, not down, to prepare for birth. Though once, little (or not so little) Noah arrived, he was healthy and happy and the family seemed complete.
2 Marathon Baby
Trish was busy training for a half-marathon. After a ten-mile training run, she was experiencing serious pain, so severe, she screamed. She thought she was dying. Her family called an ambulance, thinking she’d burst an appendix. When the nurse told her that she detected a faint heartbeat, she was shocked! She’d been getting her period, and on top of that her husband, John, had had a vasectomy. How could there be a baby? The couple already had seven kids! But there was a baby. She’d been there for eight months. The baby girl was born healthy at 6 pounds and 6 oz. John was shocked when the nurse took him in to see the baby, but he was thrilled. Trish started calling her Mira, short for Miracle.
1 Helicopter Rescue
Amanda and her husband were trying to have a baby for four years with no luck. She didn’t think her bad luck streak had ended when she missed a few periods, though. Her periods had always been irregular, and after her mother’s death, she was so stressed, she didn’t expect them to run on time. She’d been drinking a little too much soda, which she assumed caused her to gain ten pounds. One day, her husband came home from a hunting trip, to find a horrifying scene. His wife was unconscious on the bed and had bitten her tongue during a seizure hard enough that there was a pool of blood on the floor. He rushed her to a hospital in their hometown of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.
Doctors were determined that she needed to be airlifted to the Vanderbilt facility in Nashville, which was better equipped to deal with her complicated condition. Amanda woke two days later to find that she’d had a baby. Her first thought was of her daughter’s safety. The baby, Aleanna, was born via c-section, and Amanda stayed in intensive care for five days while being treated for the eclampsia that had caused her seizure. Amanda said she used to watch TLC’s I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant with a skeptical eye, thinking, “They've gotta know; they've gotta know” But since the birth of her daughter, she knows…sometimes you just don’t know.