The Stuff Nightmares are Made Of

The other day I was reading the newspaper and came across a story that made my blood run cold. It’s the kind of thing that you like to believe doesn’t really happen.

On New Year’s Eve Juanita Stead of Port de Grave, Newfoundland went into the hospital because she was having abdominal pains. She thought it was kidney stones. Actually, though, it was labour. Shortly thereafter baby Nicholas was born, breech no less, weighing a healthy 7lbs, 12oz. Juanita hadn’t even realized that she was pregnant. You can read all the details yourself here and here.

It’s hard to get your head around this. How can you not know you’re pregnant? I realize that the mom in this story is a larger woman, and didn’t gain any weight with the pregnancy, but this wasn’t even her first baby. Having two kids of my own, I seem to remember that being kicked constantly from the inside was rather noticeable. Even if you missed the various other symptoms, surely that would trigger some alarm, right? I want to believe that it would, because being pregnant and not knowing it is my secret irrational fear.

I know several moms who have gone some time without realizing they were pregnant. Like 5 or 6 months, but eventually, and well in advance of labour, something twigged and they realized what was what. In those cases they were breastfeeding older babies, and managed to conceive without getting their regular cycles back. I can see how that would happen. How you would go in for a dating ultrasound after you find out you’re pregnant and discover you’re actually 24 weeks along. But full-term?

All that I can say is God Bless you, Juanita Stead. And I hope you will understand if your story gives me nightmares. 🙂

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  1. I have to agree that I don’t see how anyone can be pregnant, go full term, and only find out once she has gone into labour. But I doubt you or I would ever have to worry about that happening 🙂

    Becoming pregnant and being 4 or 5 months along…THAT I could see and frankly, that gives ME chills!!!

  2. I know someone who had 2 kids, and discovered she was pregnant with her 3rd whe he kicked her while she was in the shower – turned out she was 5.5 months along! She said her cycle had always been irregular, and she was very busy that year, so somehow just didn’t notice!!

  3. If you are so large that you can’t even tell you’re pregnant…it might be a sign that you need to reduce your calorie consumption.

  4. The other day I was looking wistfully at the receptionist at my dentist’s office, who is very thin. I watched her walk down the hall and thought about how I would never look like that again thanks to the damage wrought on my body by my beautiful children. And then I found out she is pregnant, and not just a little bit, 7 months.

    Especially if you’re taller, it’s not always as obvious just by looking. It’s the complete lack of other physical symptoms that blows me away.

  5. True story of a friend I went to high school with. She, like Juanita, was also a hefty girl. We’d run into each other during the Summer before I left for university and she looked exactly the same. Fast forward about 3 months and she went to the hospital with back pains so severe she too thought it was gall-bladder or kidney-stone related. She gave birth within minutes of arriving without even knowing she was pregnant. She later said that the ‘kicking’ she summed up to being gas (you all know the bad ones that even your coworkers look at you sideways with concern after too much fibre!). And she was still having her usual all-over-the-board periods, so she didn’t think anything of how scant they were or erratic.
    Only because of her do I believe Juanita’s story, because I can honestly say I know of one other person with a similar result…a surprised but very happy mother of a now 20 year old!

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  1. […] always had something of an odd fear of being pregnant and not knowing it. Long before they made a TV show dedicated to the phenomenon (a show I have never seen, by the way, […]

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