Baby Chloe, with mom Ada Guan, made her surprise entrance into the world 37,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean (Photo: Global Calgary/Facebook)
Feeling a little stomach sick on a plane isn’t usually cause for alarm. But the stomach pains that racked 23-year-old Ada Guan last Sunday, Mother’s Day, on an Air Canada jet heading toward Tokyo had nothing to do with travel jitters or a rocky flight.
Turns out they were labor pains — caused by the impending birth of the baby girl she had absolutely no idea she was carrying.
“We just thought she had a bad stomach ache, or cramps, or ulcer, or something,” Guan’s boyfriend, Wes Branch, told Canada’s Global News. “Her belly wasn’t even big.”
The couple, who live in British Columbia and had been dating for a year, were on a plane that had just left Calgary en route to Japan, where they were going on vacation. As the flight cruised across the Pacific Ocean at 36,000 feet, Guan realized that her stomach trouble had become increasingly more painful and intense, according to Global News.
With Guan’s pains soon putting her in serious medical distress, the flight crew summoned one of the three doctors who happened to be on board to help. That doctor gave Guan an IV and Tylenol, but the pain wouldn’t quit.
And no wonder: a 37-week baby was about to make an unforgettable entrance into the world.
“She told me, something fell out of me,” Branch told Global News. “I lifted up her pants and I saw a head and then I heard, ‘wah.’ I thought, oh my God, I think we have a kid.” Their little stowaway, named Chloe, appeared to be in good health.
“This just happened completely unexpectedly,“ Branch told Japanese reporters, who were waiting at the airport to greet the new family. Holding his bundle of joy, Branch waved to the crowd. "It turned out we have a little baby, beautiful girl.”
How did Guan and Branch remain completely clueless that an almost full-term infant was inside her? While Guan had gained weight recently, Branch told Global News, a subsequent pregnancy test turned out to be negative. Branch also said that Guan had seen a doctor a few weeks before the day of the flight, but the doctor didn’t detect a pregnancy.
“It’s not very common for a full-term baby to be a total surprise, but it can happen,” Dr. Gil Weiss, assistant professor of clinical medicine at Northwestern University and an ob-gyn in Chicago, tells Yahoo Parenting. Based on a recent study in the British Medical Journal on surprise pregnancies, he estimates the odds at one in 3,000 births.
“The pregnancy test is supposed to detect a hormone in urine, but if a woman’s urine is very diluted because she recently drank a lot of water, that could throw it off,” he says. “Also, if the placenta developed in front of the uterus, it would possibly prevent her from detecting the baby’s movements.”
Another explanation has to do with an irregular cycle, which many women have. “If it’s normal for a woman’s period to disappear for months, she’s not going to be alarmed and assume she’s pregnant,” says Weiss.
For now, Branch, Guan, and baby Chloe are reportedly still in Japan, where they have to wait a week before Chloe is able to board a plane, since infant’s ears are sensitive to pressure changes in the air, reports the Calgary Sun.
Meanwhile, the story has captivated the world, and Air Canada tweeted a sweet Mother’s Day greeting to the new mom and dad, who will soon be returning to Canada as a family.