When a woman discovers that she is expecting a baby, one of the first things she tends to do after sharing the news with those she is closest to is she starts educating herself. Today there are multiple books and other resources to guide a mom-to-be when it comes to what to expect during a pregnancy. While it is assumed that we are all built the same and therefore will go through the same experiences as we go through each trimester and then deliver, the truth is that pregnancy can be different from person to person.
In the first month of pregnancy the embryo grows and develops within the lining of the womb. By week 6 the heart can sometimes be seen beating on a vaginal ultrasound scan. During the second trimester typically symptoms such as nausea and mood swings subside, which is why many people refer to it as the “honeymoon period” of pregnancy. Of course, in the third and final trimester, a pregnant woman gains a lot more weight and can become uncomfortable as she prepares for baby’s arrival. There are cases where these phases (trimesters) are interrupted by complications or surprises. The reality is, couples can plan as much as they want, but sometimes Mother Nature takes over and things don’t go exactly as expected. In some cases what happens can seem unreal. As many obstetricians have said: “Nature doesn’t lie” and “There are some things we just don’t have control over”.
Here are 15 pregnancy stories that are unbelievable but true:
15 Grandmother Surrogate
Sara Connell had what she calls her “miracle” baby back in 2005. The Chicago resident and her husband had decided they wanted to start a family; however, she soon learned that she wasn’t ovulating so they underwent fertility treatments. Sadly Connell delivered stillborn twins and after that became pregnant again, but suffered a miscarriage. Her own mother who could see her daughter’s strong determination to have a child stepped in. At 61-years-old, Kristine Casey offered to try to serve as a surrogate mother for her daughter’s baby. Casey’s husband had reservations – he was worried about his wife’s well being. The family forged ahead and Kristine Casey went through a battery of tests, eventually getting cleared for postmenopausal birth.
Giving birth to her grandchild garnered a lot of attention at the time from local press. In a Chicago Tribune article Kristine Casey was quoted saying, “ Three of the happiest days of my life were giving birth to my daughters, and I thought I could choose to do this for someone I love.”
14 Cryptic Pregnancy
As outlined earlier, typically women experience a specific set of symptoms and stages as a baby grows inside of them, but what happens when there are no symptoms of pregnancy? Believe it or not, people can be pregnant and not realize it because they don’t experience symptoms. It happened to a Massachusetts woman last year. Katie Kropas went to her local emergency room complaining of severe back pain and about an hour later she gave birth to a 10-pound baby girl. She was told at 10:15 that she had a full term baby inside her and by 11:06 she had her baby.
One British study suggests that this phenomenon, called cryptic pregnancy actually occurs more than you might think – about one in every 2,500 pregnancies. Experts say a number of factors could be at play. Some women experience minimal symptoms and fluff it off as the flu, some women have irregular menstrual cycles and can actually experience menstruation during a pregnancy, weight gain during pregnancy can be less noticeable in those who are overweigh, as well the effects of stress and denial could be a factor.
13 Different Colour Twins
I know what your thinking – impossible right? Well, it is possible according to medical scientists. People can give birth to twins that are different skin colors in cases where the parents are different races. Earlier this year, Amelia and Jasmine were born in the UK. They are identical twins, but one is white and one is black. As you can see from the picture above, Amelia has dark skin, black eyes and brown hair like her dad, while Jasmine is fair skinned and blue-eye like mom. The girls are what doctors refer to as monozygotic twins. This means they developed from the same zygote that then split and formed into two embryos. Monozygotic twins share the same blood groups and genetic make up. They closely resemble each other and are always the same sex. There are other sets of twins just like Amelia and Jasmine living in the UK, there are also many in the United States.
12 Elderly And Pregnant
To become pregnant a woman’s body must release an egg from one of her ovaries, a man’s sperm must join with the egg along the way and the fertilized egg must travel through the fallopian tube toward the uterus. Once a woman goes through menopause she can stop ovulating or she can ovulate much less frequently, thus making it very difficult to conceive. Fertility is dependent on other factors besides ovulation, including fluctuations in hormones and the fertility of the partner. Still, if a woman is generally healthy and willing, there is the possibility of having a baby much later in life. Daljinder Kaur is proof of this. She is in her early 70’s and this year she gave birth to a son named Arman in India. For a number of years Kaur and her husband, Mohinder Singh Gill tried, but were unsuccessful in getting pregnant. They underwent two years of IVF treatment and Arman, which means “wish” in Hindi was conceived. Just when we thought this was unbelievable, Kaur has said that they hope to have another child.
11 Precipitous Labor
Every woman’s dream is to have a quick labor; one that involves a minimal amount of pain. Sometimes people experience several hours or even days of labor, while others are fortunate enough to have a quick and relatively easy delivery. There are also people who have something called “precipitous labor”. This happens when less than an hour passes between the time a woman feels as if she is going into labor and the baby is in fact born. One American woman reported that a couple years ago she felt twinges that she thought could be early labor, but her water didn't break so initially she thought nothing of it. Minutes later she was in excruciating pain and told her husband she didn’t think she could make it to the hospital. They decided to try to set up a birthing area in the master bedroom, but by the time the mother-to-be made her way over to the bed the baby was crowning. It is unclear was causes precipitous labor but in most cases it occurs with women who have had children before.
10 Extreme Cravings
Most of us have heard stories about pregnant woman with food cravings. Some of the common cravings include, pickles, potato chips, and ice cream. Some doctors will say that cravings are not real; that they are more psychological or in some cases, an excuse to overindulge. Other medical experts believe that the strong urge to eat a specific food when pregnant occurs due to hormonal changes that can significantly alter taste and smell. There are situations where extreme cravings come into play. For example, although most women who experience this will hide it out of embarrassment, there are those who crave dirt or chalk when they are pregnant. There is even a name for this type of craving - its called “pica”. Some experts theorize that it is caused by a mineral deficiency, such as iron. The other theory is that it has something to do with obsessive - compulsive disorder.
9 Heteropaternal Superfecundation
When someone finds out they are pregnant it can be such a joyful experience. Sometimes that joy is even more intensified when a couple learns that they are expecting twins. People with twins have reported that they were both elated and overwhelmed when they received the news. After all, there is a lot to think about when you know you are going to have two at the same time. Now imagine that delivery day comes and you notice that the twins don’t look anything alike and that one of the babes doesn’t look like your current partner. Heteropaternal Superfecundation is when a woman becomes pregnant with twins from two different partners. This happened to a U.S couple not long ago. The mother admitted to having an affair and being with both her lover and her husband within a short span of time. Doctors say this is extremely rare, but a second egg can be released and fertilized.
8 Pregnant & Brutally Attacked
All those involved in this pregnant woman’s story say, to call it unbelievable would be an “understatement”, but the truth is that it really did happen. In 2012 a young Detroit woman who was about 8 months pregnant, was returning home when she was grabbed just outside her garage at gunpoint, kidnapped, set on fire, shot, and left for dead. Miraculously she and her baby survived. Someone Laytona Bowman was able to make her way to her mother’s home and then was rushed to the hospital where she underwent a C-section to save her baby. From that point the doctors focused on treating her. During media coverage of this horrible incident, Bowman’s mother told television reporters that her daughter was able to play dead after being shot in the back and being set on fire. Laytona Bowman’s ex boyfriend and another man were charged with assault with the intent to murder. They were later convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
7 5-year-old Mother
Back in 1939 a Peruvian couple, rushed their 5-year-old daughter off to the local hospital concerned about her bloated belly and abdominal pain. At the time they reported being worried that their little girl might have a horrible disease. Upon examination it was discovered that Lina Medina was eight months pregnant. The news shocked not only Peru, but the world as Lina became the youngest person in the world to give birth. Five-year-old Lina said she had no idea how she became pregnant and while at one point police were investigating her father for possible child sexual assault, they never did find enough evidence to charge him. Sadly, Lina's son, Gerardo died at the age of 40 from a bone marrow disease. Following the birth of Gerardo, Lina's mother admitted to doctors that her daughter started menstruating at the age of eight months and developed breasts at around four years of age.
This is not to be confused with Heteropaternal Superfecundation. With Superfecundation, two sperm from two different men within the same week has led to a woman with twins from different dads. Superfetation means a pregnant woman releases an egg a few weeks into her pregnancy and that second egg is fertilized. The woman is then pregnant with two babies at the same time, but the babies are in fact different ages. According to the Journal of American Medicine this is extremely rare, but possible. In 2006 a woman in Arkansas was expecting a girl, but during her second trimester she went for a check-up and during an ultrasound discovered that there was another fetus, which turned out to be a boy. The kids are not considered twins. Today they are healthy, active and reported to be enjoying grade school.
5 Leap Year Baby
There is nothing surprising about giving birth to a leap year baby. Being a leap year baby is no picnic as many will say. Some online application forms seem to contend that leap day doesn’t exist. There are instances where official insurance forms document the wrong birthday and of course if you are a leap year baby, well you get ripped off when it comes to celebrating birthdays. The fourth year (leap year) has 366 days. The probability of having a leap day birthday works out to one is every 1,461. This means less than 0.07 percent of the world’s population was born on a leap day. Only 205,000 people in the United States have a birthday on February 29th, three of them live in Utah and what is so unbelievable is that they all have the same mother. Yes, a Utah woman who is mother to five kids has three children that were born on leap day. The woman and her husband still do whatever they can to make each child’s birthday special.
4 Pregnant Man
The subject of transgender individuals or transitioning no longer seems taboo. People like former Olympian, Bruce Jenner have helped bring the subject of transitioning from one sex to another to the forefront. The subject of transgender pregnancy is a whole other story. In 2008 though, Tom Beattie made headlines around the globe when he became the first pregnant man. Beattie was in fact born female and started hormone treatment to become a man when he was about 23-years-old. Although he had his breasts removed, he kept his reproductive organs and thus with the help of modern medicine was still able to give birth. He has actually given birth to three children. Although he is divorced from the mother of his children, he remarried last summer. Today Tom Beattie is known as a public speaker and advocate of transgender and sexuality issues. His focus is transgender fertility and reproductive rights.
3 Abandoned During Labor
We are all familiar with stories of women going into labor in what you would call, inconvenient places. There have been situations where babies have been born on planes, on trains, buses, in gas station washrooms and other public places. More than a few times, cab drivers have been witness to women giving birth in their vehicles, but one cabbie would have no part of the miracle of life. When the driver picked up Ana Belis Hernandez in Teguciglpa, Honduras and soon realized she was in labor, he pulled over the car and forced her to get out. He told Hernandez he didn’t want to get any blood on his car. The worst part is that he didn’t stay with her once she got out of the car – he left her lying alone by the side of the road, where she gave birth to a baby girl on her own.
2 Double Uterus
A woman living near Wales wanted to start a family but didn’t think she could conceive. She was about to begin fertility treatment and then received some surprising news – she was 7 weeks pregnant. The woman was afraid she would never become pregnant because she has two wombs. According to the Mayo Clinic, a double Uterus is a “rare congenital abnormality”. As a fetus develops, the uterus, which is two small tubes, normally join to create one large hollow space for a baby to thrive. There are rare occasions when the tubes do not join completely and instead they develop as separate organs (uterus). Someone who has a double uterus may have one cervix or each uterine cavity may have its own cervix. Although women with a double uterus can become pregnant, the abnormality does increase the risk of premature birth and miscarriages.
1 Reborn Giving Birth
This one will certainly go down in the book of miracles. An English teacher in Missouri City was very excited about the upcoming birth of her baby, but medical officials say she was “dead” when she gave birth. Today Erica Nigrelli is alive. Say what? As the true story goes, Nigrelli who was 36 weeks pregnant at the time, collapsed at the High School where she worked. She was rescued by co-workers who administered CPR and kept her breathing until emergency officials arrived on scene. Unfortunately, her heart stopped once she got to the hospital and doctors delivered the baby when Erica was clinically dead. They then managed to revive the mother who it turns out was suffering from a thickened heart muscle. The baby was a little early, but today she is a healthy, happy little girl.
There are many more situations that are unbelievable or unusual, but we should be able to keep them all in perspective. After all, in the grand scheme of things, these unreal cases are really rather rare when you think of the number of babies that are brought into the world every day. The majority of pregnancies and deliveries are typical so the chances of going through what some of the women we’ve described here have gone through is not that likely.
UNICEF estimates that that an average of 353,000 babies are born each day around the globe. Our current world population is about 7.2 billion people and growing. Those who have had an unusual pregnancy or labor may have been surprised or challenged at the time, but many are now willing to share those stories with the world and appreciate their experience since in the end, it did bring them their precious baby.