On June 25, 2018, Kelly Yakich experienced a cramp that shot all around her body. Instantly, then, she knew that something was up. So, Yakich and her husband rushed to the hospital, only to find out some shocking news: there was a baby growing behind her ribs.
Michigander Yakich and her partner, John, had built their family of five in the Great Lakes state, although their path to parenting three boys hadn’t always been smooth. The couple’s third son, you see, had also come into the world as a great surprise, as the mom would explain to Insider in 2018.
Yakich recalled to the website that, back in 2013, she’d “felt a flutter in [her] belly,” with that sensation subsequently prompting her to take a pregnancy test. “I didn’t even show or experience any signs or symptoms [of being pregnant],” she explained. And when Yakich found out that she was indeed with child, she assumed that she was only a few weeks along at that point.
During this delicate stage, though, something terrifying happened to Yakich: the then mom of two began to bleed. And as a result, she headed to the emergency room fearing the worst. That’s because, in many cases, bleeding within the first three months of pregnancy may be an indication that a woman has miscarried.
But the blood wasn’t a sign that there were problems with Yakich’s baby. Instead, it actually signaled that he was ready to be delivered – and that he was coming right away. Within an hour of her arrival at the hospital, in fact, Yakich had given birth to her third son, Beau.
“I thought [Beau] was the last [child] and a big surprise,” Yakich added to NBC affiliate WEYI in June 2018. And she had taken steps to ensure that was actually the case. The Michigan native explained to Insider, you see, that she’d been diligently receiving the birth-control shot Depo-Provera.
And Yakich’s chosen method of contraception ought to have been an effective one, according to Yale School of Medicine professor Dr. Mary Jane Minkin. “The chance of getting an unintended pregnancy on Depo-Provera is very small,” Minkin said to Insider.
So Yakich had both taken steps to prevent a pregnancy and had never had any indications that she could somehow be expecting again. Certainly, according to the mom, her body hadn’t changed noticeably before the night she experienced that excruciating cramp. “I was still wearing my normal clothes [at this time],” Yakich later revealed to WNEM. “I didn’t have any [prior] pains [or] feel any movements, [either].”
As a result, Yakich and her husband John had expected those June 2018 days to be much like any others, and so they’d approached them accordingly. “We had nothing to do [on that] weekend,” John admitted to WNEM. “We were making other plans, [but] life made other plans for us.”
It all began on June 25, 2018, when Yakich awoke feeling “like [she] had to go to the bathroom – nothing out of the ordinary.” After that, however, the mom of three experienced a feeling of pain that stretched “from [her] back to [her] front,” as she later explained to Insider.
Then, Yakich recalled, “There was a lot of pressure, and all of a sudden I started bleeding… I knew something was wrong.” So, in the early hours of the morning, she and John rushed to the hospital – where they would hear news that they never could have expected.
“At the hospital, they put the ultrasound on me, and the doctor said, ‘Well, there’s a baby in there.’ I was in utter shock. My poor husband was in just as much shock as I was,” Yakich recalled. She had been taking birth control to prevent such a development, after all.
But regardless of how much Yakich’s birth-control injections had reduced the probability of her becoming pregnant, there’s no contraceptive method that’s 100 percent effective. On top of that, doctors had an explanation for why Yakich hadn’t noticed any significant changes to her body.
Namely, the medical professionals assumed that Yakich’s undetected baby-to-be had developed “behind her ribs [and] up against her back,” she told WNEM. As a consequence, then, there had been no belly bump to indicate that he was growing inside her.
What’s more, Yakich revealed to Insider, her first surprise pregnancy had probably developed in the same way. “That is what my doctor told me about my other boy, Beau. So they are figuring this time… it was a similar situation,” she explained. But the shock of all of this information may have paled in comparison to what happened next.
Yes, the baby was apparently on its way – and this development left Yakich stunned. “When [the doctor] said [that] he could see the head, I was like, ‘Oh my god,’” she later revealed to WEYI. In fact, Yakich barely even had time to prepare for this major milestone. Within an hour of finding out she was pregnant, she had given birth to her fourth baby, who weighed in at 6 pounds and 4 ounces.
Plus, the delivery of Yakich’s healthy son – whom she later named Gunnar Hunter – was an unusual occurrence for the medics present. “They don’t normally deliver babies at that hospital,” she told Insider. “The doctor said it was only his fifth delivery in his entire career.”
And to Yakich’s husband John, the whole experience was understandably surreal, too. “It kind of feels like a dream, but I pinched myself and it hurt, so I knew it was real,” he revealed to WEYI. “It’s like they say: anything can happen. You just never know.”
Still, some who heard Yakich’s story didn’t believe that the couple were really unaware that they were expecting a baby. To these doubters, John had an explanation. “I don’t believe it myself, and it happened to me,” he admitted. “When your life changes in a split second, it’s hard to process.”
And Yale’s Dr. Minkin told Insider that it isn’t unheard of for an expectant mother to have no idea that she’s pregnant. In fact, the professor revealed that she had had personal experience of such a situation. “Not only does this happen, but I have seen patients with this,” Minkin confirmed.
Of course, in the vast majority of cases, pregnancy is palpable in a multitude of ways, with Minkin going on to describe the most typical sensations. “Obviously, when most people are pregnant, they certainly feel larger,” she said. “They feel pressure on different organs, and they usually pee more frequently.”
Then, as babies develop, further signs usually present themselves to moms-to-be. “After about 18 to 20 weeks – basically by the fifth month – you usually start feeling some movement,” Minkin continued. “One of my patients who had twins described it as like having an octopus in there.”
And the professor also addressed how some people fail to detect these sensations. A number of expectant mothers don’t recognize the indications of pregnancy because they have “a sense of denial” about their situation, Minkin divulged. In other cases, though, physical signals are simply less prominent – as had been the case with Yakich.
For instance, some women may have their uteruses positioned further inside their bodies, which in turn may make their baby bumps less noticeable. In addition, heavier parents-to-be may not be able to detect the visual signs of pregnancy, either.
And the placenta – which brings nutrients and oxygen to the growing baby – can also play a role, according to Minkin. She continued, “When the placenta sits in the front part of the uterus – what we call an anterior placenta – it does blunt some of the [fetal] activity.” In other words, expectant mothers may not be able to feel their growing babies inside them.
For 18-year-old Saffron Heffer, though, her unexpected pregnancy seemingly all came down to her baby’s positioning. The teenager told LADbible in December 2018 that she’d kept up with her normal routine, which included trips to the tanning salon as well as regular workouts. As such, Heffer had maintained her taut stomach.
On top of that, Heffer, as was the case with Yakich, had used contraception in the form of birth control pills. She did note a change in her appetite, however, as she began reaching for ice cream cones, strawberries and lettuces more often. But Heffer thought that she bought those foods more often because they were available at discount – not because she craved them.
It took a trip to the gym, in fact, to make the teen realize that something was different. “I was… doing sit-ups with my mom. We were laughing that my belly goes in a funny triangle shape. It just didn’t click – even my mom said she didn’t think for a moment that I could be pregnant,” Heffer recalled.
Then, though, Heffer’s mom saw something that gave her pause for thought: a pigmented line running down her daughter’s stomach. With that, she suggested that Heffer take a pregnancy test. And Heffer agreed, although she felt that it was impossible she could be expecting without her knowledge.
“I said if I was pregnant, then I’d literally have to be ready to pop. And I had no stomach, nothing, nothing whatsoever. So I said, ‘Okay, then,’” Heffer recalled. “I did the test – and obviously it didn’t rule it out at all. It told me that I was pregnant.”
Heffer consequently saw a midwife who realized why the teenager hadn’t noticed any signs that she was going to have a child. You see, the baby was lodged in an easy-to-conceal position, sitting with his back to the rear of his mother’s womb.
But the fetus wouldn’t remain unnoticeable for long after that. “In the end, I did get a bump. It was huge. I saw the midwife, she turned him around, and then I just gained a balloon. It went huge,” Heffer later explained to LADbible.
And, shockingly, the midwife’s maneuver instantly transformed Heffer’s silhouette. Before then, the teen had still worn her size four pants with no troubles – but that would soon change. “It was an early pregnancy bump [at first], where you can’t tell. And then [after I saw a midwife], every day it grew hourly,” Heffer continued.
Yet while Heffer added that she had never received a full explanation regarding the previous absence of a bump, she heard theories along the way. “They thought that possibly when he was born, he was born with chicken legs,” she recalled.
Meanwhile, as Heffer’s belly expanded, she noticed that she began feeling more physical pregnancy symptoms, too. “When [the midwife] turned him around, he became very active. I could feel every movement and every kick,” she revealed. “From feeling nothing at all to feeling everything daily is just unreal.”
Heffer’s story is different in some ways to Yakich’s, though – not least because the teenager had a few weeks to deal with the fact that she was pregnant before she actually gave birth. Even so, she was already 37 weeks along upon finding out the news. “I was absolutely shocked, [and] I thought my life had ended,” Heffer said. “I was only 17 when I found out. And that’s a lot to take in for an adult, let alone a 17-year-old.”
“I was just hit with depression and thought, ‘What am I going to do?’ I was very stressed when I found out,” Heffer continued of the time following the reveal of her pregnancy. “Both my parents were at work, so it was just me dealing with it emotionally and physically on my own. I locked myself away for at least two weeks of it.”
Half a month later, though, a switch apparently flipped in Heffer. “After that two weeks, I had the get-go mindset that it is what it is. You can’t change anything,” she explained to LADbible. “I was just like, ‘Right, okay, I can do this. I’ve been strong with other things before. This is a bit bigger, but I can do this.’ I just got on with it, really.”
Then, soon after Heffer’s acceptance of her situation, her son Oliver came into her life. “I wouldn’t turn back now – he’s beautiful. He’s perfect,” the new mom reported. “If you had to ask for a perfect baby, it would be him. He’s so content, he just sits and sleeps and cuddles.”
And in spite of her surprise pregnancy, Heffer found herself thriving as a new mother. “I’m loving being a mom. It’s so rewarding,” she told LADbible. “The main thing I love is just seeing him happy. When he smiles and laughs, that’s when you know you’re doing a good job.”