Forget decorating the nursery, Amanda Francis didn’t even have time to buy diapers. On July 20, the 26-year-old, who believed she was eight weeks pregnant, rushed to the emergency room with spotting and what she thought were excruciating cramps. “I thought I was having a miscarriage,” Francis tells Us Weekly.
“When I got to the hospital they informed me that I was actually eight months along and in labor,” the Rocky Hill, Connecticut–based pastry chef tells Us. “I had no idea.”
Ten hours later, she welcomed Kellin, a 4 pound, 3 ounce baby boy, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
The phenomenon of women not realizing they are pregnant or how just far along they are is called cryptic pregnancy, and according to one German study it occurs 1 in 2,500 pregnancies. “Many of the women in this category are heavy and don’t notice the extra weight,” Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine, told Us previously. “Some of them have what is called an anterior placenta … and this sort of shields kicks that they might otherwise feel.”
Francis visited a doctor, who she says confirmed her pregnancy with a blood test and told her she was 8 weeks along, just one day before going into labor. An ultrasound at the hospital showed she was actually 8 months pregnant.
Francis says her only real symptom that she was pregnant was a missed period — and six pregnancy tests all showed negative results. “I was nauseous for about two weeks in December and I thought it was just a stomach bug because everyone at work seemed to be getting sick too,” she tells Us. Francis also notes that she experienced no noticeable weight gain: “I was in my skinniest jeans just two weeks before giving birth.”
Over the course of her pregnancy, Francis fell down a flight of stairs, lifted heavy buckets of frosting at work and sat for a five-hour tattoo session. During her third trimester she even went rock climbing in Virginia, where she noticed her feet were swollen but chalked it up to the high-altitude. “I’d go to concerts,” get three hours of sleep and then go to work,” she says. “Luckily I had an aversion to alcohol while I was pregnant so I didn’t drink a lot.”
Though Francis considered placing her son for adoption she changed her mind as soon as soon as she held the newborn in her arms. “My maternal instinct kicked in,” she tells Us. “I couldn’t let go.”
Since Kellin was born prematurely, he spent 20 days in the NICU with heart and breathing issues. But today, “he’s a monster with eating!” says Francis. “He’s more than tripled his birth weight.”
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