Pregnancy can feel like it lasts forever – nine months of anxiety and excitement, prepping for a new addition, and so much waiting. But for 23-year-old Katie Kropas, those nine months were seriously fast-tracked. She gave birth to a baby girl on Tuesday, exactly 51 minutes after learning she was pregnant.
That morning, Kropas, of Weymouth, Mass., woke up with sharp stomach pains, she told USA Today. “I felt like I was getting stabbed in my lower back. I have a high tolerance for pain, but this was like a 9 on a scale of 10.”
Kropas’s boyfriend of two years, Dan Keefe, brought her to the emergency room, where she underwent a series of tests. At 10:15 Tuesday night, she got the news that came as a shock to both of them. “If they had said you’re a few months pregnant I wouldn’t have been that surprised, maybe,” Kropas tells Yahoo Parenting. “But I never would have thought they were going to say I was full term and ready to pop right now.”
At 11:06, after an emergency C-section, Kropas held her 10 pound, 2 ounce daughter, Ellen Olivia Keefe, in her arms.
Kropas was taking birth control and having a fairly regular period, and chalked her weight gain up to holiday eating. “I watched that show I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant and thought those people were crazy, but you really have no idea until it happens,” she says. “There were things that are symptoms of being pregnant but I always thought there would be some glaring sign. Since I was on birth control and had a period – even though it was lighter – I wasn’t looking for signs.”
And Kropas says there was an upside to missing the pregnancy. “I avoided a lot of the stress that can lead up to giving birth,” she says. “Now we just make the decisions as they come. There’s no time to think too much about the little things.”
Dr. Kim Dever, chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at South Shore Hospital, where Kropas gave birth, told WBZ-TV that they see a few of these surprise deliveries every year, explaining that anything from pre-pregnancy weight to irregular cycles can hide a pregnancy. “Very often, especially in your first pregnancy, you’re really not aware of what you’re feeling and we often have women joke and say they’re feeling gas pains or they can attribute it to other natural conditions,” Dever said.
Baby Ellen, who will be called Ellie, is perfectly healthy.
Now that they’ve recovered from the shock, Kropas and Keefe are looking forward to life with their little girl. They’ll return home Sunday, and Kropas says she can’t wait to tell Ellie about her surprise arrival. “My daughter will get a kick out of it one day,” she says. “The news stories will make for one hell of a baby book.”