A 24-year-old woman steps into the shower due to stomach pains and emerges with a newborn baby in tow. That is the story of Brittany Young who believed she was only 12 weeks pregnant. Young’s story is not an isolated incident. There have been many stories of women who did not know they were pregnant or clueless to what trimester they were in. While we celebrate childbirth, we also push for us as women to be even more knowledgable abut our bodies.
The Des Moines Register reports more of Young:
Brittany Young thought nothing of her stomach pains Wednesday morning; she was only 12 weeks pregnant, or so she believed.
She took some Tylenol, lay down for a while at her apartment on King Avenue, and the pain went away. Around 9:45 p.m., the pain came back, so she went to the bathroom.
“I got in the shower, not even five minutes after that, I was like, my stomach is still hurting. Not even five seconds (later), I had to push,” the 24-year-old said.
With little warning, out popped her Miracle at 19 inches, weighing 6 pounds and 8 ounces.
“This baby’s eyes were open; she was just sitting there staring at me. She didn’t cry or anything,” Young said. “I was in shock. I was like, there’s a baby here.”
Young yelled to a friend in the living room to call for an ambulance. Des Moines police and medics arrived to find Young’s friend holding the baby, umbilical cord still attached, while Young was sitting dazed in the shower, according to a police report.
They cut the cord, wrapped the healthy little girl in blankets and took mother and child to Mercy Medical Center.
“Everybody I tell this story to they’re just like, a miracle,” she said. “And I’m like, yeah, that’d be a perfect name for her.”
Dr. Michael Cardwell, a perinatologist at Mercy, said some women have a medical condition called precipitous labor where contractions can start within an hour or two before they deliver the baby. Body weight can hide a pregnancy, and stress can speed up a birth, he said.
Cardwell didn’t personally treat Young but, knowing it was her fourth baby, said women can go into labor quickly after that many births.
“For women with three prior pregnancies, labor is pretty quick anyway. Sounds like hers was even quicker,” Cardwell said.
Young said she moved herself and three children from Jolliet, Ill., in December to escape a troubled family life. She checked in to a Des Moines hospital in January with a broken nose and the doctors asked if she was pregnant.
The pregnancy test came back positive and after an ultrasound, Young heard the technician say “12 weeks.” Young thinks she must have misunderstood, thinking she was 12 weeks into her pregnancy instead of having 12 weeks remaining.
She said her medical paperwork reads simply, “12 weeks,” and she didn’t see the image of the baby on the ultrasound.
“I’ve been in shock for the last couple of days, because I didn’t expect a full-term baby,” Young said.
She was in labor for 15 hours for the birth of her now 1-year-old daughter, Jahanna Porter. Her other children, Andre Jones, 4; and Nijaya Young, 2; are excited about their new sister, Young said.
“With my other kids, I had like three or four pushes. And with her it was just one and she was there,” Young said. “I wasn’t prepared for her. … I don’t have clothes. Diapers. Nothing.”
Young has tattoos of all of her children’s names and said Miracle’s name will likely go on her back, accompanied by angel wings.
“I’m happy that she’s here,” said Young.
HOW TO HELP
Bethany Christian Services Stronger Beginnings is assisting Brittany Young with diapers and other items to care for a newborn. Anyone willing to donate may contact the program at 316 East Sixth Ave. or call 515-270-0824.
Just last month we did a story entitled #KnowYourBodyBetter, based off a woman who was 9 months pregnant and did not know. She, thankfully, delivered a healthy baby boy but it also made us think more about how much we pay attention to our bodies.
It’s important to know your body. Know what level of cramping or bleeding is normal for you. Know the ins and outs of your menstrual cycle. Be able to tell if something’s just not right, and if it’s possible that there’s cause for concern….and a call to the ob/gyn.
And when you make that call, be OPEN and HONEST with your physician. Your doctor’s office should be a judgment free zone, and if you feel like it’s not, it’s time to pound the pavement for a new one. You should feel comfortable enough to talk to your doctor about your sexual history (your real sexual history– not the cover story you usually give), your drug and alcohol use, birth control, any abortions or miscarriages that you may have had…. It’s with this information that your doctor can work with you to make sure you’re getting the best treatment possible — before, during, and after your pregnancy. So there aren’t any surprise pregnancies.