Iowa Mom: I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant Until Three Hours Before I Gave Birth

Stephanie Hughes
Stephanie Hughes with her new baby baby is Ames Unity Hughes. Courtesy of Christian Hughes

Stephanie Hughes used to watch TLC’s I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant and think, “There is no way that could ever happen to me.”

And then it did.

On Friday, August 26, Hughes went to the hospital with bleeding and excruciating cramps. “I thought it was a bad period,” she tells Us Weekly. Less than three hours later, she welcomed a 6-pound, 13-ounce baby girl named Ames Unity Hughes, via C-section at UnityPoint Health Trinity Regional Medical Center in Fort Dodge, Iowa. 

“I never had any cravings. I never got sick. I was still wearing my regular clothes,” the 36-year-old tells Us. “I had no signs of pregnancy.” 

The Iowa-based office worker and her husband of 12 years, Christian Hughes, are also parents of son Carmelo, 11. Christian has two children from a previous marriage, Derek Hughes, 29, and 33-year-old Leslie Hughes, who was on Sean Lowe’s season 17 of The Bachelor.

Ames Unity Hughes
Ames Unity Hughes Courtesy of Christian Hughes

“Leslie was here just two weeks before I gave birth, and she thought it looked like I’d lost weight,” Stephanie tells Us. “My mom just thought I’d gained in the hips.”

Leslie Hughes and Sean Lowe on ‘The Bachelor.’
Leslie Hughes and Sean Lowe on ‘The Bachelor.’ Rick Rowell/ABC via Getty Images

Stephanie knows she will face public backlash for not realizing that she carried a full-term pregnancy, but she believes this could happen to anyone. “People ask me, ‘Didn’t you ever feel a kick?’ And no, not like with my son,” she explains. “My husband even asked me if I felt her move. When I was pregnant with my son, I could see him put his foot across my belly. With Carmelo I was emotional. I had heartburn.”

Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine, has seen many cases like Hughes’. “Many of the women in this category are heavy and don’t notice the extra weight,” Dr. Minkin tells Us. “Some of them have what is called an anterior placenta … and this sort of shields kicks that they might otherwise feel.”  

Carmelo, Christian and Stephanie Hughes
Carmelo, Christian and Stephanie Hughes Courtesy of Christian Hughes

Meanwhile, though Stephanie and Christian, 54, were not planning for baby No. 2, they are are smitten with their newborn, who is being monitored at Blank Children’s Hospital for low oxygen levels and a stomach infection. “I didn’t realize how fast I fell in love with her until the moment I found out that something was wrong, and I broke down and started crying,” Christian tells Us. “It’s been five days now and we’re still waiting to get her home. I wish that day would get here so we can show her how much we love her.”

Leslie Hughes set up a YouCaring page to help raise funds for Ames’ care and baby essentials such as diapers, a crib and a car seat. 

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