A cryptic pregnancy

Cryptic pregnancies are those which go completely undetected until the process of labour has actually begun. Many of us know them to be shock-inducing stories seen only in episodes of MTV’S “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant”. As unusual as they are, they are not as rare as we might have been led to believe.

This is Sarah, a 21-year-old from Ballymore Eustace, Naas.

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Photo Credit: Emma Darcy

This is her 10-month-old daughter, Ella. She was born on the 28 January 2019 at seven pounds six ounces in Sarah’s bedroom. Sarah had absolutely no idea that she was carrying her since May 2018.

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Photo Credit: Emma Darcy

On the night of 27 January, after being sent home from work sick, Sarah woke up to panic and pain, little did she know that Ella was on her way. “It was so scary; I can’t even explain. I had no idea what was going on, I was too scared to even shout for my parents or my sister. Once I saw Ella making an appearance, it started to sink in what was actually happening.”

For the nine months of carrying Ella unbeknownst to Sarah, she carried on her normal life with her part-time job and studies in Carlow for early childhood development and care. She had her normal routine of going out every second or third weekend and attending concerts and festivals throughout the nine months. With her size six frame and athletic lifestyle, Sarah and everyone around her carried on in complete obliviousness to the little life growing inside her.

“I went downstairs to my mam’s room in the middle of the night with this baby in my arms, it was all so surreal. An ambulance was called and within an hour, Ella and I were being looked after in the Coombe where we stayed for four days.”

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Photo Credit: Emma Darcy

Unaware of Ella’s existence, Sarah had no opportunity to take special care of Ella during her pregnancy in terms of prenatal precautions, nutrition or folic acid. She was lucky to lead a healthy lifestyle and have no tendency to be a heavy drinker.

“I had no idea she existed so obviously I was a little bit worried that I didn’t provide her with any prenatal care, but you can see for yourself Ella is as happy and healthy as she possibly could be.”

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Photo Credit: Emma Darcy

For most women expecting a baby, they have plenty of time to plan for the life ahead of them. A buggy, car seat, clothes, equipment, or even something as simple as a name.

“I had no time to plan anything, but I was lucky to have the help and support from my friends and family who love Ella just as much as I do. It puts things into perspective because if you had asked me this time last year if I wanted a baby, it was something I saw as a possibility in a distant future. At the end of the day though, no matter how much she surprised me on her arrival, she makes me so happy every day. She’s just my pride and joy and I wouldn’t change her for the world.”

A person sitting on a table

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Photo Credit: Emma Darcy

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