LAURA Defreitas, 36, a bartender, lives in Dallas, Texas, with her fiancé Blake, 39, also a bartender, and their daughter Phoenix, two.
In August 2021 she unexpectedly gave birth to Phoenix while on the toilet, after experiencing what she thought was just stomach pains.
“Surrounded by pink balloons, food and gifts, I smiled at my daughter enjoying the baby shower thrown in her honour.
It’s typical for showers to be held before a baby is born, but Phoenix, who was five days old, had other ideas.
Just a week before, I’d had no idea I was pregnant.
Growing up as the eldest of six siblings, I’d done lots of nappy-changing and babysitting, but I’d never seen babies in my future.
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It didn’t feel like that was where my life would lead, and I was happy being an auntie.
In January 2021, I was working as a bartender when I met Blake, who worked at the same venue.
Blake had a daughter from a previous relationship and said he was ‘one and done’, which was fine with me.
When we weren’t working, we focused on having fun.
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As spring turned into summer, we took day trips to theme parks and enjoyed nights out with friends.
Then, in early August 2021, I caught Covid.
For three weeks I was bed-bound, and when I was back on my feet, my clothes felt a little tight.
Little wonder, I thought – unable to cook, I’d survived on takeaways.
I was still feeling a bit rough on August 25, Blake’s birthday.
My drinks tasted odd, but I put that down to Covid.
On August 29, we were asleep in my apartment when I woke at 2am with a pain in my stomach.
Blake got me some heated pads to ease the pain and I fell asleep again, thinking it might be an ovarian cyst, as I’d had one in the past.
But by 6am, the pain was worse.
Leaving Blake to sleep, I ran a bath, but it didn’t help.
I was in such agony, I began screaming. Blake ran into the bathroom and, thinking my appendix was bursting, called an ambulance.
Unable to hear what the dispatcher was saying over my screams, he left the bathroom, and I somehow managed to get out of the bath and on to the toilet.
Suddenly, I felt something rush out of me, and when I looked down, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
There was blood in the toilet – and a baby.
In shock, I screamed: ‘There’s a baby!’ and Blake came rushing back into the bathroom.
Together, we lifted the baby out of the toilet, and I felt such relief to hear a cry as Blake wrapped us both in towels.
Ten minutes later, I was in an ambulance with my baby in my arms, racing to the hospital, where we were immediately separated.
I’d lost so much blood and my placenta hadn’t completely delivered, so I was whisked into surgery, while the baby was checked over.
Everything happened so fast, I didn’t even know if I’d had a son or daughter.
Out of surgery and waiting for my baby to be brought back to me, I phoned my mum Cathy and called her ‘Grandma’.
She joyfully asked if I was pregnant, and when I explained I’d just given birth, she didn’t believe me.
She’d seen me just three weeks before with no bump.
Although Blake and I hadn’t been using contraception, I’d assumed at 35, and having never had a single scare before, that I just couldn’t get pregnant.
Plus, I’d continued having periods.
Twelve hours after our daughter Phoenix’s birth, we were reunited, and as I gazed down at her tiny, squishy face, everything but complete joy faded away.
Thinking about the alcoholic drinks I’d had and rollercoasters I’d been on while pregnant, my head spun.
But despite weighing just 5lb, Phoenix was totally healthy.
Doctors didn’t know if she had come early or not, but she was perfect.
The love I felt was so overwhelming, it overtook the shock, and Blake was equally besotted.
Three days later, we were discharged from hospital.
Friends and family rallied around with equipment, nappies and clothes, and threw us a baby shower.
After two weeks at my mum’s house, Blake, Phoenix and I all went to live at my apartment.
Now our daughter is two, life is unicorns and play dates, rather than nights out and parties, but it’s been amazing and Blake and I are stronger than ever.
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I may not have planned to become a mum, but the universe had plans of its own.
I absolutely believe this was meant to be.”
Around one in every 2,500 births is a “cryptic pregnancy” – where the mum doesn’t know she is pregnant until labour starts.
Once fully dilated, labour usually lasts 8-18 hours.
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